What’s Going On at CHS

Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 | Comments Off on What’s Going On at CHS

By Peter Davis, CHS Garden Coordinator

This has been an incredible school year in the Charlottesville High School garden!  The Urban Farming class is now in its second year and students are really stepping up their involvement and leadership and are taking over all aspects of our ever-growing farm.  

Thanks to a generous donation earlier in the Fall, students were able to upgrade our season-extending caterpillar tunnel into a more stable greenhouse where we have been able to harvest radishes and greens all year long.  This will also be a tremendous asset to us as we begin early spring planting in the coming weeks!

Students also designed and built a post-harvest production station that is going to allow us to wash, dry, and pack our produce.  This step has always been a bottleneck in our production and we cannot wait to put it into full use in the coming months as our early spring production picks up!  The station consists of a washing table, greens bubbler, and a salad spinner built out of an up-cycled washing machine built by our very own engineering students.

One of the students’ favorite activities both during the school day and during the after school Garden Crew is caring for the chickens!  Our flock is coming out of the mid-winter laying slump and is starting to produce nearly 50 eggs per week. As you can imagine, collecting eggs and taking them home to their families is the most popular task.  However, rounding up the chickens after letting them free range is also a favorite task and is honestly one of the best team-building exercises you could ever imagine. We hope to rebuild and expand our moveable run for the coop this spring and possibly add to the flock in the coming months so we can get even more fresh eggs!

Earlier in the Fall, we had the pleasure of hosting Karen Washington from Rise and Root Farm in New York for an extended morning workshop discussing issues of food justice.  This was an amazing jump start to a deeper look into how our students can be involved in working towards food equity in both in our school community and in the larger Charlottesville community.  Engaging our youth in this work is vital to making a real change and we are greatly encouraged at the progress that has happened so far and look forward to see what emerges in the coming months as we press on!

Looking ahead, we are thrilled to be partnering again with the City Schoolyard Garden program at Buford this year in order to help start thousands of seedlings to distribute to gardens and farms all over the city.  This year, CHS has adopted the gardens at Greenbrier and Burnley Moran Elementary Schools and will be starting all of the seedlings for their gardens as well as seedlings for our own growing. Many of the seedlings we grow here at CHS also find homes in the gardens of our students, teachers, counselors, custodians and administrators.  This is a busy time of year, for sure, but it’s what we live for!

If you are on Instagram, I would encourage you to follow us @csg_chs.  In recent weeks, my Urban Farming students have been taking turns taking over the account and sharing some behind the scenes looks at what’s happening in the garden.  I’ve loved seeing what we do from their perspectives and I think you’ll enjoy it too!