This time of year our work shifts from growing to building and rebuilding. While the cover crops and earthworms build and rebuild the soil in the gardens, we work to build and rebuild our infrastructure, equipment, and our community relationships.
In late September, Jennifer works in compost and cover crop seed into the field at Friendship Court, and a pile of stone awaits willing hands to help stack the next terrace wall.
This was an incredible year for growing food. Thanks to many willing hands, and one additional pre-Thanksgiving greens harvest, we produced over 17,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits. Everything we grew was distributed free of charge at 24 weekly market days. We served an average of 55 individuals per week at market days this year, for a total of 386 individuals.
A collage of 18 weeks of Market Day baskets.
Many thanks go to Sarah and Zach at Timbercreek Farm for donating compost for the eighth year running, to Jennifer for shoveling tons of the stuff, and to our friends from the Miller School for helping us spread it on the fields.
Jennifer shovels yet another trailer load out at Timbercreek, and the Miller School volunteers apply it to the 6th Street field.
The Miller School crew were also among the many volunteers who helped us prepare the new community orchard site at Friendship Court this year. Thanks go to UVa Intramural Recreation staff who came out for the United Way Day of Caring in September, and volunteers from Mountain Top Montessori who helped out in November.
Miller School volunteers dig an upper wall footer trench and UVa Intramural Recreation staff level off the first terrace.
All told, 107 people contributed 546 hours of volunteer service this year. Project partners from C’ville Foodscapes and internationally-renowned master stonemason Elizabeth Nisos also put in many hours to help us build the dry stack stone walls for the new orchard. Elizabeth shared her expertise and also donated much of the local stone used to build the walls. Here’s what she had to say when we asked her why the project was valuable to her:
“It has been an honor to work throughout this summer 2015 with Todd, with UACC, and with each of the volunteers of all ages, building the stone terrace walls for future plantings, and sharing the sacred rules of stone masonry, while witnessing the garden’s full abundance for the community, week by week. May this garden be a solid footprint for continued development, providing bountiful gifts to our community members, and bringing us all together, creating something amazing.”
Sarah from C’ville Foodscapes and Elizabeth put the finishing touches on the first wall, while young volunteers from Friendship Court shovel gravel for backfilling the next wall.
Phase 2 of the Friendship Court community orchard, well on its way from concept to reality.
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bush cherries, gooseberries, and honeyberries tucked in for the winter, awaiting spring planting.
UACC is grateful to all who came out to help in the garden and at market, to the generous landowners who gave us space to grow, and to the many financial supporters who helped make 2015 one of our most productive and engaging yet. We depend on local contributors to keep growing and sharing healthy food and cultivating healthy communities. You can make an end-of-year donation to support our work by clicking HERE. Thanks!
A wintery December sky above the Friendship Court field. The gardens rest while we gear up for another round of building stone walls and community.