Community Food Justice Network
February 2016
City Schoolyard Garden is honored to partner with City of Promise and Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville through our USDA Community Food Projects grant, Plant, Grow, Harvest – Charlottesville. With this project we aim to develop a collaborative community approach to building equity and food security through resident-led food production, nutrition and garden-based experiential education, youth leadership development and community visioning. This month's newsletter includes stories about this initiative. The above info-graphic was designed by a dedicated UVA doctoral social psychology class  with Professor Tammy Walker. It is based on interviews of twenty local organizations working to build a healthy and just community food system in Charlottesville. You can read more about it here.  
Community Food Project Partners

City of Promise’s
Cradle-to-College Pathway

City of Promise works in the 10th and Page, Westhaven, and Star Hill neighborhoods as a team of parents, youth, neighbors, schools, service providers, and local government to build a cradle-to-college pathway for children that supports them to excel in school, work and life. They have four core programs they use to support their youth, including:
  • Enroll to Launch – parenting classes and support services and childcare placement.
  • Enroll to Connect – youth connection to partner organizations and programming such as youth mentoring, health services, job placement, classes, summer opportunities, etc.
  • Enroll to Serve – intensive academic case management for middle and high school students.
  • Dual Generation – workforce and economic development tools and support to parents and families.
City Schoolyard Garden is enthusiastic to partner with City of Promise in their new garden space. We’re fortunate City of Promise youth are in our schools and gardens each day and we are sharing our Harvest of the Month crops.  Learn more about all the positive programs City of Promise is implementing here! 

The Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville

UACC manages three urban gardens at Friendship Court, 6th Street and West Street as part of their vision that working together to grow and share healthy food helps cultivate healthy communities. 

On less than an acre of land, UACC produces an average of 10,000 pounds of food annually. The 2015 growing season was exceptionally bountiful, yielding over 17,000 pounds of produce! Yet, food production and distribution are only a part of what UACC is really about.  Beyond working in the soil and distributing the fruits of their labor,  UACC is growing connections among people.  Their Community Collaboration program “increases interaction and collaboration across racial, economic, and other social barriers”(from UACC website). Visit our blog to read more about the amazing UACC work!
City Schoolyard Garden
Growing an Equity Framework

One of our favorite things about gardening and farming is that success is as dependent on the skills and expertise of a gardener  as it is on the climate, weather fluctuations and nuances of each year. No matter how skilled we are, torrential summer rains can bring fungus and disease to our tomatoes and early spring drought can decrease the germination rate of our salad mix. Gardening and farming is a constant learning experience, and no matter who gathers together for garden work, there is an underlying sense that we are each still learners, making mistakes and refining what we do based on the weather, the soil and the seeds. Once we are in the garden, it is an easy place to come together and work towards the goal of growing nourishment for ourselves and our community. 

However, the reality is that the policy and social dynamics that inhibit, prohibit, exclude and provide unequal access to growing and eating healthy, fresh food prevent people from across the community from having opportunities to work in a garden together or to grow food for each other. There are so many policies and structures which impact our day-to-day lives in ways that are invisible to some and blatantly obvious to others. We've found at City Schoolyard Garden that unless we have intentionality in working to counter these dominant forces that shape the systems in which we work and learn and the ways in which we interact (with each other, with the land and with our food) --- we are bound to replicate systems of exclusion and oppression in our gardens, regardless of how beautiful and bountiful they appear to be from the outside. 

This past year, the City Schoolyard Garden team has taken a number of steps to work toward a shared vision of what equity looks like in our work. Clink here to read our recent blog that shares these experiences and provides some resources we leaned into for inspiration. 

As educators and change makers we hope to meet our students where they are in their day, in their development, in their understanding, in their experience, in their culture, in their community. We hope to see their brilliance and their struggles and work with them to grow and reach the expectations and the potential to which they aspire. Working the garden, creates a space for dialogue and connection, for relationship-building and understanding and for youth to experiment and explore, succeed and fail, laugh and learn alongside each other. To reach this aspiration we strive to look deeply, challenge our assumptions and remain open to our own learning and growth.


Food Justice Network


How do you describe a 'community food system'? What about a 'healthy community food system'? Or, when you add the concept of 'justice' - What is a healthy and just community food system? 

The Charlottesville Food Justice Network is an emerging collaborative effort among local organizations working in unique and complementary ways to build healthy and just community food systems.

We've been exploring together a shared vision for impact that includes equity, community engagement and collaboration. The info-graphic above is one of our first steps to begin to understand how our work interfaces. For more information read our blog about the Network here

CSG sends out a hearty thank you to each and every one of the individuals, businesses and foundations that support the work we do to engage youth in nature, enhance academic learning, and cultivate the skills for healthy living. We can only thrive with your partnerships! 

City Schoolyard Garden joins City of Promise & Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville in expressing our thanks for the CFP grant award that will keep Charlottesville youth & families growing. 

Farm to School Grants

For our work on Harvest of the Month (HoM) with Charlottesville City Schools and Local Food Hub, CSG was awarded one of only seventy-four grants nationwide. HoM provides 2,500 fresh local snacks during the school day each month through an integrated healthy foods program in the classroom, in the garden, and on the plate. 

Tidbits & Dates to Remember

Save the Date for our annual Root! Celebration of Volunteers & Partners
with the Golden Trowel Awards
Thursday, April 21st from 5:30-7:00pm at Venable Elementary. More details to follow. Send an email to to receive an invitation.

First Peas to the Table
First Peas to the Table is a friendly competition between the City Schoolyard Gardens at each of the six Charlottesville city elementary schools. The competition takes place each spring as first graders take to the garden to see which school can produce the first peas

Stay Tuned for updates on the 2016 launch of First Peas to the Table
March 7th – 11th 2016 Launch with Student Plantings
May 4th – 6th 2016 Measurements and Awards


Volunteer with City Schoolyard Garden!

Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program. We are looking for volunteers to help with the snack delivery each month on:
Thursday, March 3rd, 9:15-11am
Thursday, April 14th, 9:15-11am
Thursday, May 5th, 9:15-11am

Please email for more information.

Check out the CSG Events page for more events.

For fun updates, photos and stories, be sure to like us on Facebook!

City Schoolyard Garden needs and appreciates your support. We are still working to raise funds for the remainder of programs this academic year. Click on the apple to donate or send a check to our address below. Thank you!

P.O. Box 5285, Charlottesville, VA 22905
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