Phi Sigma Pi

We have had two visits from UVA’s Phi Sigma Pi this fall. Led by Elin and Bobby, these knowledgeable, fun, and hardworking students are continuing a relationship that goes back many years. On this most recent visit they worked with community volunteer Mary Beth Perry and did some heavy work getting one of the garden’s eight raised beds weeded, turned over, pathed, mulched, and cover cropped so that by spring it will be ready to put into production again. They also did some very nice organizing and cleaning up of garden related materials. Thank you so very much!


United Way Day of Caring

It was about two weeks ago, but we were visited by angels. I’m just getting caught up enough to write about it.
The United Way Day of Caring is the largest volunteer day in our service region. Literally thousands of people go out and volunteer time at local schools and nonprofits. We had a whole host of people show up to work at the community garden. Two teams from UVA, faculty, staff, and students from PVCC, community members, two people from the Little Keswick School, etc.

September updates

Lots of action happening in the community garden these days! A few notes:
1. Twenty-five people have signed up to come to the community garden for the United Way Day of Caring from 9-12 on Sept. 26th. All PVCC students are also welcome.
2. UVA’s Phi Sigma Pi came out to the garden and worked 3-5 last Friday along with four member of the PVCC club, then UVA’s Project SERVE came out from 10-12 and were joined by one PVCC student and club member. I was able to be there with both groups.
3. A young man interested in horticulture, Ben, has begun working in the garden on Wednesdays and Fridays for a few hours each day. Please come and join him. We still have over a dozen community members who are participating in the garden at various days/times and would love to show you around. Erin Hughey-Commers dropped off onions and potatoes harvested this weekend to the food bank today.
4. UVA’s Madison House had 17 people sign up to work in the garden this year and will be beginning in the garden starting as early as next week.

We’re still working through upgrades to the irrigation system and trying to get the fall crop planted. Stay tuned!

Today’s harvest

Getting back to the garden today after vacation, I hoed up some potatoes and red onions. That felt great, and I was able to turn over the soil at the same time, serving both the purpose of weeding and beginning the readying of the bed for fall planting. Got a bunch of cherry tomatoes too, along with some basil and a few squashes that Denise handed over from her plot. In the lessons learned section, some of the potatoes were green. White, yellow, red, and purple potatoes are good. Green ones are not. Potatoes that are tinged greenish have been exposed to sun and the green is actually chlorophyll. They also contain solanine and are bitter to the taste and can induce nausea. Lesson? Plant you potatoes deeper and hill them up a bit more as you go.

Still, it will be a nice donation to the Food Bank tomorrow (Thanks, Erin).

Today’s dropoff at The Haven

One of our volunteers took some harvest to our friends at The Haven today. Thank you, Allyson!

It’s June and here comes Triple C Camp’s Teen Scene!

Last week we were visited by 36 campers aged 12-14 who, as part of their summer experience, visit schools and non-profit locations and provide help with projects. At the community garden these young men and women helped with weeding and planting, keeping the beds in good working order and helping us grow more food for the hungry in our community. It was very hot and thankfully they had brought plenty of water, because many of them worked hard! We had a number of good conversations and laughter all around. Well done, and thanks for coming to the community garden.

Summer 2018

We have had an influx of new volunteers to the garden recently and they’re bringing great energy and enthusiasm to the team. Not that our existing volunteers aren’t passionate, it’s simply that new people bring a certain something special to the place. With all this rain – and all this enthusiasm – the garden is really starting to shape up for summer!

I also want to take note of the iris blooming around the hoop house. This was Ella’s idea, one of many, and it really beautifies the space. Eventually we hope to have plants rimming the entire structure. I’ve also included a picture of the recently planted Jane Austen bed.

We have only a few weeks before Japanese beetle season arrives and I thought that people who garden without insecticides would enjoy this article from the website

PVCC’s Eco Fair April 11th and two job openings

Two job openings have come to our recent attention.

Sharondale Farm, a mushroom farm in Cismont (Keswick) is l looking for more help.

The Inn at Little Washington, in Washington, VA is in search of an Estate Gardener. For more information, contact Lauren Shreve, HR Director at

I would also like to tout PVCC’s upcoming Eco-Fair on Wednesday, April 11th from 11:00 – 1:00. Free and open to the community, guests will include: Virginia Organizing, VSEC, Sierra Club, UVA Sustainability, and the Climate Reality Project. There will be plants, a tree giveaway, education and more. Also on campus at the same time will be the wonderful International Food Festival.

Earth Guardian club advisor Kristy Simpkins was on WINA yesterday talking about it.

Upcoming VA Festival of the Book events

We have been asked by the wonderful VA Festival of the Book to bring awareness to the following items of interest and we’re happy to do so. You can see the full schedule at These events are free and I highly encourage you to check them out!

Cooking Demo with Ken Haedrich
Thu. March 22, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Charlottesville Cooking School
Ken Haedrich (The Harvest Baker) gives a cooking demonstration from his cookbook, celebrating the fresh-picked flavors of fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Charlottesville Cooking School

Cooking Demo with Jamie DeMent
Thu. March 22, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM at the Charlottesville Cooking School
Jamie DeMent (The Farmhouse Chef) gives a cooking demonstration from her cookbook, featuring recipes and stories from her North Carolina farm.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Charlottesville Cooking School

Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future
Thu. March 22, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Letters to a Young Farmer anthology contributors Eliot Coleman, Barbara Damrosch, Karen Washington, and Jill Isenbarger discuss the the highs and lows of farming life—as well as larger questions of how our food is produced and consumed—in vivid and personal detail.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Cooking Demo with Lindsey Smith
Thu. March 22, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM at the Charlottesville Cooking School
Lindsey Smith (Eat Your Feelings) gives a cooking demonstration from her cookbook, featuring recipes to transform emotional eating and improve your mood.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Charlottesville Cooking School

Cooking Demo with Barbara Pleasant
Thu. March 22, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the Charlottesville Cooking School
Barbara Pleasant (Homegrown Pantry) gives a cooking demonstration from her cookbook, featuring recipes inspired by her guide to year-round, garden-based planting and eating.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Charlottesville Cooking School

The Poetics of Food & Farming
Fri. March 23, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM at New Dominion Bookshop
Tess Taylor (Work & Days) and Karen Washington (Letters to a Young Farmer) discuss the intersection of farming and verse, and the connections that may be made through food and writing.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund

Eat Me: Cookbooks for All Tastes and Moods
Fri. March 23, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM at Barnes & Noble Charlottesville
Jamie DeMent (The Farmhouse Chef), Ken Haedrich (The Harvest Baker), Barbara Pleasant (Homegrown Pantry), and Lindsey Smith (Eat Your Feelings) share stories about their time in the kitchen and garden.
Sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund; Hosted by the Charlottesville Cooking School

Upcoming Film opportunity

I would like to let everyone know about the film screening of the documentary Chasing Coral next Thursday, February 22 at 6pm at UVA’s Kardinal Hall.

It will be free and open to the public. More details can be found on the facebook event here: