Newsletter Archive

Cultivate Charlottesville Newsletter Archive

Food Justice Network Blast | October 2023, Vol. 4 Iss. 5

Build Community Wealth: Advancing Neighborhood Food Access & Markets

The economic divide in Charlottesville falls starkly along racial lines with Black and brown low-wealth families making about a half ($28,309) of the median household income ($54,029). Nationally, in 2019 Charlottesville rated in the lowest 10% of United States cities in our ability for income and social mobility. The multiple challenges and stark inequalities make it challenging for families to increase their wealth.

Investing in community wealth building opportunities provides multiple benefits across the city. In order to ignite and fund community wealth, it is critical to provide opportunities for people of color in low-wealth neighborhoods to access economic opportunities that have been limited by systemic racism. This includes expanding local food system businesses owned by people of color and providing youth and residents opportunities to thrive in food system-related position. Robust collaboration with City departments is necessary for implementation.

Read the full newsletter here.

September 2023 | Volume 4

The Power to Grow

What is the power of a place? Over the past months of engaging community voice through door-to-door conversations, in-depth listening circles, community roundtable discussions, and partner gatherings, we have gleaned significant data. Overall, it tells us that 94% of residents engaged would like to see an Urban Agriculture Collective farm site at Booker T. Washington Park. This includes: 511 individuals who signed the petition, 344 residents who took the survey, 107 community members who joined the roundtable, and 51 community leaders who engaged in in-depth listening circles.

The richness behind those numbers is rooted in the stories. The memories of Black community life centered around the park. Of working together against racial discrimination to build a space of belonging. Of building power to grow a legacyWe want to express our deep appreciation for the many partners and individuals who are supporting this effort. Each signature, each survey, each letter to council, each donation, each conversation—is moving towards reclamation. In this month’s FJN newsletter profile we share snippets of a few of the stories we have heard so far! We are excited for the many more to come. 

Booker T. Washington Park has many memories from my childhood of families coming together for a good cause. Having a garden to share produce and enjoy seeing the “fruits of labor” in unity is like coming full circle from our past ancestors who took great pride in this park to make a positive impact.  Simona Holloway Read the full newsletter here.

Food Justice Network Blast | September 18, 2023

On Monday, September 18 Food Justice Network Advocates, Apprentices, and community partners came together to give our annual Food Equity Initiative report to City Council.

This year was special because it included The Power to Grow community engagement report. 94% of residents expressed strong support for an Urban Agriculture Collective farm site at Booker T. Washington Park. We also received 493 signatures on the petition asking council to take the following actions. 

#1. Charlottesville City Council recommends dedicating land in Booker T. Washington Park for an Urban Agriculture Collective Farm.

#2. Charlottesville City Council asks Parks and Recreation to prioritize a community design for this farm site in the upcoming P&R Strategic Plan.

#3.Charlottesville City Council recommends explicitly including food equity goals in the City’s Strategic Plan in a way that aligns with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Food Equity Initiative Platform.

Read the full newsletter here.

Food Justice Network Blast | August 2023, Vol. 4 Iss. 4

Inspire Youth Choice: Advancing Healthy School Food: Advancing Healthy School Food

In Charlottesville, more than half of city school youth are eligible for free and reduced-price meals and 1 in 6 city school students experience childhood food insecurity. Low-wealth students and students of color experience food insecurity at higher rates compared to their white peers. While school meal programs serve a central role in combating childhood hunger while supporting positive health and academic outcomes, students have indicated barriers to accessing school meals such as time to make it through the lunch line, unappealing food options, and smaller portions than needed. These issues are compounded by structural challenges within the school system to prepare and make available fresh, from scratch, culturally relevant foods such as limited kitchen infrastructure, inconsistent staff availability and high turnover, low wages for nutrition staff, and the diversity of the Charlottesville City School (CCS) student population and cultural food needs.

In order to ensure food equity across the city and provide all students the fuel needed to be successful learners, healthy school food options and infrastructure, informed by youth leadership, must be understood in the context of equity building and elevated with continued momentum. School nutrition programs are not a business but a service to build equity and health among Charlottesville youth.

Read the full newsletter here.

