As you may (or may not) have heard, Sky and I are part of a group of folks starting up a new collective business here in Charlottesville. Its called C’ville Foodscapes, and the basic service is installing, building, and/or maintaining vegetable gardens in people’s yards. We’ve been working on this project for almost a year now, and are very excited to be on the cusp of launching this winter/spring.
Our website (www.cvillefoodscapes.com) is coming soon. Here’s a snippet: the story of how we began.
When Angel moved in across the street from Patrick in the winter of 2008, the idea of an urban agriculture project was little more than a brief, neighborly conversation out on the front porch. That conversation quickly snowballed; and as they continued chatting about the idea of creating a backyard CSA in the city, they soon found out that some other folks in town had also been scheming. Sam had recently posted a similar idea on the Eat Local list-serve, and Wendy had responded to his post. Soon, Kassia and Sky came onto the scene; fresh from West Coast travels, and they had their own dreams of expansive urban farming.
It wasn’t long before we all found our way back to Angel’s porch on a sunny day in early February. As we shared our visions for the project, a few themes immediately emerged. We were all interested in supporting a sustainable urban food system. We were all concerned with food justice; making healthy, delicious food available to people of all income levels and demographics. We were interested in working collectively, and in creating a viable business model that would provide satisfying work at a reasonable income.
Our early meetings felt almost eerily charmed and magical. Our skill sets and past experiences fit neatly together. In addition to all of our own personal gardens, Angel and Sam had both spent time working on established CSA farms in the area. Sam had also been certified in Permaculture design. Patrick had experience working in urban community gardens and doing community organizing work. Meticulously organized and well-connected in the city, Wendy had previous experience running a small business. While living at the Twin Oaks Community, Kassia and Sky had be able to live and work cooperatively, and gained hands-on farming skills. They had also just spent months traveling in the states and abroad, researching successful models of urban sustainability and urban agriculture projects.
A bit giddy with excitement, our initial visioning was large and expansive. We dreamed of backyard gardens blanketing the town, of an urban CSA run out of people’s yards, neighborhood veggie stands selling produce grown right on the block, and abandoned lots turned into thriving community gardens. We wanted to help transform Charlottesville into a patchwork of thriving edible foodscapes. As we continued meeting regularly, many questions arose and we discussed a myriad of different ways that an urban agriculture project could exist in the city of Charlottesville. With guidance from local organizations and suggestions from friends, we spent many long hours hashing things out in living rooms and on porches over endless cups of tea. Eventually, we honed the project and emerged nearly a year later as C’ville Foodscapes.
Join us for our kick-off party Sunday, March 7th 1-5pm at Random Row books: live music, yummy food, seed swap, veggie fashion show and surprise, Cville Foodscaper/superhero Skit and more!
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (that beautiful chunk of land bordering lake superior that's connected to the mitten via the Mackinaw Bridge), i escaped to the east coast as early as possible. After 6 years of uppity schooling, i spent a year in New York City and a year travelling the States before settling down at Twin Oaks Community, an intentional, income sharing community of 90 people on 450 acres in central virginia. at the same time i joined a nascent klezmer band, the vulgar bulgars and spent the next 3 living the bucolic life of a farming klezmorim.