New Season, New Challenges

Posted by on Mar 25, 2020 | 0 comments

New Season, New Challenges

Ask any farmer what it takes to produce good food, and they will likely reply with some version of, “Good soil.” Healthy life-giving soil is neither easy nor free. It takes hard work, patience, and often requires overcoming a bit of adversity.

Owing to housing redevelopment, the Urban Agriculture Collective is experiencing some adversity of its own. Our community farm has downsized from well over 40,000 square feet last year, to just 4400 sq. ft. in 2020. The loss of so much farmland has had a big impact on our projected crop production this year. We expect this loss to ripple out to the over 350 families we shared our community-raised food with last year. And yet, with the arrival of Spring, we can’t help but feel excited and energized to return to the garden with all of our wonderful friends and neighbors.

With help from our new Operations Manager, Michael James, we’ve planted Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Red, and Purple potatoes. We’ve also planted hundreds of bulb onions and expect to transplant early greens out to the garden in a few weeks. Michael comes to us from 4P Foods in Charlottesville and previously earned his bones as a farmer working at Heifer International’s Ranch in Arkansas, and locally, at Tricycle Urban Farm in Richmond.

To meet expected demand this year, we’ve reached out to local farmers through our “Harvest a Bushel for the Community” campaign. Simply put, we’re asking our fellow farmers to make a donation, in produce, to help narrow our expected production gap by helping to feed Charlottesville families. If you, or a farmer you know, would like to participate, contact the UACC Farm and Foodroots Program Director, Richard Morris here.

We are living through times that our elder farmers might describe as, “A tough row to hoe,” but know that UACC is committed to continuing our partnership with the Charlottesville community, as we have done, since 2007. Expect to see the same familiar faces in the garden and on Market Days once the season is underway in June. We are looking for new partnerships and new land upon which continue our tradition of, “Working together to grow and share healthy food.”

Overcoming adversity has, and always will be, a normal part of the farming life. But just like good soil and a dedicated farmer, we’ll get through these tough times, yielding a bountiful harvest of goodwill and great food.

We miss seeing our CSG students in the gardens, UACC friends at community markets, and CFJN partners in advocacy. Please know our hearts and minds are with you. We are working to provide coordination for emergency food assistance and to get the gardens robust and ready for your return. In solidarity -Jeanette, Megan, Aleen, Richard, Shantell, Jordan, Shannon, Mackenzie, Sarah, Tami, Yolonda, Leon, Michael, Rick & Peter

Ode From the Garden

It’s quieter now, less traffic, more bees;

more birds in the garden, more buds on the trees.

Our onions are nestled all snug in raised beds,

Along with potatoes like Kennebecs, and Reds.

 

 

Rain falling, birds calling, bugs crawling about,

A gardener keeps gardening when branches branch out.

The sound of Spring rising and cool morning dew,

But there’s one sound we’re missing, and that sound is you.

 

 

Ms Shannon, Ms Sarah, Misters Davis and Harden,

Ms Yolonda, Ms Mackenzie, Farmer Rich in the garden.

Don’t worry, we’ll be here when school starts again,

The CSG Gardeners and all of your friends.

 

 

Please stay in touch with us via facebook and instagram - especially for our exciting launch of Cultivate Charlottesville! You can also donate to support our CFJN emergency food assistance efforts.