August 2023, Volume 4

At the end of June, after five years with Cultivate Charlottesville, Richard Morris turned in his trowel. A room full of folks joined us to celebrate his many accomplishments with the organization and wish him a fond farewell. On the first of July, Aleen Carey, after many years on the Board of City Schoolyard Garden and three years as outreach and resource program director, stepped into leadership as co-executive director alongside Jeanette Abi-Nader.

 Even though a different person is sharing key responsibilities, the growing, sharing, and advocating at the core of Cultivate’s food justice mission will remain the same. We are still passionate about experiential garden learning. We are still listening to neighbors about what kind of produce they would like to pick up at Community Market Days. We are still amplifying the voice and choice of youth and community members around food equity.

 And, SURPRISE, Richard will stick around as a consultant to work on The Power to Grow urban agriculture campaign (see Advocating for Agriculture below) he has been stewarding for years (you didn’t think we were just going to let him retire to the country, did you?).

Read the full newsletter here.

Food Justice Network Blast | June 2023, Vol. 4 Iss. 3

The Right to Good Food: Advancing Transportation & Neighborhood Food Pathways

While Charlottesville is regarded as a foodie town nestled in the abundance of sustainable cultivated farms, the right to good food is not equally realized across our city. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 6 residents faced challenges acquiring enough good and nutritious food for their families. Across the Blue Ridge Health District, health outcomes continue to draw stark lines by race. In our City, inequitable access to food can be traced back to neighborhoods, demonstrating that not every community was developed fairly in terms of transportation, grocery store access or affordable community markets, and economic opportunity. In addition, individuals reentering society face barriers with decreased access to programs like SNAP and WIC, as well as housing assistance, further exacerbating inequities we see today across race and class.

In pursuit of the right to good food for every community member, the Food Justice Network believes measures should be taken to expand eligibility to programs, cultivate ownership of affordable markets, and develop stronger transportation avenues to food resources.

Read the full FJN Blast here.

Summer 2023, Volume 4

Every year, the turning of the seasons brings with it the promise of abundance. For Cultivate Charlottesville, 2023 is our season of change. Over the next year, Richard and Jeanette, our dynamic duo co-executive directors, will be passing the trowel to new leadership. Richard Morris will be leaving his position at the end of June, while Jeanette Abi-Nader will be staying on  through December to ensure a smooth transition. We are excited to announce that Aleen Carey  will be stepping into leadership as one of Cultivate’s new co-executive directors on July 1

Aleen has deep roots in the Charlottesville community. She moved here in high school, served as a teacher, and has experience across numerous Charlottesville nonprofits. Her journey with  Cultivate began 10 years ago as a Board member. For 5 years, she served ably as our Board Chair. In 2020, she joined our staff as our first Outreach and Resource Program Director. Her commitment to Cultivate, to the community, and to our shared work is as evident as her dynamic skills. 

Aleen is looking forward to leading the next phase of our transformational leadership model and  the exciting changes ahead in Charlottesville’s food equity landscape. She remains focused on our mission of engaging “youth and community in building equitable, sustainable food systems through garden-based experiential learning, growing and sharing healthy food, amplifying  community leaders, and advocating for food justice.” 

“It has been a rewarding experience to see the growth of City Schoolyard Garden from our first garden at Buford Middle Schools to Cultivate Charlottesville’s integrated approach to building a  healthy and just food system personally, in community, and across systems and structures. I’m so excited to work with Aleen and our amazing staff and board through this transition.” – Jeanette Abi-Nader 

Read the full newsletter here.

June 2023, Volume 4

At Cultivate Charlottesville, we talk about what it means to be a transformational leader. How we can step into leadership that builds equity by what we do, how we show up, and how we analyze the landscape of systems and structures. Over the past few months we have seen two paid cohorts of community members stepping into leadership and advocacy around urban agriculture in our city.  The Community Advocate 2023 cohort and our new Food Justice Apprentice cohort is joining together to connect with neighbors and glean community feedback. This effort, two years in the making, is one way we are centering the voices and choices of community.

While this grassroots work is happening, door to door, we are also paying attention to the national community of food justice folks. As a core member and 2021 School of Political Leadership participant with HEAL Food Alliance, we are learning about and advocating for a just farm bill. We encourage you to join us in this critical quest. The Farm Bill is about a LOT more than farming. It shapes how we provide meals for school students, food benefits for mothers and children, and so much more. See below for ways you can get involved and advocate!

