PO Box 5282
Charlottesville, Virginia 22905
|Primary Contact||Jeanette Abi-Nader|
|Executive Director||Jeanette Abi-Nader and Richard Morris, Co-Executive Directors|
|Primary Focus Area||Education|
Cultivate Charlottesville engages youth and community in building an equitable, sustainable food system through garden-based experiential learning, growing and sharing healthy food, amplifying community leaders, and advocating for food justice.
Cultivate Charlottesville aims to empower individuals to create a healthy and equitable food system – personally, in community, and across systems and structures. We do this through an integrated approach from three core programs: City Schoolyard Garden, founded in 2010; Urban Agriculture Collective, which began as the Quality Community Council in 2007; and Food Justice Network, launched in 2015. In 2018 we came together to implement a coordinated approach for amplified impact. At Cultivate Charlottesville, we recognize the role race has played and continues to play in agriculture and education in Charlottesville and the nation. Because we manage garden spaces and work with public school students and community members affected by racial inequities, we commit to building equity in all our work.
|Title:||City Schoolyard Garden|
|Description:||For more than 10 years City Schoolyard Garden has partnered with Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) to connect youth with how their food is grown. We engage over 4,000 CCS students each year with over 35,000 student interactions in the gardens. These interactions enhance academic learning, cultivate healthy living skills, and build leadership skills at all grade levels. This engagement is done in line with our commitment to building racial equity into our work, which you can read about on Our Mission page.|
In addition to working with students and managing nine learning gardens, Cultivate Charlottesville collaborates with Charlottesville City Schools to consistently connect students with fresh healthy food. Visit the buttons below to learn about our program initiatives.
|Examples of Program Success:||We increased access to fresh local foods for public school youth by engaging 2,500 youth in 26,000 garden and nutrition education interactions, implementing two dozen “student choice meals” on the lunch line, distributing 20,000 healthy “Harvest of the Month” fresh snacks, investing in new school kitchen equipment, and hosting a six-week summer paid youth Food Justice Intern program that then extended throughout the academic year. We are especially pleased to have hired a full-time Farm to School Coordinator, Shamera Banks. Ms. Banks is a former Charlottesville City School (CCS) kitchen manager and native of Charlottesville and will be leading our partnership with CCS to transform the school meals program through our 5-year Healthy School Foods Initiative.|
We also increased youth and community members’ voice, choice, and economic opportunities by employing 10 urban Youth Food Justice Interns and 4 adult Community Advocates to manage garden and farm systems thus building confidence, connection, and competence while providing economic opportunities through paid positions that bring together a multi-generational cadre engaged with partners across Charlottesville. 2021’s youth food justice intern cohort was extended beyond the six-week summer program to last the whole year.
|Title:||Urban Agriculture Collective|
|Description:||Cultivate Charlottesville’s Urban Agriculture Collective (UAC) builds food equity by working with public housing residents to grow fresh healthy food. At its height, UAC has grown as much as 17,000 pounds of produce per year, which is shared, at no cost, with hundreds of local families experiencing food insecurity. Recently downsized due to development pressure, UAC is working with residents and partners to identify new land to on which to grow and build food equity in our community.|
|Examples of Program Success:||We maintained community based urban agriculture, distributing 6,539 pounds of fresh local foods to 363 neighbors living in public and subsidized housing via 29 community markets, all despite pressures from redevelopment that have reduced our urban agriculture growing land by 90%. We secured new space and transitioned our farm operations to two additional urban farm sites at CATEC and a garden adjacent to the West Haven public housing neighborhood, both of which will be ready in 2022 to meet demand for community produce. With our Youth Food Justice Interns, we grew and distributed more than 10,000 seedlings and 287 container gardens to our gardens and resident partners. We also began resident engagement in our Land is Liberation campaign, now called the Power to Grow, as we develop a community-led vision and formal plan for publicly supported and protected urban farming space prioritizing food security. |
|Title:||Food Justice Network|
|Description:||Cultivate Charlottesville Food Justice Network builds racial equity in our food system through education, organizing, and advocacy. As a collective, over 35 organizations work in unique and complementary ways to build healthy and just food system in Charlottesville. Our work focuses on the intersection of food equity and healthy school foods, affordable housing, urban agriculture, access and markets, and food pathways transportation.|
|Examples of Program Success:||We increased public, private, and non-profit partners working in unique and complementary ways to build a healthy and just community food system for all Charlottesville residents. We convened 35 organizational and 1,812 community members through policy and practice advocacy and equity training. For example, we coordinated “Uprooting Racism Accountability” circles for 14 organizations and helped 12 city departments in updating their food equity action plans. With support from Urban Agriculture Collective staff and other FJN members, we facilitated the inclusion of 65 food equity additions to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and developed a Food Equity Initiative Policy Platform which thus far has been signed by 284 residents and presented to City Council.|