Celebrating the Harvest Festival 2018!

Posted by on Oct 17, 2018 | Comments Off on Celebrating the Harvest Festival 2018!

Celebrating the Harvest Festival 2018!

written by Shannon Gaffey, Garden Educator for Teens

Fall is one of my favorite seasons: it’s a season of bounty in the gardens, high energy in our schools, and a collective sigh of relief when the heat of summer finally breaks. It’s a season that lends itself towards celebration, and the Fall Harvest Festival at Buford exemplifies all these things in one evening of community fun, food and relaxation. 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, AVID Pre-Festival Community Service, and the Festival itself.

Programming begins the second week of school, as Marcy Wisbauer’s Year-Long Family and Consumer Science (FACS) 8th Graders select recipes, taste test recipes, decide on team names, and prepare food for 500 students for the Veggie Cook-Off Competition.  This year, The WannaB Plums and The Purple Nightshades prepared eggplant fettuccini and vegetarian eggplant “meatballs” for the Buford student body to try. Students voted on the dish they want served at the Festival: eggplant meatballs! The winning dish was then prepared by the generous folks over at Harvest Moon Catering.

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. The frequent, torrential rains this fall made the work repetitive and difficult, but students persevered and insured the garden was a thriving, welcoming space in time for the event.

The day of the Harvest Festival is full of excitement. To harness this energy, AVID and After School PE students all pitched in to help set up for the event, hauling straw bales and tables, setting up signs and assisting vendors. We are especially grateful to the CSG staff and board members and CCS teachers who supervised and helped throughout the event: Margie Gilbert, Jordan Johnson, Shantell Bingham, Megan Donovan, Jeanette Abi-Nader, Candace Saunders, Marcy Wisbauer, Anne Kinsley, Lauralee Watlock, and Matt Resnick.

This year the event expanded to include more community support services who ran kid’s activities and shared important knowledge on their organizations’ impact on our community. Thank you to SARA, PRIDE, UACC, IRC and New Roots Farm for joining in on the fun!

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.


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


The Market at Grelen
Whole Foods
Charlottesville City Schools
The Market at Bellair
Harvest Moon Catering
Albemarle Baking Company
Continental Divide
Snowing in Space
Local Food Hub
T&N Printing
Korner Restaurant
Buford Middle School PTO