Farm to School Month

CSG is looking for volunteers for the November and December Harvest of the Month Snack Delivery Days

Thursday, November 12th & Thursday, December 3rd from 9:15-11:00am

Please email Sam at

We need your help!

City Schoolyard Garden is fortunate to be a CVC designated charity this year. If you work for the Commonwealth and want to specify your donation goes to us - the code for City Schoolyard Garden is #08290.

Thank you CVC for supporting
Virginia non-profits!

VA Farm to School Week - Garden Learning!

[From top clockwise: a visit from the Casa Alma chickens in the Johnson garden; students at Burnley-Moran learn about compost from the man who knows it best - Eric Walters of Black Bear Composting; students planting lettuces during the big fall planting day at Venable.]

With mornings and afternoons full of fall planting, taste testing of local produce, lessons about beekeeping and pollination, and visits from a couple of feathered friends (i.e. chickens!) in our schoolyard gardens, Virginia Farm to School Week (October 5th - 9th) was full of hands-on experiences for youth in the City Schoolyard Gardens around Charlottesville! In fact, there were so many opportunities to learn and explore that we are hosting Farm to School garden activities all month. After all, the month of October is National Farm to School Month!

Students at Venable spent the day planting fall greens and cover crops. At Johnson, Clark, and Burnley-Moran, classes had fun interacting with and learning about chickens in their schoolyard gardens thanks to our friends at Casa Alma. Jackson-Via students sampled delicious locally-produced cider thanks to a local foods taste test put on by the Local Food Hub. Greenbrier Garden Coordinator Emily Anderson hosted various farm to school week activities, including a visit to the garden from her own backyard hens! Buford students popped popcorn they had grown in their own garden over the campfire and are gearing up to go on a field trip to a local farm next week! As you can see, Virginia Farm to School Week this year was (and continues to be) a rich opportunity to engage students in learning about Virginia's wonderful agricultural community and help them connect their local schoolyard gardens to the broader agricultural system.

Check out our blog to read more about the ongoing Farm to School Month activities happening in City Schoolyard Gardens around Charlottesville.


A Happenin' Time in the Burnley-Moran Garden!

[From top left clockwise: Burnley-Moran Garden Coordinator Matt Darring shows students how to harvest carrots for their garden-to-table vegetable soup; first grade student pulls out sweet potatoes during the "Math is Sweet" lesson; students in Ms. Umbdenstock's class notice the smell of rye grass; Ms. Pilgrim's first grade class saves lettuce seeds from the garden.]

With the fall harvest season upon us, the City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran Elementary School is hopping with potato harvesting, soup making, seed saving, chicken visiting, and lots of National Farm to School Month fun!

Once the students arrived back at school in late August, they started off the fall growing season right by exploring their garden's summer crops as they began to wrap up, using all of their senses to navigate through the transitional time that fall brings in the garden, and beginning to plant fall crops, including cover crops to help build up the soil once more for the next growing season!

More recently, the students have had their 3rd Annual BME Great Potato Harvest, during which the students tasted vegetable soup made from the potatoes and carrots they harvested that morning! Last week, as part of the Virginia Farm to School Week continued celebration, students at Burnley-Moran had a special visit from a few locals involved in the farming scene. First up was Eric Walters from Black Bear Composting, who taught the students all about the cycles of decomposition and nutrient recycling and showed them three various stages of compost in the making. The next two visitors were, well, quite a deal more "feathered." The kids enjoyed a visit from two friendly chickens borrowed from our friends at Casa Alma. They had such fun interacting with the chickens and learning about what they eat as well as some very chicken-y behaviors!

Learn more about all of the wonderful things students have been up to in our recent blog post.



CSG Garden Corner

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

October 2015:
Recipe for your Fall Harvest

by Samantha Taggart


The nights are getting colder, the skies are getting that bright blue fall color, and pretty soon all of those fall winter storage veggies are going to be coming out of the ground! The students at Burnley-Moran recently harvested their fall carrot & potato crop as part of the 3rd Annual Burnley-Moran Elementary School Great Potato Harvest and made a dynamite soup! Find the recipe they used on our recent blog.

peppers You can visit the City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran Facebook page to see more about the Great Potato Harvest and soup-making day!

Harvest now: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, greens
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; start sowing cover crops and getting beds prepped for winter.


Thank you Charlottesville City School Nutrition Department for hosting local foods all week.
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! 

This month's Cultivar is dedicated to the many Farm to School partners! Thank you!

Thank you Farmer Todd for mentoring Clark youth with the potato harvest!

Thank you Laura & Steve for sharing your chickens at 3 of our garden sites.

Thank you Local Food Hub for hosting taste testing and sourcing apples.

Thank you Eric Walters for sharing insights about composting at Burnley-Moran.

Thank you Dickie Bros. Orchard for donating apples for applesauce and tastings.

Thank you Enterprise for helping us take Buford Middle Schoolers on local farm visits.

Thank you Ken Hall for teaching Clark Students about beekeeping.

Thank you, Charlottesville City School Kitchen Staff!

[Charlottesville City Schools Nutrition Services Managers with Christina Connell, (front row, second from left) and Sandra Vasquez (back row, furthest right), CCS Nutrition Co-Coordinators.]

Several times over the last year throughout the launch of CSG's new Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program, we have joked, "it takes a village to feed our children kale chips." Well, anyone who is familiar with the daunting task of feeding anything to over 2,000 kids knows that that really isn't an exaggeration!

Our experience with the Harvest of the Month Program has shown just how dedicated and supportive Charlottesville City Schools administration and staff are to getting fresh, healthy food for our youth. This month, we would like to thank in particular the kitchen staff at each Charlottesville Elementary School who are helping to wash, prep, and distribute the monthly Harvest of the Month snack to over 2,000 kids across our city’s six Elementary Schools. Each month they go above and beyond to support the work that gives students  an opportunity to taste and learn about a locally-available Virginia crop.

To learn more about who these amazing folks are, visit the Charlottesville City Schools Nutrition Services page on the CCS Website. We thank you all so much and want you to know how much we appreciate your continued partnership with CSG!


Staff Profile: Matt & Jodi Darring

[Matt and Jodi Darring, CSG Garden Coordinators]

Matt and Jodi Darring make an awesome duo in so many ways. Whether it’s raising their two wonderful kids, Caroline and David, keeping an awesome garden of their own, or coordinating engaging, garden-based learning at their children’s school – these two are an inspiring team.

Matt has been involved with the City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran Elementary from near the onset and, for the past four years, he has helped to build a vibrant and thriving garden program that brings garden-based, experiential learning into the minds of students on the daily. Matt has worked diligently to form partnerships with teachers, parents, and other members of the school community to create a program that helps deep academic engagement across multiple subject areas take root in the garden.

Jodi has been a steadfast supporter of garden-based education and, for the past two years, has helped lead "Fresh Talk Snacks," a healthy, fresh snack program at Burnley-Moran that was started by parents a few years ago. This year, she has been pivotal in coordinating and implementing CSG's Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program at Burnley-Moran. Each month, Jodi coordinates the delivery and distribution of the Harvest of the Month snack as well as accompanying educational materials.
Read more about this pair in our blog post.

Tidbits & Dates to Remember


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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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