National Community Gardening Week

Happy National Community Gardening Week! That's right, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack declared August 23-29 to be National Community Gardening Week in an effort to connect Americans with their food source and the land that provides it.

As quoted in the USDA press release, Vilsack states that "Community gardens provide numerous benefits including opportunities for local food production, resource conservation, and neighborhood beautification... But they also promote family and community interaction and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Each of these benefits is something we can and should strive for." Charlottesville is lucky indeed to already be home to a plethora of community gardens:
  • Charlottesville City Parks and Recreation. This department has set aside plots in Azalea Park and Meadowcreek Gardens (see picture) to be used by Charlottesville community members.
  • Garden of Goodness. The Quality Community Council (QCC) founded several urban gardens with the goal of educating and engaging low-income Charlottesville residents.
  • Hope Community Center. This local community center started a garden this summer for its financially distressed clientele, including some of the homeless men that patronize Hope's day shelter.
  • St. Paul's Community Garden. St. Paul's Memorial Church, on the Corner near UVA, also began a garden this summer with the intent of fostering a cooperative relationship between the church members and the low-income neighborhood in which the garden is located.
  • UVA Community Garden. UVA students hopped on the community garden bandwagon last year and secured funding and a site to plant a garden in order to educate the UVA community about the importance of local food.
  • Hereford Urban Mini-Farm. Hereford Residential College has also started its own community garden on Grounds. Hereford residents have been involved in the planning, harvesting, and maintenance of this garden.
I encourage all of you Charlottesville residents to check out one, some, or all of these wonderful community gardens this week and celebrate the food and healthy acreage that really makes a community of those areas' residents.

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