December 2015 

Buford Garden Aides 
"We love our garden from my head to-ma-toes!"

[Left to right: Jayda Anderson, Aidan Charron, Raven Mowry, Susmita Subba, Sumitra (Ashika) Tamang, and Makayla Howard. Not pictured here: Raihana Fnu - our newest crew member - and Emily Axelbaum - CSG Garden Educator.]

The Garden Aides have had a wonderful fall in the garden at Buford Middle School and have put together a really lovely blog to tell you all about it!

The blog includes a section written by each of the seven Garden Aides describing some aspect of the class over the last several months. In it, you'll find Makayla discussing crew check-ins and garden task lists. When describing the weekly check-ins, Makayla shares, "I think that sharing our opinions and promoting the escape of our own thoughts helps us become closer." Susmita explains what journaling in the garden is all about noting, "It's just a way for us to look at our garden and see what's wrong so we can fix it or to just admire our great work."

Jayda offers a wonderful section on using row cover and transplanting seedlings. Jayda tells about her love of transplanting seedlings saying, "If I were to do it everyday I would absolutely love it." Ashika depicts all of the delicious produce that the Garden Aides have been harvesting over the course of the fall. As she describes, "I went home with sweet potatoes and my mom was so happy, so she washed them and boiled them. After I was done, I gave some to my grandmother and she ate them and said it was yummy, delicious and sweet." Aidan writes about all of the cooking and eating the Garden Aides have done during class this year. In his account of eating salsa made with fresh tomatoes from the garden Aiden recalls, "I liked the hint of cilantro in the salsa, and that I got to spend time with my classmates." Raven shares a sweet story about the day the Garden Aides found a slippery salamander amongst the plants: "We made a home for it in a wheel barrow...The salamander survived through the night!" Finally, Raihana portrays her grandfather's garden in Afghanistan writing, "In his garden, there are more than 300 grape trees and tons of other fruit trees such as cherry, plum and peach."

Click here to read the full version of the Buford Garden Aides' wonderful blog.

News from the Greenbrier Garden!

[Students digging, planting, and harvesting in the after-school garden club at Greenbrier Elementary School.]

Gardening guru and Greenbrier Garden Coordinator, Emily Anderson, has put together a stellar newsletter on everything that's been going on in the Greenbrier Garden this fall. It has been jam-packed fall, with three main programs happening: Harvest of the Month, Garden Mornings, and Garden Club! Each program carries with it it's own special attributes and success stories.

As Emily describes, "Our after-school garden club was a big success -- we had about 30 kids participate every week, many from the CLASS aftercare program at school and others arrived with their parents in tow. Everyone at garden club spends time doing the dirty work of the school garden -- digging, weeding, planting, and watering!"

"Garden Mornings," which happen every Monday morning at Greenbrier, bring Emily into various classrooms around Greenbrier and those classrooms out into the garden, as an opportunity for students to engage in garden-based learning during the school day. Emily collaborates with teachers to bring grade-specific, SOL-based lessons out into the garden to enhance learning by making lessons tangible and fostering creativity and excitement for the kids.

Read more about all of the wonderful things going on in the Greenbrier Garden in Emily's recent newsletter.


CSG Garden Corner

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

December 2015:
Celebrating broccoli

by Samantha Taggart


Schools around Charlottesville were abuzz with excitement about broccoli this month as part of CSG's Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program. There's a lot to love about this healthy, cool-weather crop - check out the backpack flyer that students in the Buford Middle School FACS class put together this month that shares all kinds of neat nutritional, growing, and cooking information about broccoli!

Read more about broccoli and December's Harvest of the Month snack day in our recent newsletter - and don't forget to spread the broccoli love!

Harvest now: winter greens and hardy herbs
What to do now: give your hardy, cool-weather crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, and mustards extra protection from the frost by using row cover.

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! 

