A Great Time for Family at the 7th Annual Harvest Festival

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 | Comments Off on A Great Time for Family at the 7th Annual Harvest Festival

A Great Time for Family at the 7th Annual Harvest Festival

Rocking music by 101.3, delicious BBQ by the Korner Restaurant, and garden tours lead by students, coalesced with a beautiful evening of friends and family at Buford Middle School. Indeed, the Seventh Annual Harvest Festival, was truly a night to remember. But preparation for the day started off with Ms. Wisbauer’s year long, 8th grade Family and Consumer Science Class (FACS) paving the way for the Veggie Cook-Off Competition.

The Veggie Cook-Off

During the first week of school, students focused their attention on crafting a team identity, researching recipes with this year’s secret ingredient (sweet peppers!), and selecting 4 recipes to prepare and taste in class. Choosing a name for this year’s Veggie Cook-Off team was a truly creative endeavor. With a class full of beautiful girls, and one boy, Ms.Wisbauer’s students went for a name reminiscent of a good ole doo wop singing group, J and the Gr8 Belles.

With ingredients provided by Whole Foods, J and the Gr8 Belles made the recipes and voted for Sweet Pepper Pasta Salad, and Stuffed Sweet Pepper Soup as the 2 recipes they would prepare to compete in the Veggie Cook-Off at Buford during lunch on September 16th.


During the Veggie Cook-Off, each Buford student gets a taste test of both recipes, prepared by J and the Gr8 Belles, and votes for their favorite.  The winning dish, Sweet Pepper Pasta Salad, was then prepared by Whole Foods and served at the Fall Harvest Festival on September 23rd.  Thanks to Ms. Wisbauer, J and the Gr8 Belles, and Whole Foods for donating time, food, and enthusiasm to the Cook-Off!

Buford Pre-Harvest Festival – Community Service

Prior to kicking off the festival, 60 Civics & Economics students, some UVA volunteers, and AVID students put in 2 hours of community service helping set up for the event, clean up the garden, and organize around the school.  They were everywhere, on ladders, moving mulch, hanging banners, weeding, transporting boxes, and setting up tables.  It was an incredible group effort to see.

Fall Harvest Festival – Garden Activities

In addition to the amazing people and food, each year the garden hosts activities to engage youth and their families in Buford’s beautiful growing space.  This year in addition to garden tours and a garden scavenger hunt (see below), students used the bike-powered water pump, hose, water bottles, and sponges to water the garden.  I don’t think the plants have ever been so well-cared for, there wasn’t a dry plant within the garden gates.

In addition to the garden activities, we also had face painting in our ramada, and adding orange and green butternut squash and their vines to the mural, apple cider pressing with Vintage Virginia Appleworks, and AVID’s annual Craft Fair.

Fall Harvest Festival – Support Crew

The Festival wouldn’t be what it is without the energy and enthusiasm from City Schoolyard Garden, Buford Middle School, and the Buford PTO to help organize.  Thanks to the Korner Restaurant for the barbeque, Whole Foods for the J and the Gr8 Belles Sweet Pepper Pasta Salad, Sticks Kebab Shop for the hummus, pita and veggies, Everyday Café for the mac and cheese, Albemarle Baking Company for the dessert, Vintage Virginia Appleworks for the cider, Rick Harden for photographing the event, and Black Bear Composting for mindfully managing our waste.  A big thanks to 101.3 Jamz for donating their time to play music for everyone.  And all our gratitude to the 40+ volunteers that served food, ran activity stations, refilled water, and pitched in where needed throughout the afternoon and evening.

A night for Community

But perhaps, the most valuable part of the Harvest Festival each year is the people it brings together.  We were excited to see the evening bring together parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, friends, teachers, partners, students, city council and school board members, CCS staff, and many others. The Harvest Festival proved to be another successful celebration of the things we value the most about our Charlottesville community. One another.