The Fall Harvest Festival at Buford is much more than just an evening event

Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 | Comments Off on The Fall Harvest Festival at Buford is much more than just an evening event

The Fall Harvest Festival at Buford is much more than just an evening event

The Fall Harvest Festival is one of my favorite times of the year.  It is the start of autumn with cooler nights and colorful days as the leaves get ready to fall.  It’s also the start of the school year, which brings the excited and anxious energy of students and teachers alike out to relax and explore the garden.  While the Festival takes place all in one evening, it is actually a month-long program that includes the Family and Consumer Science (FACS) Veggie Cook-Off Competition, PE, ESOL and Garden Aide garden preparation, planting and repairs, 8th Grade Civics and AVID Pre-Festival Community Service, and the Festival itself.

It begins the first week of school, as Marcy Wisbauer’s Year-Long Family and Consumer Science (FACS) 8th Graders select recipes, taste test recipes, decide on a name, and prepare food for 500 students for the Veggie Cook-Off Competition.  This year, the Broccoli Wanna B’s made Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and Cauliflour Pizza for the Buford student body to try.  The winning Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese was then prepared by Whole Foods Market and served at the Festival.


While the FACS class is hard at work cooking, the PE, ESOL and Garden Aide classes are busy planting and preparing the fall garden and getting ready for the over 500 Charlottesville students, families, and community members that come to the Festival each year. A special thanks to Kyle Rodland from Charlottesville’s Safe Routes to School Program for his last minute maintenance of our bike powered water pump.  You can learn more about their program by clicking here to visit their website!


The day of the Harvest Festival is full of excitement. To harness that energy, set up the school for the event, support students in staying for the Festival and meeting their Civics class requirement, City Schoolyard Garden staff and Buford teachers engage over 60 youth in two hours of community service all around the middle school.  This year, students made 60 garden signs for our elementary school gardens, shoveled, raked and mulched the nature trail through the woods beyond the playing field, moved tables, laid out table cloths, hung banners and signage, sidewalk chalked and cleaned up the campus, filled coolers with ice and water, sorted a huge box of donated seeds by variety and type, and helped take care of every other conceivable detail required for such an event.  We are especially grateful to our CSG staff and interns and CCS teachers who supervised, including: Jordan Johnson, Mary Anderson, Joshua Rene, Allie Arnold, Sarah Johnson, Gail Heard, Michele Bambury, Lauralee Watlock, James Daly, Sean McDonald, Dustin Jones, and Veronica Jones.



Eventually the music starts (HUGE shout out to 101.3JAMZ for DJing the event), and the rest you can see for yourself in the photos below, it really is a magical night.


As the sky darkens, it’s time for the goats and children to head home.  A special thanks to all of our clean-up volunteers, and to those who stayed to face paint our last guests well after dark!


This program wouldn’t be possible without support from our sponsors shown below.  Thank you for helping us gather as a community and celebrate this season!

~ Emily