Sunshine and green plants!
July 2016
Happy Summer 2016! This summer CSG staff are hosting summer camps, working with program interns, compiling evaluation data, meeting with partners, strategizing paths for impacts..and, as always, growing in the garden. Check out the blogs that accompany each article below for a more complete story of what's 'growing on'.
Permaculture Peeks Out:  New Perennial Garden at Burnley-Moran 
Excerpts of the CSG Blog by guest writer- 
 Laura McCandlish, Parent and CSG Volunteer

Burnley-Moran Garden Coordinator Matt Darring has tended edible landscapes since his childhood in sub-tropical Mobile, AL. The UVA School of Medicine accountant and father of two heard about the “permaculture” concept years ago. But it blew his mind to first witness spring’s perennial vegetables like “ferned out” feathery asparagus and reappearing rhubarb upon moving to Central Virginia, as he reconnected to his gardening roots upon buying a home here.
“I figured if someone who was a little bit knowledgeable of gardening could learn something this big, then there was an opportunity for the students to learn as well,” says Darring, the steadfast shepherd of the City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran for the past four years.
Enter the Permaculture Garden that debuted at Burnley-Moran in a festive open house this spring, just weeks before school let out. This “Permaculture Project” is all about the P’s: a perfect process for pupils perceiving the progress of their perennial plantings growing plumper and more poised, just like them, popping up come primavera and printemps, without the pressure of replanting year after year.
Burnley-Moran teacher Rachel Caldwell, who won a CSG Golden Trowel Award this year, and her class spearheaded the second grade-wide permaculture project with Darring. Edible landscapers Ben Kessler and Soizic Ziegler of Cville Foodscapes consulted on the students’ hand-drawn (with Crayons!) garden designs and plant selections. The students settled on a “Keyhole” garden design with individual “key” permaculture components each second-grade class took on as a project. One keyhole area is perennial vegetables like artichokes and heirloom Egyptian “walking onions” in addition to that asparagus forest; another is a “Berry World” of perennial gooseberries, blueberries and thornless blackberries; other garden features include the “Dyeburg Keyhole” and a “Herb Spiral”.
My son, Theo, just 5, and I toured the Burnley-Moran Permaculture Garden on the frenzied final Friday of the school year. 
How this verdant garden makes me ache for Theo to join David at Burnley-Moran this fall for Kindergarten. But we are packing up to return to also garden-centric Maine after a wonderful sabbatical year here in Charlottesville. We look forward to returning to the Permaculture Garden upon frequent visits back to chart the perennials’ progress. We look forward to southern pawpaw fruit trees, to be replanted in the fall, taking root there after the ones this spring didn’t survive transplanting. As Darring says, “Failure is part of the program,” and learning from those mistakes. That is an important lesson for Kindergarten, and there’s no better place to learn to make lemons into lemonade than in such a wildly diverse, polycultural elementary school garden.

For the complete article, check out Laura's blog here

Introducing CSG's Summer Interns 

City Schoolyard Garden welcomes our new summer interns (in alphabetical order):  Makayla Howard, Megan Lail, Nicole Duimstra, and Tianna Washington.  What a wonderful summer team and CSG feels fortunate for their support and skill, enthusiasm and leadership. 

Photo:  From left to right -  Tianna (T.T.) Washington & Makayla Howard (with student in middle), Megan Lail, Nicole Duimstra (outside our CSG office)

Makayla Howard is a recent graduate from Buford Middle School, and is working with the Community Attention Youth Internship Program (CAYIP).  But Makayla has been working in the Buford garden this whole past year as a daily garden aide. So, she has a keen understanding of the garden systems and practices. From her internship experience, Makayla hopes to learn to be more patient with her peers, to learn to take initiative and become a leader and to gain confidence in interacting with others. 

Megan Lail has finished her first year at the Curry School of Education, Master of Teaching, Special Education/ Elementary Education program.  As she contributes her talents to build CSG’s capacity on the education front, CSG hopes to fulfill Megan’s desire to “gain a richer understanding of how to engage students with their natural world".

Nicole Duimstra is a Global Sustainability major at the University of Virginia and has a breadth of leadership skills and experience with community groups like Greens to Grounds and Appalachian Voices. Through CSG, she hopes to add to her community building skills by connecting with the kids in the Charlottesville City Schools and learning how CSG engages people about nature and the environment. Among other projects, Nicole will be focusing on providing support to the Community Food Justice Network. 

Tianna Washington is in her first year of college at PVCC.  She is a former Buford student and her hands were one of the first to till the garden beds at Buford back in 2010 when CSG first broke ground. T.T. brings positive energy and excitement to the CSG organization. Her previous and current experiences with CSG are valuable because they speak to CSG goals of developing young leaders. Tianna hopes to gain confidence from her internship with CSG. 

Check out the complete blog on the summer interns.

CSG Garden Corner

Join us for tips about planting, pruning and harvesting in your garden.
July 2016

Summer Water Conservation

July is here and with it, abundant sunshine and sweltering temperatures. Your gardens are feeling the heat too! Did you know that outdoor water usage in the summer typically increases two to four times the normal rate? Read below for some tips on how to be water-savvy this summer. 

Make a rain barrel! Rain barrels put those summer afternoon thunderstorms to good use by capturing nature's free and sustainable water system - rainwater. The City of Charlottesville provides step-by-step instructions for making your own rain barrel at home. 

