Spring! Here's what's popping up at CSG.
March 2016

Introducing CSG's New Program Coordinator
Kim Nguyen

March is an exciting time at CSG for many reasons: seeds arrive in the mail, spring peas are planted, the days feel longer, and the hallways start to buzz on each warm day with the question, “when can we come out to the garden?”  This March is especially exciting for because we are welcoming Kim-Anh Nguyen to the CSG staff!

As Program Coordinator, Kim will be managing our elementary school and volunteer outreach programs, facilitating Harvest of the Month and building the capacity of CSG in numerous other ways.  We are so grateful to have found a someone whose positivity, creative problem-solving and passion for learning and science are already contributing to the direction of programming and vision for the organization.

Read more about Kim Nguyen, CSG Program Coordinator on our recent blog.

Thank you, Kim, for jumping right in and sharing your commitment and passion so heartily and easily.  We’re fortunate to have you as a member of the team!

Wormley Hughes
The Man Behind Jefferson's Peas

Matt Darring, CSG’s Garden Coordinator at Burnley-Moran, describes the project-based lesson (PBL) on Wormley Hughes he’s been doing with students this year.  With the First Peas to the Table competition well underway, Matt’s hoping the students at the school understand who was responsible for growing Jefferson’s peas all those years ago, and what his life looked like up at Monticello.


Wormley Hughes, the Man Behind Jefferson’s Peas by Matt Darring

People learn through lots of different pathways. Two of the most effective are through stories and through making. Garden-based education allows us to tell stories in a different way, in an experiential way. Gardens are also purely made – they exist only through the ‘making’ of humans. Therefore, they offer a perfect space for making and remaking things.

Stories allow us to change our paradigm, to travel to another time, to think from another person’s perspective or to imagine ourselves in a different situation. Stories allow us to leave our linear walk through time and hop to a parallel line or further forward or jump backward along either of those lines. In doing this hopping we realize that the lines are not running parallel at all, but in an interconnected web all around us. We use stories all the time in the Garden to educate students, whether that is through prose, poetry or verbal recounting of earlier activities.

In preparation for this year’s First Peas to the Table lesson we told the story of Wormley Hughes. Wormley Hughes was a remarkable man. He was born at Monticello in March 1781, and lived there as a slave. He started off working in the nailery as a boy. Eventually he became the head gardener and then moved on to oversee the stable operations (the hostler in equine speak). There is not a great deal of written records on Wormley, the man (or any of the other slaves at Monticello for that matter), but we can infer from the responsibilities he was given of what kind of person he was. Wormley was consistently given important, dangerous and visible jobs. As the Thomas Jefferson Foundation states, “he was always accorded a high level of trust.” His final act for Jefferson was digging his grave in 1826. Wormley was freed by Jefferson’s daughter Martha after Jefferson’s death, but his family was not. He was able to earn enough money to buy many of them out of slavery. Wormley Hughes’ life was defined by hard work, trust and dedication from his birth until his death in 1858.

Read more about the innovative garden projects at Burnley-Moran here

CSG Garden Corner

Join us for tips about planting, pruning and harvesting in your garden.

 March 2016: First Peas Launch!

Ready, set, go!  And the race is on.  City Schoolyard Garden is hosting its 4th Annual “First Peas to the Table” competition. During the week of March 7, 2016, first graders from the six Charlottesville city elementary schools started planting their pea seeds.  Greenbrier Elementary is the returning champion from 2015 and seeks to hold onto the most prized Jefferson Cup trophy by planting early. Jackson-Via Elementary, the former 2014 champion, also planted early in the week. The lesson is built around the book “First Peas to the Table” by Susan Grigsby and the progress for each school’s pea plants can be tracked here. Read more about the friendly competition on our blog!


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! 


A very special thank you to Sticks for hosting Saturday's at Sticks throughout all of January!  

The APO Fraternity has spent numerous workdays in the garden this year, including Saturday, March 19th, when 100 pledges dedicated their day to Burnley Moran! Please visit our Facebook page for more details!

Jean Theory was very generous to support CSG this month with their donation!
Both Sow True Seed and the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange were generous enough to donate seeds to this program this year!

Finally, an enormous thank you to Lululemon for donating part of the proceeds of their December trunk show!
Rick Harden
Growing at Johnson

Rick Harden at Johnson Elementary

Off of Cherry Avenue, in a garden nestled into the base of a hill, just behind Johnson Elementary School, is where you’ll find Rick Harden most days.  Rick joined CSG in the fall of 2012 with his co-garden coordinator, Dan Sweet.  As a duo Rick and Dan installed raised garden beds, put up their garden fence and designed and built the most colorful CSG shed to-date.

Those garden structures were just the foundation upon which Rick has built programming that reaches each and every student at the school.  Rick’s ease, patience, flexibility and own curiosity creates lessons and activities that get every student and as many teachers as possible outside utilizing the garden as an extension of their classroom space.  He’s done this through opening the garden during recess time, running after school garden clubs, hosting garden Tuesdays with teachers for student rotations from many grade levels, hosting garden Tuesdays with teachers for their entire class… the list goes on and shows just how adaptable and creative

Rick has been in finding ways to integrate the garden into the school.  He wants students to feel like the space is their own, to wander and explore, to harvest and eat (he planted a cherry tomato forest for this exact purpose), to ask questions and to engage through play.  In hearing stories from the garden and seeing the integration of the garden into the school it is clear, Rick’s found ways to make those things happen in big ways.  For him, “seeing how much the kids get out of it overwhelms me with emotions sometimes.”

Check out our blog post to hear more about Rick at the Johnson Garden
Hats off to Lisa Drake
A CSG Leader

Lisa receiving a special edition
Green Golden Glitter Trowel Award for her six years of service, February 2016

At City Schoolyard Garden, we often talk about what it means to ‘step into leadership’. How do we utilize our skills and experience in a way that enhances learning and builds the leadership of the youth with whom we engage? Over the years, CSG has been fortunate to have many incredible leaders, starting with our founder, Linda Winecoff. Shortly after Linda pulled together a group of community members to explore launching City Schoolyard Garden, Lisa Drake became involved. 

Since those early meetings in 2010 Lisa has grown in her leadership and generosity to CSG. As one of our first co-chairs and later chair of our Board of Directors, Lisa has been an inspiring leader. This spring, Lisa passed the Board Chair torch to Aleen Carey and will be staying on our Board as Ex-Officio.  We wanted to take this opportunity to toast Lisa’s leadership and share some of her wonderful contributions.
Check out our blog post to hear more about Lisa's legacy with CSG
Thank you Lisa Drake for your intense commitment of time, deep gift of heart, sharp insights on strategy and overall get it done attitude! City Schoolyard Garden has been made stronger with your leadership.
Lisa brought to CSG Board a deep commitment to seeing the organization thrive. From the first days, when CSG was nothing more than a good idea, all the way through hiring the first executive director, securing 501c3 status, and expanding the program, Lisa has been a complete and total champion. â€“Guinevere Higgins, Founding CSG Board Co-Chair

Root! A celebration and thank you for CSG supporters 

Contact City Schoolyard Garden for an invitation by emailing grow@cityschoolyardgarden.org to join us for our yearly Root! celebration: a big thank you honoring and celebrating all the people who support City Schoolyard Garden’s work. Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at Venable Elementary from 5:30-7:00 pm. A tour of Venable’s garden, appetizers and snacks and the presenting of our yearly Golden Trowel Awards will be highlights of the evening. This event is family friendly and rain or shine. 

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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