Digging swales

Preparing a hillside for an orchard is hard work, but it was made much easier thanks to the many helpers who came out this past Saturday. We made great headway on the upper swales, and even got one filled with good woodsy debris and covered with mulch by the end of the day. We’ll be out there again on Wednesday, 10/29, from 3pm to 6pm. Come join us!

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Jennifer and Simon get started on the first swale while Aniyah and Amy pound in posts to mark the spots where the trees will go.

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Cassidy gets the second swale going while Jennifer and Simon add woodsy debris to the finished first one.

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Over the course of the day, fifteen volunteers came out to help.

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Jennifer uses the A-frame level to check the slope of the second swale.

Amy and Caiden soak the cardboard sheet mulch with stored rain water.

Amy and Caiden soak the cardboard sheet mulch with stored rain water.

Simon spreads a thick layer of wood chips below the first swale.

Amy and Simon spread a thick layer of wood chips below the first swale.

Sharing the Harvest

Time flies. It’s hard to believe it’s almost been three weeks since our open house and harvest meal. We had a great evening sharing some wonderful soups made with ingredients grown in the UACC gardens. Thanks go to A Pimento Catering, feast!, and UVa Nutrition Services for preparing the soups, to Albemarle Baking Company for the bread, and to A’Lelia for staying up until 3am (!) baking 10 (!!) homemade sweet potato pies for desert.  Here are a few photos.

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The greenhouse frame made a great little serving pagoda. Mo strings the final while lights in the corner.

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Kate not only offered the services of feast! chef Megan Kiernan to prepare an amazing soup, but she came to help serve and coordinated the bread donation from Albemarle Baking Company. Thanks, Kate!

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The Banks family was well represented, thanks to Demetrius rounding up the crew. They even stopped over at community bikes to fix their rides and get new helmets.

Thank you A'Lelia! The pies were amazing!

Thank you A’Lelia! The pies were amazing!

Lena offered some impromptu musical entertainment. Thanks, Lena!

Lena offered some impromptu musical entertainment. Thanks, Lena!

Which soup to try first?

Which soup to try first?

UACC Harvest meal L.W & Barbara

LW and Barbara enjoy the perfect weather.

Seconds.

Seconds.

 Come one, come all!

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In case you’re not familiar with the garage that UACC shares with Community Bikes at 405 Avon, here’s a map:

405 Avon Map

A Lifetime of Caring

Wednesday, September 17, was the United Way Day of Caring, during which volunteers from local businesses took time out of their busy workdays to help organizations all around Charlottesville accomplish great things. We’ll talk more about the day of caring below, but first UACC would like to celebrate the many years of caring service contributed to our community by Ms. Evelyn Barbour. Evelyn passed away on Monday, September 8. She had been a supporter of UACC since the days of QCC Farms, diligently helping us at almost every Friday Market Day for the past four years. Her service to UACC was only one of the countless ways in which she served our community. From her work with the African American Geneology Group to her years as a dedicated member of the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church, Evelyn treated every day as a day of caring. We will miss her dearly.

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Ms. Evelyn Barbour and Ms. Beatrice Clark volunteering at Market Day.

The volunteers from BB&T certainly honored Evelyn with their service on Wednesday. We started the morning at the 405 Avon garage, planting the medians that UACC adopted from the City with native flowering perennials. After that, we moved down to Friendship Court to rough in the edges of the new orchard that we’ll plant this fall and to start the annual sweet potato harvest. BB&T volunteers not only helped us start the seeds of the native plants back in the early spring, they also helped measure the orchard space in June. On top of that, through the BB&T Lighthouse Project, they financed the purchase of the seeds for the native plants, the first 17 fruit trees, and signs for each of the gardens! Thank you BB&T!

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Adrian, Betsy, Brian, Stephen, and Troy go native in the medians in front of UACC headquarters at 405 Avon!

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Adrian, Brian, Jennifer, Stephanie, Stephen, Troy, and Yvonne break ground on the future orchard at Friendship Court.

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Stephanie and Yvonne heft one of many giant sweet potatoes. Ariana joined Jennifer and and Stephanie to kick off our Wednesday Community Gardening Day.

Following the Day of Caring, we held our regular Community Gardening Day, and kept the sweet potato harvest rolling along. At least twenty folks stopped in to help throughout the evening. The harvest is looking really good this year, with an exceptional number of very large sweet potatoes!

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Lots of big sweet potatoes and lots of collective energy!

Over the past two weeks, Community Gardening Day volunteers helped us plant lots of fall chard, collards, and lettuce in our permanent raised beds at Friendship Court. The plants are thriving, even without irrigation, and despite having only one little rain shower since we planted them. The permanent beds are definitely proving their worth, as demonstrated by the amazing peppers we’ve been getting from the plants that the Girl Scouts helped us put in this spring. The plants are still going strong without a drop of irrigation the whole season!

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This Saturday, UACC will be tabling the C-ville Go Green fest at Snow’s Garden Center from 10am to 2pm. This is a family-oriented event held to educate the public on ways to save energy, live healthy lives, and reduce our impact on the earth. For more information, you can visit the event website by clicking here. UACC Advisory Council Members and long-time volunteers  Bashta Abdul and Dave Redding represented UACC on the Snows Knows radio show to help promote the event and to spread the word about UACC. Check out what they had to say by streaming the podcast here. You can zoom forward to the 20 minute mark to hear Dave and Bashta. This was Bashta’s first time on the radio, but she sounded like a seasoned professional. Thanks Bashta and Dave!

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Bashta at the 2013 Go Green Fest promoting the raffle for Mo’s stunning handmade quilt.

Speaking of a lifetime of caring, let’s close with a special shout out to Mo. Where would UACC be without all of Mo’s tireless behind-the-scenes, as well as center stage efforts? If anyone can match Ms. Evelyn’s dedication to community, it’s Mo. She is the kind of person who will not only volunteer for the entire Day of Caring and stay for the Community Gardening Day, but also bring homemade muffins and ice cold water to keep the rest of us well fed and hydrated. Thanks a million, Mo. You do more good things for more people than most anyone will ever know!

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Parting shot: Mo and Ariana in a well-executed selfie.

 

Natural Partners

Our friends at City Schoolyard Garden recently posted a really nice blog entry about our collaborative efforts. Check it out by clicking here.

We’re still doing volunteer work in the gardens each Wednesday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm. If you haven’t had a chance to come out this year, there’s still time! For more details on volunteering visit our volunteer page. Below are a few shots of some of our recent volunteers to get you inspired!

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Volunteers from Young Men with Great Minds helped us dig the last potatoes.

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Long-time volunteers Shirley and Linda spent hours washing potatoes in the field.

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Kenneth, trip to the ER after a bicycle accident notwithstanding (the morning of the same day!), still managed to deliver 15 bags of food to Crescent Halls residents during our final market day!

See you out there!