Read the full newsletter here.

May 2023, Volume 4

This March Cultivate Charlottesville added the next step in our stairway to leadership: the Food Justice Apprentice Cohort. This cohort is a paid opportunity for young adults who have experience in the Cultivate gardens and are looking to learn more about careers in food justice. We are asking for your support to help fund the new Food Justice Apprentice Community Engagement Cohort as part of our stairway to leadership. Each of five apprentices receive $15,000/seven months + plus a lot more! 

Food Justice Network Apprentices: Work alongside mentors in each of our core programs: City Schoolyard Garden, Urban Agriculture Collective, Food Justice Network, and Integrated Systems and Strategies; Receive on-the-job training in multiple skill areas; Gain professional skills, insights, and capacity building; Lead special projects with their own budgets – as individuals and as a cohort; Deepen their knowledge around systemic issues in our food system and how those issues impact the community. This new cohort would not be possible without your support. 


Read the full newsletter here.

Food Justice Network Blast | April 2023, Vol. 4 Iss. 2

The Power to Grow: Advancing Affordable Housing & Urban Agriculture

The power to grow food for the health and nutritional wellbeing of one’s family is a power not equally distributed across the city. Black and brown, low-wealth neighborhoods carry the increased burden of choosing between good housing and land to grow sparking mind, body, and social health. Currently, three key urban farms ushered forth by residents themselves as an effort to create fresh and free produce for their families and neighbors have been destroyed to make room for much needed affordable housing.

At its height, these farms totaling an acre in the city’s urban center, produced 17,000 pounds of produce for 350 families in the Friendship Court, South First Street, 6th Street, Crescent Halls, Midway Manor, Riverside and Westhaven neighborhoods. In addition to produce distributed at weekly markets, these growing communities bolstered some of the most environmentally sustainable practices managing storm water runoff, building soil health, fostering natural pollinator habitats, and growing orchards while cleaning the air and capturing carbon.

In pursuit of restoring the power to grow for every community, the Food Justice Network believes an equitable investment in urban agriculture is needed to counter impacts of necessary housing redevelopment on decreased food access and environmental health. When families have the power to grow, land is liberation.

Read the full FJN Blast here.

Food Justice Network Blast | February 2023, Vol. 4 Iss. 1

Food Equity and Justice: Advancing Systemic Change & Collective Movements

Food equity and justice practices are foundational throughout this policy platform and reinforce food as a human right. Each recommended action emerged out of prioritizing community members voices and choices and aims to impact long-term systemic change. While some cities establish food policy councils to carry out Food Equity Initiative type work, Charlottesville has a unique and dynamic partnership with Cultivate Charlottesville Food Justice Network. Together we leveraged the power of public and private partnerships to rapidly respond to crisis in the face of the pandemic. Supporting collective movements that uplift community voice and leadership through partnership and collaboration with grassroots organizations, youth leaders and resident advocates has been a foundation of systemic change for our city.

In order to build equity in the Charlottesville food system so that all community members have access to fresh, affordable, culturally relevant food—food equity and justice must be considered as a core strategy for community health and safety. Partnerships with grassroots organizations, youth leaders, and resident advocates are critical.

Read the full FJN Blast here.

November 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 10

Being from a Native American family, conflicting feelings surrounding this time of year can be overwhelming. In my culture wealth is not measured by how much we can accumulate, but how much we can give away to others. Being surrounded by this amazing team who embodies these values is something that I am indeed thankful for, and am gratified by the work we do TOGETHER selflessly for others. I hope that you can find a moment of stillness in your each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, and that it carries you through your week.

                – Amyrose Foll, Urban Agricuture Collective Program Director

Read more.

October 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 9

October was a BIG month! There was farm to school. Community Climate Collaborative (C3) honored Cultivate with an award. The UAC team harvested sweet SO MANY potatoes. CSG presented at a state conference. We welcomed three new people to our staff.

Check out the program updates here for all of the details.

Farm to School 2022, Special Edition

Over the past few years, Cultivate has been collaborating with VDOE F2S by sharing models of our Harvest of the Month work, presenting at Virginia Farm to School conferences, and participating in proposal reviews. This year, however, as the state began to roll out their final version of the VA F2S Toolkit, we were asked to edit our profile; requested edits included taking out all of our references to race and equity. Why this shift to exclude direct recognition of the role of race and equity in farm-to-school work? Well, on the first day of his administration, Virginia’s new Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Order Number One addressing so-called Divisive Concepts.

