Fall and winter, while a restful time in the fields, are still busy seasons for us at UACC. As the winter rye and crimson clover cover crops grow and rebuild the soil, the perennial flowers gather strength and expand their roots, and the garlic begins to poke its first leaves through the thick hay mulch, we work to ensure that the organization has the resources necessary to begin the next season.
We are so thankful to everyone from the local community and beyond who helped us succeed with our Kickstarter campaign. We look forward to beginning construction on a new passive solar greenhouse and a low-energy walk-in cooler at the beginning of next year.
We are also pleased to announce that UACC has just received a $10,000 grant from the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF)!
2013 was a productive year for us:
- We grew 10,134 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits on just over half an acre of urban land;
- We distributed everything we grew free of charge to an average of 54 people per week during our Market Day events;
- 131 community volunteers of all ages and backgrounds came out to the gardens and put in 519 hours of service;
- An additional 38 volunteers gave 213 hours of their time to make sure our 20 weekly Market Days ran smoothly;
- We mentored another hardworking summer intern in partnership with the Community Attention Youth Internship Program; and
- We hosted school activities and field trips for the entire Kindergarten class at Venable School and the entire Kindergarten and First Grade at Clark, serving a total of 225 students!
2014 will be a pivotal year for UACC and the neighborhoods where we work.
Over the past seven seasons we’ve learned a lot about the land on which we grow food, the people who live in the neighborhoods where we work, and the empowering synergy that comes from uniting the two. Every year the UACC Board, Advisory Council, and staff take a close look at our work to make sure what we do remains respectful and relevant to our neighbors and partners.
In the coming year, in addition to continuing and expanding all of UACC’s ongoing programs, we look forward to hiring a Farm Apprentice from one of the neighborhoods where are gardens are located. We seek to provide a young person, who is just completing high school, a six month opportunity to develop some of the essential skills they’ll need to succeed in future jobs or as they continue their education. The Farm Apprentice will learn what it takes to run a production-scale garden and do so in a safe and mentoring environment while earning a living wage.
UACC is much more than a collection of very productive community gardens. It’s a community of people who have united despite barriers of race, wealth, age, and other less visible but powerful social constraints that too often divide us. As potential re-development approaches the neighborhoods where are our gardens are located, UACC’s role in the community we serve will necessarily evolve. The UACC Board, Advisory Council, and volunteer base is an informed and empowered community of individuals ready to advocate for the health of their neighborhoods. With their support, UACC is uniquely poised to ensure that urban agricultural land and fresh organic produce remain accessible to individuals with limited means living in downtown Charlottesville.
We hope you will continue to follow what we do and consider supporting UACC by volunteering this spring or by making a financial contribution. Thanks again for helping UACC grow and share healthy food and cultivate healthy communities.