City Schoolyard Garden’s mission is to cultivate academic achievement, health, environmental stewardship, and community engagement through garden-based, experiential learning in Charlottesville City Schools. CSG maintains organic educational gardens for use in classroom instruction, after-school programs and summer camps; and assists in developing garden-based curriculum for use in elementary and middle school.
Since it’s creation in the spring of 2010, the garden at Buford Middle School has provided students and faculty with a resource for expanding educational principles, for teaching and mentoring gardening skills, and for nurturing friendships within the embrace of the garden. Gardens at all six Charlottesville elementary schools will come online in Spring 2013.
The Charlottesville community has stepped forward to promote the schoolyard garden in myriad ways. From design assistance and fundraising opportunities, to support from the city farmer’s market and generous donations, the program enjoys tremendous enthusiasm and community support. The success of the program is rooted in vital and diverse partnerships with local businesses, Charlottesville City Schools, and area non-profit organizations. We are fortunate to have strong relationships with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, Whole Foods Market Charlottesville, City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department, Market Central, and the Local Food Hub.
Jeanette Abi-Nader, Executive Director (email@example.com)
Jeanette Abi-Nader is the newest member of the City Schoolyard Garden team joining us this spring as Executive Director. For nearly a dozen years, she worked with the national food justice non-profit, the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC). CFSC co-founded the National Farm to School Network and was instrumental in the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. As CFSC’s Evaluation and Training and Capacity Building Director, Jeanette utilized multiple learning strategies to support the work of hundreds of organizations and funders. She authored numerous publications on strategic evaluation design including Whole Measures for Community Food Systems, Community Food Project Indicators of Success, and Growing Communities Curriculum. Jeanette is the former Board Treasure for the American Community Gardening Association, Vice President of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Board of Directors, and a founding member of the Growing Food and Justice for All initiative (GFJI). GFJI is a national network focused on dismantling racism in the food system. Jeanette is an experienced farmer, having launched the first community supported agriculture project in the state of Louisiana and as Director of Farms for Frontier Natural Products Co-op. She has a Masters of Science in Sustainable Systems/Agroecology and is a certified permaculture designer and instructor.
Linda Winecoff, Program Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Linda stepped into the Program Director’s position after working for over two years to spread the idea of a Charlottesville city schoolyard garden initiative among school staff and administration. She has two children who have attended Charlottesville city schools and she understands the need for experiential learning opportunities from within the system. Linda holds a BA in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University and a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from UVA. She is a practicing landscape architect, registered in the state of Virginia and an avid gardener. Moving into her sixth year on the Charlottesville City School Health Advisory Board, her interests are at the foundation of helping students to achieve an enthusiasm for learning, an awareness of their health and nutrition needs and a sense of stewardship for our planet.
Emily Axelbaum, Garden Educator (email@example.com)
Emily joined the City Schoolyard Garden at Buford Middle School in June 2011 after working for the Student Conservation Association as the RiverSmart Schools In-school Educator in Washington D.C. She holds a degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and after graduating went on to instruct for Outward Bound’s At-Risk Youth Program. She has since completed a program in regenerative design at the Ecosa Institute in Prescott, AZ and an apprenticeship at the Ecovillage Training Center on The Farm in Summertown, TN. Outside of her time in Buford’s garden, Emily is on the teaching team for the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network and explores the woods with kids at The Living Earth School.
Guinevere Higgins, Outreach & Development Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Guinevere has been involved with City Schoolyard Garden since 2009 as a member of the advisory board, board co-chair, chair of the fundraising committee, and now in her current capacity managing CSG’s fundraising efforts and coordinating organizational communications. Guinevere has an extensive background in organic gardening that began at an early age in her family’s large vegetable garden, continued into college where she volunteered on a community farm, and continues to this day with her small-scale edible gardening business, Blue Ridge Backyard Harvest. In addition to an enthusiasm for gardening, Guinevere has also taught ecology and food studies to high school students and managed a small organic farm. For three years she worked in environmental and reproductive health philanthropy for the WestWind Foundation, focusing on support for organizations working on climate change and comprehensive access to reproductive health care. She is driven by the belief that gardens are the most engaging, humbling and rewarding of classrooms. She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Blue Ridge Permaculture Institute, and a Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.
Lisa Drake, Chair
Brooke Ray, Treasurer
Cate Whittington, Secretary