Read more.

September 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 7

Although we were sad to have to cancel our Harvest Festival at Buford Middle School, we were glad to still celebrate with our families and donate prepared food to our friends at The Haven. One of the reasons we were eager to see everyone, was because of the scheduled reconfiguration at Buford—as of right now, construction will begin next year. We are committed to coming together again before the site at Buford—original City Schoolyard Garden—is relocated. Stay tuned for a reschedule date in spring 2023. 

Read more about what we’ve been up to here!

Summer 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 6

It’s been a busy busy summer! Our latest cohort of food justice interns have spent 6 weeks engaging in daily garden care, building relationships, engaging in conversations about healthy school meals, having food justice conversations, and attending community events. Meanwhile, the UAC team has already hosted 39 markets across the city–distributing 4,000 lbs of fresh, garden produce to community members. Not to mention all of the community events our team has been attending!

Read more!

June 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 5

Another academic year has come to an end, but it’s just the beginning of a busy summer for Cultivate. With the newest youth food justices interns cooking up veggies straight from the garden, many different groups volunteering in the school gardens and farm plots, and Community Market Days in full swing—June is anything but a vacation!

Read more here!

April & May 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 4

We’ve been busy at Cultivate this spring! At the end of April we practiced Healing in the Garden with The Women’s Initiative, watched the Building Trades students complete raised beds at the CATEC farm plot, installed the Charlottesville Twelve sundial at Clark Elementary, hosted a BINGO fundraiser, and celebrated the volunteers, partners, & sponsors that support our work. That was all in one week.

Read more here!

March 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 3

March came in like a lamb with sunny skies heralding spring weather, but it went out like a lion with a tornado warning and wild winds. That’s not the only weather folklore The Farmers’ Almanac highlights related to the third month of the year. “So many mists in March you see, so many frosts in May will be” and “As it rains in March, so it rains in June,” will have us waiting for another few months to find out how the weather affects our 2022 harvests.

Read more here!

February 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 2

Cultivate is over-the-moon thrilled to be a new CORE MEMBER of HEAL Food Alliance! City Schoolyard Garden, Food Justice Network, and Urban Agriculture Collective came together to form Cultivate Charlottesville with a mission of integrating the approach each of those programs had to building a healthy and just food system. HEAL Food Alliance shares that vision saying, “No single individual, organization, or sector can transform systems in isolation. We believe that true transformation requires diverse skills, roles, and resources— and, it requires organizing together for real change.” Cultivate is proud to be one of the HEAL member organizations “building collective power to transform our food and farm systems.”

Read more here!

January 2022, Vol. 3 Iss. 1

It’s a new year! We’re certainly excited to welcome new Cultivate team member Shamera Banks as Farm to School Coordinator with our City Schoolyard Garden program. We’re also pretty fired up about two urban farm spaces that will see us planting and harvesting again in 2022. This will be our first full season at Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC), where we have already laid roots of collaboration with the students and faculty. In addition, we will be working the land again on West Street (behind the Region Ten building) that has been stewarded by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) New Roots farmers for the last number of years.

Read more here!

October 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 9

If you’re anything like me, you start thinking of sweet potato pie the moment your Halloween costume comes off each year! Well, our coworkers on the UAC team and our new friends at CATEC have got us beat this year—they didn’t wait for Thanksgiving to break out the goodies. UAC planted these humongous “sweet taters” as Farmer Rich calls them, long ago in anticipation of Community Market Days. Community members who live in any public or subsidized housing neighborhood in the city can find the UAC team at the weekly location  (rotating between Friendship Court, Midway Manor, Crescent Halls, Westhaven, South 1st Street, and CATEC) with pounds of fresh produce. Neighbors can pick out the produce they need for the week ahead at no cost. So, many of our neighbors have already the extreme pleasure of tasting these taters.

Read more here!

October 2021, Cultivate Co-Directors

The Cultivate Charlottesville Board is excited about the new Co-Executive Director leadership structure that was implemented this spring. As we continue to move forward with our organizational mission and what we aspire to per our Uprooting Racism Action Plan (developed after staff and board training from SoulFire Farm) the tenets of Decision-Making, Power and Authority were highlighted, and actionable steps were taken to remain true to this mission.