We are so excited to announce that thanks to Jennifer Esser, City Schoolyard Garden has been selected as the Virginia winnter for Tom's of Maine 50 States for Good! Jennifer was randomly picked from hundreds of entries and selected CSG as her non-profit of choice. Thank you, Tom's of Maine, for supporting grassroots organizations like CSG and a hearty thanks to our former Garden Coordinator at Venable, Jennifer Esser, for helping to make this happen!

Thank you to the Thomas Jefferson Health District for their support of our Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program. This program would not happen without the generous support of partners like you!

Introducing Ashley, Venable's New Garden Coordinator!

[Ashley Crank started in October as the Garden Coordinator at Venable.]

As seasons go by and academic years turn over, there are many changes that happen in each City Schoolyard Garden that bring fresh energy and ideas into an ever-fruitful and ever so dynamic space for growing and learning. This fall, City Schoolyard Garden has had the pleasure of welcoming Ashley Crank as the new Garden Coordinator at Venable Elementary School. Ashley's positivity and enthusiasm for the work of bringing garden-based education to Charlottesville elementary students and teaching them about healthy eating and healthy living skills has made her a great fit for the role of Garden Coordinator.

Ashley jumped right in to her work at Venable, beginning her first week on the job with
 an all-day planting event at Venable in celebration of Farm to School Week alongside Venable's wonderful P.E. teacher, Traci Martin, and delivering Harvest of the Month Cherry Tomatoes to over 300 students at Venable without breaking a sweat. 

Ashley came to City Schoolyard Garden after graduating from Baylor University in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She was excited to find the position available with City Schoolyard Garden at Venable since she believes that change begins through education and wants to share her passion for sustainability.

We are so excited to see how the City Schoolyard Garden program at Venable changes and grows in Ashley's hands and look forward to updating you on all of the wonderful things she has going on at Venable over the next few months!

Read more about Ashley in our recent blog.

How Sam can
dance like a chicken

and other sweet stories of a dedicated volunteer

[Sam at the Fall Harvest Festival Painting faces]

This week we are sad to say goodbye to Sam Taggart, our Elementary School Program Fellow from the Allegheny Mountain Institute.  Over her past year with CSG, Sam has: stood-in as garden coordinator at Jackson-Via, coordinated our volunteer program, hosted many, many lessons across our elementary school gardens (have you seen her chicken imitations?), co-organized our Harvest of the Month (HoM) program, provided support to our garden coordinators at all six elementary schools, coordinated monthly billing and invoices, written blogs and coordinated development of our monthly e-newsletter, and filled in where needed throughout our organization!  

As if that wasn't enough, her enthusiasm, generosity, and kindness throughout made it all appear effortless.  Sam is a natural educator and draws youth to her in exploration of the garden. It is those qualities about Sam that we will miss most, in our gardens, in our office and in our community as she heads off to graduate school.

We are not yet sure how we will manage without Sam helping pull the pieces together. But we are incredibly grateful for her year of volunteer service with us an in support of engaging youth in nature. Go here to learn more about the many projects with which Sam engaged.


With Sam heading off to graduate school, CSG will be short a staff position. Volunteer coordination will now be done through a new email If you are interested in helping out with our Harvest of the Month deliveries (Thursday mornings 9-11am on 2/4, 3/3, 4/14 & 5), writing our blogs or newsletter, or other CSG activities, drop us an email. 

Tidbits & Dates to Remember

City Schoolyard Garden Program Coordinator Opening
City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) is excited to launch a job search for a new Program Coordinator position. The Program Coordinator is primarily responsible for the development, coordination and implementation of the CSG Elementary School Program and integration with other CSG program, organizational and community goals. More information and the complete job description here.

January - Saturdays at Sticks!
We are excited to announce that, once again, every Saturday this January, 10% of profits made at our community partner, Sticks Kebob Shop, will be donated to City Schoolyard Garden in order to help cultivate academic achievement, health, environmental stewardship, and community engagement! Head out to either Charlottesville Sticks locations and eat great food that supports a great cause!

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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