Though you can't tell from the smiles on our faces in the pictures below, we were sad to cancel the Harvest Festival at Buford Middle School. As with so many things, we had been looking forward to connecting with friends old and new while giving garden tours, pouring fresh apple cider, dancing, playing games, and sharing a delicious meal donated by local restaurants.
Instead, we donated food that had already been prepared to The Haven and gathered along with family and some of our youth food justice interns in our office that evening for a staff dinner. We are so appreciative of everyone who worked with us to get ready for the festival including the Buford administration and custodial staff and volunteers.
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 spring 2023 date and further details to come.
Clockwise from top left: Sara and Leon celebrate their birthdays with their Cultivate coworkers; Emma and her family; Shamera and her son enjoy a good laugh; food justice intern Rosy grabs a cookie; everyone models the Harvest Festival volunteer shirts (which we will repurpose as staff work shirts for gardening/farming)
Charlottesville Twelve Day: Honoring A Lasting Legacy
On Tuesday, September 8, 1959, nine elementary students and three high schoolers integrated Charlottesville City public schools. The students’ steps on the first day of classes carried not only the weight of their books, but also the promise of an end to “massive resistance,” which had been instituted the year prior by Virginia’s governor. Rather than have Black and white students learn side by side, City schools were ordered closed.
In the fall of 2019, Charlottesville City Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins read a proclamation to commemorate the 60th anniversary of that historic day and honor the courage and determination of the students and their parents. As a year-round visual legacy to the twelve young people who paved the way for today’s Black students to attend school alongside their peers, Cultivate Charlottesville youth food justice interns designed a sundial to be installed at each City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) site.
Clockwise from top left: PB&J Executive Director Alex Gross with Cultivate's Aleen Carey; chalkboard signage in the kitchen; FJN Planning Team Members celebrate the PB&J legacy; a member of the New Hill Development team prepares lunches for City youth
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UAC in the Community
While you're most likely to catch a glimpse of one of the Urban Agriculture Collective (UAC) team members if you drive by one of the plots on West Street, 6th Street, or at CATEC, on a recent Monday you could find them working in the yard of a community member. Along with the rest of the Cultivate staff, UAC transplanted the garden of a neighbor to her new location so she could start to feel more at home.
In addition to lending a helping trowel, it was a great way for our entire staff to work together, which we don't always get to do! Look for an upcoming article about how this well-known community member has not only spread joy around the city, but is also responsible for beautiful banana plants all around.
Cultivate staff members get together early on a Monday morning to relocate a neighbor's plants to her new home.
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Healing in the Garden: Take Two
In spring 2022 Juanika Howard of The Women's Initiative Sister Circle reached out to Cultivate to talk about putting together an event for Black women in our community to experience the calming nature of, well, nature. More specifically, how the garden can be a healing place. Our first event this past April brought a handful of women to the 6th Street garden early one Saturday to put together pots that they could take home along with fresh bouquets. As soon as the event finished, we knew we would do it again, and our second Healing in the Garden event was quickly put on the calendar.
A few weeks ago, sixteen Black women from all over Charlottesville—including two PH.D. students from the University, met at the same space on 6th Street for more plants, more grounding, and more fellowship. As with the first event, we began with an exercise to center ourselves in our space, and then the dirt began to fly. This time participants could choose anything from one of two types of mint to kale to plant and take home. In addition, Cultivate Farm to School Coordinator Shamera Banks researched recipes that could be made with the ingredients and we printed them for each person (click below to get your own copies).
Clockwise from top left: Black women from all over the city came together in the 6th Street garden
Special thanks to PHAR for allowing us to use the space for this event.
Together we can move Charlottesville from a foodie city to a food-E(quity) place for ALL residents!
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At Cultivate Charlottesville we believe that working together to grow gardens, share food and power, and advocate for just systems cultivates a healthy community for all.
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