Read more here!

September 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 8

Happy autumn food justice friends!

Please mark your attendance for the bi-monthly Cultivate Charlottesville Food Justice Network large group meeting! Our next gathering is being moved to October 20 from 10:30am-12:30pm on Zoom. We will be preparing for our Food Equity Initiative presentation to City Council coming up November 1st and are excited for your to engage and advocate

Read more here!

August 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 7

School is back! Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, or neighbor. If you’re associated with Charlottesville City Schools, UVA, any of the private schools, or Albemarle County Schools. SCHOOL IS BACK! While we are excited for the return of in-person learning, we also acknowledge that the ferocity of COVID-19 is back as well. And we are wishing all  school folks a safe and healthy beginning of the new academic year!

Cultivate will mirror the COVID-19 policy adopted by local education institutions and supported by the Blue Ridge Health District regarding vaccinations, testing, masks, and social distancing. We love working alongside so many of you and are committed to healthy and safe interactions with students, volunteers, colleagues, and community members.

Read more here!

July 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 6

It’s been hot. Extremely hot. The CSG garden coordinators & food justice interns have experienced it the school gardens, and the UAC farm team has felt it at 6th Street and the new CATEC location. FJN advocates & residents who live in public and subsidized housing know all too well that the heat of summer, which is increasing at an alarming rate due to climate change, brings with it the dangerous heat island effect.

As much as our team plans to take advantage of the cooler temperatures of early morning and late evening for garden work, people who live in neighborhoods without green space and tree canopy are not able to escape increased energy consumption, elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, compromised human health & comfort, and impaired water quality.

Read more here!

April & May 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 4

Is anyone else feeling busy? Are we *checks notes* already approaching the half-way point of 2021? After two months of non-stop action, we’re catching our breath and catching you up on what we’ve been doing.

April and May were marked by many Cultivate events. We spread our thanks to our volunteers and partners at the virtual ROOT! celebration, spread information about the ways we work with the City to build a healthy and just food system at our ZOOM roundtable, and spread plants across the town through another successful annual seedling giveaway and sale. 

Catch up with us here!  

March 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 3

Leading up to our launch as Cultivate Charlottesville almost a year ago, we picked the words GROW | SHARE | ADVOCATE as shorthand for our mission work toward a healthy and just food system in our city. On the surface, the word “share” represents our urban agriculture work of sharing food grown in and for community. But we also recognize the integrated work of each of our programs—City Schoolyard Garden, Urban Agriculture Collective, and Food Justice Network—for a common goal, and sharing can be seen as central to all of our work.

Read more here!

March 2021, Vol. 2 Iss. 1

In January & February Food Justice Network advocates, youth food justice interns, parents and nonprofit leaders showed up to express their support for the Food Equity Initiative Policy Platform. Congratulations! We heard emphasis on: Food as a human right, a desire for fresher school meals, a challenge to center food equity in school nutrition departments and take away the burden of functioning like a business, support for the intersection of food equity and affordable housing, an interest in a cooperative grocery owned by community members of color and more! 

At this month’s large group Food Justice Network meeting we will be digging into each of the policy platform areas and exploring ways to build power and energy around action. Join us! 

Read more here

February 2021, Vol. 1 Iss. 9

Working together to cultivate a healthy and just food system requires complex, integrated efforts and partners with multiple forms of activism. During the Uprooting Racism training with SoulFire Farm this past fall, Leah Penniman shared their butterfly model that articulates four powerful strategies for transformation: ResistBuildHealReform. Each strategy has played a part in the long history of action toward liberation. At Cultivate, we also aim to engage across strategies in our programs, initiatives, values, and action. Is it possible, however, to Resist an institution with whom you are partnering to Reform? To take time to Heal the harm of racism while working diligently to Build new systems? 

Read more about our commitment to Uprooting Racism.

January 2021, Vol. 1 Iss. 8

This new year feels a lot like last year. There are some themes we would have liked to leave behind in 2020—the coronavirus pandemic, policing of Black people, and political turmoil. Food insecurity in our city is also an issue we wish could have ended last year, but we are reenergized to continue to GROW, SHARE, and ADVOCATE for a healthy and just food system for all.

