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?).
Clockwise from top left: Todd "Farmer Todd" Neimeier and Richard "Farmer Rich" Morris; Richard, Mary, and Raven; Richard and Jeanette; the Cultivate Board—Karen, Julia, Matt, and Deanna—with Richard and Jeanette
Each spring Cultivate says thank you to the volunteers and partners who support our work. This year we welcomed the 2023 Golden Trowel Award winners and their families for a cozy celebration at CATEC.
Clockwise from top left: Caetano de Campo Lopes; Karen Waters; Michele Gibson, Shamera Banks, Yolonda Adams, Rebecca Schmidt, and Megan Donovan; Richard Morris, Stephanie Carter, and Quentia Taylor; Terri-Ann Brown, Richard Morris, Rebecca Schmidt, and Jeanette Abi-Nader
Summer Student Engagement
This year's Youth Food Justice Intern cohort has been braving the heat and working hard (don't let them fool you, they LOVE this stuff)! Every morning for six weeks, the group of twelve Charlottesville High School students helps to maintain the CSG and UAC gardens; that means everything from planting potatoes to carting compost to harvesting hundreds of peaches.
The interns also spend their afternoons participating in sessions with our farm to school coordinator and food justice network team. During those times, students learn about Cultivate's initiatives in collaboration with Charlottesville City Schools and with community members.
Top: Jordan and an intern with a box turtle; an intern with one of the CHS chickens
Bottom: Emma getting carrots freshly-harvested by the interns ready for the UAC Community Market Day
It's a Team Effort
For years the UAC team has been hosting Community Market Days in public and subsidized housing neighborhoods across the city. After the increased social distancing safety measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year community members can again help to make the markets a success.
UAC has shifted the bulk of it's growing operation to the CATEC farm as a result of necessary redevelopment at Friendship Court and South 1st Street, but there is still a pared-down growing site at 6th street. Volunteers who helped to make Community Market Days run smoothly before COVID—and folks who are just finding out about Cultivate's work to provide fresh produce at no cost to neighbors—are excited to be back. And we look forward to seeing old and new friends each week!
The Cultivate team and community partners getting ready for a UAC Community Market Day
If you are interested in working with Urban Agriculture Collective as a volunteer, or would like to provide in-kind material support please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working With Promise
Since the start of summer, Cultivate’s Food Justice Network has been holding community workdays every Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the City of Promise Garden.
These workdays fall under our community engagement piece of the Power to Grow campaign and they are a way we incorporate community members, advocates, apprentices, and youth interns in our work through garden-based activities.
So far these Friday mornings have consisted of constructing labels for easy plant identification, weeding, watering, transplanting, harvesting, and working alongside 10th and Page neighbors.
At the end of each session, we give out all harvested produce to community members and partnering organizations in the area. These workdays will continue throughout the summer, and we invite all participants to join us each Friday. Please reach out to KJ Howard, FJN Associate if you would like more information, and visit our website to stay up to date about all things FJN.
Clockwise from top left: a colorful sign welcomes neighbors to the City of Promise garden; food justice interns paint new garden markers; Aleah and KJ; a food justice intern smiling next to his sweet pepper sign
Open to Equity
For years, the programs of Cultivate Charlottesville have been working with woman of color-owned Open Source Leadership Strategies. Beginning months before—and continuing days after—the white supremacist attacks of August 11 and 12, 2017, Sterling Freeman and Kathleen Crabbs led staff and key collaborators through trainings to strengthen the equity lens through which we do our work.
This year Cultivate team and Board members and our Food Justice Network partners have been meeting with Sterling and Gita Gulati-Partee to continue the conversation on how we can fine tune our racial equity focus for deeper impact.
We are incredibly grateful for all of the people who have engaged with us in this work, especially Kristan Pitts of Bread and Roses, Bri Stevenson formerly of Local Food Hub, and Cecilia Lapp-Stoltzfus of IRC New Roots.
Advocating for Urban Agriculture
The Cultivate Community Engagement Team is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-generational group that includes our Community Advocate and Apprentice cohorts. Together six community members, who are passionate and trusted leaders, and five young adults, who were all dedicated food justice interns, are surveying and meeting with people who live in the traditionally-Black neighborhoods in and around Booker T. Washington Park.
The stories and data the team is collecting are part of The Power to Grow campaign that builds on FJN's Food Equity Initiative recommendation for dedicated land for urban agriculture in city parks. With support from the entire Cultivate team, the community advocates and apprentices will host a community roundtable on Tuesday, August 15 at Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to share the information they have gathered and amplify the history of racial inequity at Booker T. Washington Park. In addition, the Community Engagement Team will continue to meet with neighbors through community listening circles to gain insight and input as the Power to Grow campaign continues.
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.
Our Contact Information