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. http://www.sharondalefarm.com/

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

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 http://www.vabook.org/. 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: https://www.facebook.com/events/1815324015204819/

Film event – “Hometown Habitat” February 11th

Wildlife habitat isn’t just wide open spaces and dense green forests. Habitat can be created almost anywhere. This free educational event features a screening of Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home, the acclaimed film that shows homeowners, landowners and community leaders how to improve wildlife habitat and revitalize ecosystems right in their own backyards and neighborhoods.

The Hometown Habitat screening event will be held Sunday, February 11, 2018, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, at The Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) in Charlottesville, Virginia. [Snow date is February 18, 2018.] Preregistration is not required, and no reservations or advance tickets will be made. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. All ages are welcome. Doors open at 1:30 p.m., and light refreshments will be available.

Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home is produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman and highlights community landscaping projects that use native plants to support local ecosystems (https://themeadowproject.com). Based on the scientific research of Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of the acclaimed book Bringing Nature Home, the film includes interviews with Tallamy, who describes how native plants in our landscapes are crucial to sustaining insects, birds and other wildlife. Zimmerman will be in Charlottesville for the February 11 event to introduce the film, and selected segments will be shown.

Immediately following the screening will be a panel discussion by a great line-up of local experts, including landscape architect Kennon Williams, Gem Bingol of the Piedmont Environmental Council, and Devin Floyd of the Center for Urban Habitats.

Exhibits by local organizations that promote native plants and habitats will also be available, and free native plants will be given out as door prizes.

This “Hometown Habitat” Screening Event is SPONSORED BY the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Habitat Partners© Program and the Piedmont Virginia Community College Horticulture and Environmental Club.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about this Event and other Native Plant activities in Central Virginia, CONTACT Liz Sidamon-Eristoff, jeffvnps@gmail.com

• DGIF Habitat Partners© http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/habitat

• Virginia Native Plant Society http://www.vnps.org

• PIEDMONT NATIVES – Plant Database http://www.albemarle.org/nativeplants/

• Plant Virginia Natives – Regional Plant Guides http://www.plantvirginianatives.org

• Bringing Nature Home – Native Gardening and Biodiversity (Doug Tallamy) http://www.bringingnaturehome.net


Capturing 2017 Fall

Dear Friends,
This weekend marks the ending of the year and I would just like to take a moment to thank a few of the many people who have volunteered in the garden this fall, for what is the ending of a year if not an opportunity to think about the year past and begin dreaming about the future?
This past Sunday morning, for instance, Ella brought to Steve to the garden. She is always talking with people about the community garden and Steve knows quite a bit about identifying our native plants, even if their winter phase. We walked the garden perimeter and he not only helped name some of those there, but offered to come back later to figure out even more. Not bad at all for a cold, first time visit to the garden!
There are many plants growing in our hoop house, more than any year at this time, and I am very curious to see how they will do over the next ten day span of colder weather. Though we put extra insulation and added a second skin to the hoop house, it may not yet be able to grow plants in all winter long without a heat source, but we are experimenting. Some of our hardier plants like collards, kale, leaks, onions, spinach and some varieties of lettuce should be fine, I think.
Mary Beth has been a stalwart volunteer, often bringing her two daughters along to the garden, and tackling project after project. Chris W. continues to mow, trim, till and tend to many of the garden’s other needs. If something needs doing, often one of these three are the first to volunteer and have been doing so steadily for years.
We also had Hannah and Jennie volunteering through the year, Brian, Thomas, and Henry too. Chris H. led a group of UVA students through Madison House and Phi Sigma Pi was there. Many others too who I don’t want to feel unappreciated, for the community garden is a place for people to come together and we need more growing spaces like this, more community, especially in Charlottesville in the wake of this fall’s events. Growing plants, especially food, is nothing if not an endeavor which requires a goodly measure of faith and optimism.
Best wishes to everyone and thank you for being a part of our shared bit of a dream.

Prepping for spring

Today the garden shone from the rain of the last two days, but it was dry enough to work. The light was great, the sun trying to get from behind the clouds and illuminating the yellow and orange leaves around the garden.
Ben and Logan from Madison House came over for a few hours and we turned over one of the raised beds, shoveling out the path into next year’s growing areas and incorporating some recently donated aged manure, then taking some donated mulch to rebuild the pathway. It looks great and should be a great growing medium for next spring. See for yourself!

A day with Phi Sigma Pi

On Sunday, October 15th four UVA students in the gender inclusive Phi Sigma Pi service fraternity came to volunteer in the garden. We learned all about what happens in the community garden and readied one of the raised beds for spring, weeding, trenching and cover cropping. Meanwhile, Mary Beth and her two daughters, Ella and a new friend from her workplace worked in the hoop house and one of the garden beds, planting seeds, layering mulch, dividing irises, etc. We had a wonderful day. Pictured is the crew from Phi Sigma Pi.

Late summer’s events

Trying to get caught up on events that have been occurring. We were visited by UVA students participating in Project SERVE and played host to teams from UVA and Enterprise during the United Way Day of Caring. UVA’s Madison House has returned to the garden this fall too! Thank you, everyone! The garden is looking very good as the weather begins to turn cool.


This one’s for you! Hope NY is treating you well and you find yourself some soil to grow in. Working in the garden this fine Saturday morning, I watched a blue heron take off and soar. Maybe it was the early heat, but it felt metaphorical.

One Friday, two interns

The weather is getting hotter, but our two interns are still wearing smiles. Here are Izaiah and Zavion on their second Friday, prepping the next bed for fall crop planting.