January brings the opportunity to advocate for increased funding of #healthyschoolmeals. The food justice interns, community advocates, and Cultivate staff presented their and requests during the School Board/City Council joint budget meeting about the importance of infrastructure changes. With additional monies allocated toward school meals, schools can upgrade resources, continue to professionalize positions within the Nutrition Department, and provide healthy meals for all students.

Read on!

December 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 8

As we say goodbye to 2020, we also say thank you to all of the people who have worked together to build food justice over the past twelve months. While our focus on a healthy and just food system in Charlottesville remains steady, the initiatives and community engagement pivoted to address immediate needs around food security during the COVID-19 crisis. The coronavirus pandemic shifted our course, but we were still able to take a huge step on the journey to more fully integrate our core programs—City Schoolyard Garden, Urban Agriculture Collective, and Food Justice Network—when Cultivate Charlottesville officially launched in the spring. That was our first foray into the world of Instagram Live and ZOOM webinar, and we all adapted to these new ways to engage together and work for equity.

Looking toward the new year, we will continue to host students in the gardens in a safe manner, work to find and develop new land for urban agriculture, and collaborate with organizations and City departments to address the inequities in our current food system.We wish you and your loved ones a joyous turn to the new year and continued health and community!

Read more!

November 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 7

One of the first things we learn when studying the environment is that healthy ecosystems are rich in biodiversity, the amount of variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity is the number of different species of plants, animals, and microorganisms that are thriving in an ecosystem. (NASA, Exploring the Environment, Global Climate Change)  But, it is more than simply the number of species in an ecosystem that make it healthier and more resilient—what enhances ongoing, vibrancy, and resilience in an ecosystem are the connections and relationships between the species. This also rings true with our organizational and community efforts for change. Food Justice Network’s partnership with City Council for the Food Equity Initiative was built on the idea that we are more effective when we work together with multiple strategies, a diversity of partners, and intersecting issues.

Read on! 

October 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 6

October isn’t in the middle of the calendar year, but it feels as though we’re right in between things. It’s not the end of the summer/beginning of the school year anymore, and yet it’s not quite the holiday season either. Even though we still have one month until Thanksgiving and two until the December holidays, October offers much to celebrate. From Indigenous Peoples’ Day to Farm-to-School Week to the Urban Agriculture Collective Garden Gathering, the Cultivate community has been hard at work sharing history; honoring the stewards of our land; strengthening the bond between fresh, local produce and our school meals; and thanking everyone who has made our Community Market Days successful in the middle of a pandemic.

Read more!

September 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 5

Fall might be the best season (the mosquitos have been doing their best to keep summer out of the number one spot) to experience this place. 

In Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, we are in the unique position to live in this sweet spot at the base of the mountains. From hikes and camping to farms and orchards to rivers and trees, this land provides endless opportunities to bask in the abundance all around us. Come autumn, when the leaves display their most diverse and fiery hues, we’ve delighted in those neon green buds and first warm breezes of spring and wiped the sweat away as we’ve harvested and enjoy the summer bounty. Now fall bestows cooler days upon us that will take us into possible snowfall and definite bowls of piping hot soup. This is quite a place to live. Even though some of us were born and raised in these foothills, we are not the first to cultivate and benefit from this land; the people of the Monacan Nation hiked these woods, drank from these rivers, cultivated these fields, and basked in this bounty long before us. Their descendants (a mere 2,000 currently call Virginia home) have endured hundreds of years of colonialist and racist practices to survive and live here today. 

Read our entire Indigenous Acknowledgement by reading this month’s newsletter and join us in sharing the stories and voices of the original stewards of this land.

Read more!

August 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 4

Not Goodbye – Just see you later. As August comes to an end, two core initiatives investing in youth leadership and community health are moving into the next phase of work. The Food Justice Interns under the tutelage of Miss Shannon and a team of Cultivate staff members have completed their summer session and are—along with their classmates all over the city—preparing for the virtual beginning of the school year. This year, the Youth Intern team will continue a robust schedule during the academic year.  Food Justice Network’s collaboration with Frontline Foods and multiple partners to organize a distribution initiative that helped businesses owned by people of color to survive while providing meals to folks who needed emergency food access is shifting gears as well. At the same time, the summer show still goes on! Gardens at the schools and in the community are being tended while connections with everyone from the City Schools to the University to our two major health systems to local donors are still being cultivated each and every day.

