This past year, one of our founding Garden Coordinators left his role at Johnson Elementary. Rick Harden came on as one of two parents overseeing the Johnson Garden engagement in A man of many skills and talents including beautiful woodworking, Rick ran the garden at Johnson Elementary school for 7 years. While at Johnson Rick designed and built raised beds, benches, an accessible bed designed with engaging all Johnson students in mind. His most recent woodworking projects included benches that made their way to numerous schools and garden locations and the wonderful outdoor mud kitchen at Johnson. Rick cultivated a garden grounded in exploration, inquiry, and fun. Read more about the wonderful Rick Harden today!


NOVEMBER Hello! My name is Hallie! I am a food justice intern at Cultivate Charlottesville. Food justice interns are teenagers that care about the environment, food, farming, and the community. The main point of food justice is to learn more information about food insecurities and economic issues that stop people from having a good meal. We then try to share
that information so more people know about the issue. To me, food justice is making sure that a meal is being served to our community each and every day. Being a food justice intern can really change your perspective about food and its meaning to people. Read about the trip the Food Justice interns took to Riverview farm this month!

OCTOBER Just in case you missed it, October’s Harvest of the Month crop is collard greens! In honor of this crop, Rosa Key, long-time Charlottesville resident and Community Advocate with the Food Justice Network, shared two of her basic recipes for cooking collards. In her own words, she “grew up eating them, planting them, picking them, washing them and cooking them,” and while she’s not giving all her secrets away, read on for two tried and true methods of preparing collard greens.

OCTOBER Columbus Day was first celebrated in the US on October 12, 1792. Now, 228 years later, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation declaring the day Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It is a small step toward piercing the veil of America’s hidden history. At the heart of this history lies land, the resources it contains, the wealth it produces, and the power that land ownership conveys. Read more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day from Richard

SEPTEMBER The end of July and beginning of August marked a transition in the COVID-19 local emergency food response as Frontline Foods/World Central Kitchen (FLF/WCK) phased out their Community Meals program. The program—an initiative fostering social and economic impacts—was operated by Frontline Foods volunteers and the Cville Community Cares mutual aid group, in collaboration with the national World Central Kitchen emergency food relief organization. Read more from Shantell here!

SEPTEMBER This spring we added green paths to four of the elementary school gardens as well as at the City of Promise garden. We have green pathways at Clark, Jackson-Via, Venable, and a combination of mulched and green paths at Greenbrier and Burnley Moran Elementary. In a garden a pathway is basically a walkway from one area or focal point to another. Some different examples of pathways are mulch, gravel, bamboo, grass or other types of greenery. Green pathways are organic materials so they are considered environmentally friendly. These types of pathways are not difficult to maintain, inexpensive, and welcoming. Read more about the many benefits of green pathways!

AUGUST Y’all– gardening in facemasks during a heatwave is not. a. joke. This summer, we hosted ten incredible young people who were willing to put up with the extra sweat and contribute towards building a better, more nourished community. To say I am proud of this year’s Youth Food Justice Intern cohort would be an immense understatement. For six weeks during a summer of unprecedented upheavals, record high temperatures, and drought, our team of ten accomplished so much! Read more about Manny, Ally, DaTayveyus, Lynaisha, Keyshanna, Aina, Sethaun, Hallie, BriAsia, and Rosy and their intensive summer of food triumphs.

JULY In the winter of 2019, we started getting some strange looks around the school farm at Charlottesville High School. My students and I are always looking for fun projects to experiment with new ideas, but this one took a while to come together and didn’t exactly look very pretty at the beginning. Between the building and the farm were several islands of grass sandwiched in between sidewalks. Read more from Peter!

JULY It’s a lot quieter in the garden these days without students. The students are the most exciting part of caring for a garden space. The things that they notice that I would’ve glanced over without even a thought amazes me. Their excitement of finding a bean on a vine or a pepper on a stalk when I said I didn’t think there were any growing quite yet is unparalleled. Read more from Mackenzie!