Never too much mulch. Adding a 2-3 inch layer of organic material, such as mulch, can help eliminate surface evaporation of water due to sunlight by up to 70%. Read more about the benefits of gardening with mulch 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! 

CSG is honored to be awarded ABRT (Agency Budget Review Team) funding for our public schoolyard garden programs. We are excited to build on our partnership with the City of Charlottesville. Thank you!

Thanks to the MLG Foundation, City Schoolyard Garden is investing in expanding summer programming and continuing to grow our partnership with PB&J Fund.

We are pleased to receive an award from the Albemarle County Rotary Club and meet their committed members. Funds helped support the Burnley-Moran Sensory Garden project. 

To learn more about becoming a business, individual or grant sponsor of City Schoolyard Garden, contact us at
Board Member Spotlight: Brittany Thorp &
Margie Gilbert

This month, we are profiling two All-Star CSG Board members: Bee Thorp (left) and Margie Gilbert (right).

As the Board Secretary, Bee helps us keep up with everything that happens during our group process at meetings. Currently working with our partners at Local Food Hub, she credits her fascination with school gardens to graduate school, where she wrote her Master's Thesis on labor in school gardens.

Margie, the manager of favorite Charlottesville restaurant, Continental Divide, has an extensive background in non-profits and truly has a green thumb, stemming all the way back to childhood.
 Margie jumped right into CSG activities, helping to host the spring Root! celebration and providing design support for many of our outreach efforts.  

We got the chance to sit down and catch up with Margie and Bee, asking them questions, about their own gardens, their motivation for contributing to CSG, and their hopes for this organization. CSG's Board does a lot of the work that powers CSG, and we are so fortunate to have folks like these on our team!

Can you guess which of them could imagine being a turnip and which imagines being a blueberry? 

CSG Board members from left: Aleen Carey, Karen Kennedy, Katie Shevlin, Sober Pierre and Bee & Margie.

School Spotlight:
Wonder Garden

When that last bell rings on the last day of school, the double doors at Jackson-Via Elementary School burst open to release the flood of screaming and excited students.  Summer vacation has begun!  Kids converse and brag about what they plan to do during their summer break. The pattering of feet continue onto the bus steps.  The buses let out an engine roar and the doors close shut.  The teachers walk back into their classrooms to pack up their stuff and close their doors to make way for the the summer construction projects.  Out comes a sigh of relief as they tuck another school year under their belts.  And as the evening approaches, all is quiet and still.

But walk the steps to the CSG garden, past the Paw Paw and sour cherry trees, and through the gates.  You will find yourself in a whole different world alive with buzzing insects, crawling caterpillars, and flowering plants. The kale and tomato leaves remain still, too shy to move unless approached by one of nature’s creatures or the persuasive wind.  The sunflowers stands tall, beaming with pride at an empty playground no longer crowded with students.  The heads of cabbage sweat as it sits in the humid weather.  

Although school has ended, life goes on in the garden.  Bees still pollinate.  Lettuces continue to grow.  The soil still thirsts for rain. Weeds continue to invade.  And still, the garden misses the embrace and visits from the Jackson-Via community. It awaits the return of giggles and the young hands that massage its weary leaves.  It welcomes the love and dedication of summer volunteers who shower it with cool water and remove all those weedy invaders that rob it of nutrients. Although the garden has enjoyed some visits by summer volunteers, it has called out for more.  CSG invites you to visit this world full of wonder! Come.  Be a volunteer at a CSG garden.
For information contact the CSG Garden Coordinator at JVE, Anthony Burton,

Tidbits & Dates to Remember

CSG is hiring! 

City Schoolyard Garden Coorinators have three main role: caring for their schoolyard garden; engaging youth and teachers; creating connections across CSG gardens and partners. If you are interested in a part-time Garden Coordinator consultant position at Clark Elementary, contact Kim Nguyen, CSG Program Coordinator for more information at

School Garden Workshop

Tuesday & Wednesday, July 19th & 20th
Join us at The Urban Farm @Virginia School for the Deaf & Blind - Stauton, VA (with sessions at Buford's Middle School Garden too)

The Allegheny Mountain Institute, in partnership with CSG and others, is hosting a free training this summer for educators and administrators interested in school gardening. 



Whole Foods 5% Day

Wednesday, Augus
t 31st, 7:00am-10:00pm

Are you looking Mark your calendars and plan to stock your pantry. Our Charlottesville Whole Food Market is hosting a 5% day on Wednesday, August 31st to benefit City Schoolyard Garden. What better way to fill up for healthy food for your family AND support kids planting, growing, harvesting!

Friday, September 23rd, 5:30-7:30pm at Buford Middle School
A FREE community event with delicious food, great music, garden activities, student-let tours, scavenger hunt, craft fair, face painting & more! Dinner for all includes Korner BBQ, Sticks veggie salad & hummus, the winning dish from the student Veggie Cook-off, pressed apple cider, & dessert from Albemarle Baking Company. There's music too! Rain or shine. Bring a chair or blanket. We hope you'll join us!

Want to volunteer? The following elementary school gardens can use some help with watering and weeding over the summer:

Burnley-Moran Elementary
Clark Elementary
Greenbrier Elementary
Jackson-Via Elementary
For more information contact Kim at

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. 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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