Read more!

July 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 3

On the Rise. It’s hot out here. And the show goes on. Miss Mackenzie and Mr. Davis share stories from school gardens that will make you want to eat a Mexican sour gherkin (that’s a real thing) and stop to smell the flowers. In collaboration with many other organizations, Food Justice Network continues to provide emergency food access and COVID-19 to support to those who test positive in our community. At the same time, FJN leaders remind us of the importance of advocacy in times of crisis as well as when things seem to be less urgent. Urban Agriculture Collective had a trial volunteer day this month, which went well and opened the door for more socially distanced gardening opportunities. Yolonda Adams and Sarah Wayne were guests on To Your Health on 97.9’s radio show—be sure to take a listen. Cville Weekly’s Serving Up Relief is going strong, and you still have plenty of time to bid on awesome prizes. The Cultivate Social Justice Book Club shares some of the titles that have been the topic of great discussion as spring turned into summer. Lifeview Marketing created a wonderful video to help spread the word about the Cultivate Charlottesville mission, be sure to share it with your friends. As always, catch a glimpse of the fruits of our labor (as well as the CHS cat Spike).

Read more!

July 2020, FJN Blast Vol. 1 Iss. 1

Food Justice Network.

Advocate for Black & Brown Lives In Our Food System During COVID-19. In this issue of the Food Justice Network newsletter, the Network asks that you join in taking action against Tyson Foods. Read more about our demands and why it is so important that we stand in solidarity with food service workers across the nation. Also in this issue, updates on our text messaging service, a Member Spotlight and information about our July 22nd Large Group Meeting.

June 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 2

June was a month marked by continued outrage and protest around the killings of Black people in America. Read our statement regarding Black lives. Much has happened in our offices in the last month including Elza Thomas joining our FJN staff—find out her favorite food and why she’s excited to work at Cultivate. We’re over-the-moon excited that the Summer Food Justice Interns have started! Revolutionary food and music recommendations abound just like the fresh produce from our UAC gardens—check out what’s good. 

Everyone has been hard at work to support the wraparound COVID-19 resources being provided by FJN and many other organizations in the community. If you don’t take a peek at this newsletter, you’ll miss a couple of our youngest gardeners—the sons of one of our board and one of our staff members. Be sure to read Community Climate Collaborative’s interview of Cultivate ED Jeanette Abi-Nader. Cville Weekly and a group of generous donors are coming together to host Serving Up Relief, a fundraiser that will benefit the Food Equity Fund.

Read more!

May 2020, Vol. 1 Iss. 1

We’re official!!! Even though COVID-19 has thrown a couple of obstacles in the way, Cultivate Charlottesville has launched! Find out more about what it means to have City Schoolyard Garden, Urban Agriculture Collective, and Food Justice Network integrated working to build a healthy and just food system. 

Buford Middle School students work to plant and grow almost 10,000 seedlings each year. With a little help from staff, we were able to finish what the students started and donate and sell plants to hundreds of community members. UAC Market Days begin in June, and staffers are adapting the model to ensure people still have weekly access to fresh produce through the summer and into the fall. COVID-19, and the ensuing quarantine, has made food accessibility more difficult for many people who were already battling this issue. FJN has led the efforts through collaboration with the City and many partners to provide emergency food efforts. 

Each year we take time to thank and recognize our volunteers and partners. This year, we hosted our annual ROOT! celebration via ZOOM and were joined by so many of our favorite people. Cultivate partnered with Charlottesville Tomorrow to publish op-eds written by two of our staff members and articles featuring our colleagues written by Cville Tomorrow journalists. Find those articles and more on our PRESS PAGE.

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Three Programs Come Together as One. 

City Schoolyard Garden connects youth to where their food is grown, provides experiential learning, and invests in youth leaders.  Urban Agriculture Collective continues a long standing effort to build bridges across differences through growing on public land and sharing at Community Market Days. Food Justice Network advocates for food equity. Together we are CULTIVATE CHARLOTTESVILLE, an integrated approach to to building a healthy and just food system personally, in community, and across systems and structures. 

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City Schoolyard Garden Newsletter Archive