Quick Bites

Tanya Denckla Cobb on the Local Food Movement

March 11, 2015

by: Paul Freedman
The Food Collaborative's Tanya Denckla Cobb shared stories from her new book, “Reclaiming Our Food,” at CitySpace on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, as part of the Greater Virginia Green Building Council’s luncheon series. Read more: How the grassroots local food movement is changing what we eat

City Schoolyard Garden: Dig Into Spring!

March 3, 2015

by: Paul Freedman
City Schoolyard Garden and our partners PB&J Fund and Harvest Moon Catering invite you to join us for a special dinner and fundraiser on Friday, March 20. We are celebrating the Spring Equinox with a delicious four-course meal created by the chefs at Harvest Moon, featuring produce harvested right from CSG’s gardens.

Please visit the Dig into Spring site for more details and to purchase tickets. And please help to publicize this special event!

Your support of this premier evening will fund our Garden to Table Summer Camp. This camp, offered to youth from Charlottesville City Parks & Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club, engages youth in the CSG garden at Buford where they dig into and harvest crops. The camp then travels to the PB&J kitchen and learns how to prepare the crops they just harvested into a delicious meal for their families. Young people are able to experience the whole cycle - from garden to table!

There will be some wonderful raffle prizes like a catered dinner for eight and three-installment subscription to Josef Beery's wonderful woodcut series Flora Appalachee. Raffle tickets will be just $10 and available at the event.

Food Film Forum Screening Prompts Local Action Against Pesticides

February 3, 2015

by: Emily Sydnor
Last April, the Food Collaborative, in partnership with the Sierra Club, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, and Whole Foods, hosted a screening of the film "A Chemical Reaction." Concerned by the information conveyed in the film and in the following panel, a group of Charlottesville residents has taken action to reduce pesticide use in our community. See the "Daily Progress" story in our "Resources" section or at the link below for a look at their efforts!


"Living in a Food Desert" Documentary Premiere

January 30, 2015

by: Emily Sydnor
The College of Agriculture at Virginia State University is excited to invite you to attend the premier of Living in a Food Desert at the Richmond International Film Festival.

The premier will be held at 5:00 p.m. on March 1, 2015, at the historic Byrd Theatre. Immediately following the premier, patrons and community partners invite you to participate in a lively panel discussion to be hosted by Daphne Maxwell Reid, renowned actress and co-founder and principal partner of New Millennium Studios.

Project History: In 2013, as a result of Delegate Delores McQuinn’s unwavering passion and commitment to citizens who live in food desert areas, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates commissioned the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and the dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University to conduct a study of food deserts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The deans led a broad-based Task Force that conducted the study and presented their findings to the Speaker of the House of Delegates in 2014. In 2014, Virginia State University created a documentary to bring additional focus and light upon this important topic and begin discussion on ways to address the issue of food deserts. We are honored and delighted to premier this important documentary during the 2015 Richmond International Film Festival.

You can watch the trailer for the movie at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYJPmjt-D8g&list=UUdlGDR6Ctraka1dFaCXJgJw

You can purchase tickets to the festival and to the individual films at http://rvafilmfestival.com/.

Strengthening Connections with the City Schoolyard Garden

January 21, 2015

by: Emily Sydnor
Several current and former UVA Food Collaborative members will be working closely with the City Schoolyard Garden this Spring in cultivating youth interest in gardening and sustainable, healthy living.

Former Steering Committee member Samantha Taggart (CLAS '14) will be working with the City Schoolyard Garden as part of a fellowship with the Allegheny Mountain School, a program designed to facilitate the growth of a more sustainable and just food system by placing its fellows in non-profit organizations around Virginia. While at CSG, Taggart will focus on the role of the garden in developing young citizens' understandings of the environment, responsibility and health.

In addition, current Steering Committee member Paul Freedman (Associate Professor, Dept. of Politics) has joined the board of the City Schoolyard Garden.

We look forward to using these new connections for collaboration and conversation over the coming year!

My First Foreign Fast Food Experience

December 10, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
by Sam Taggart (CLAS '14)
December 1st, 2014

This morning I went to a McDonalds McCafé To-Go at a bus terminal in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was such a reminder of how Fast Food can totally degrade the way we eat and the way we treat others. I have to say, although the food purchase went against every bone in my morally conscious body, I wanted to try a foreign McDonald's more out of curiosity than anything else.
I should have known better.

The whole experience was stressful, disappointing, and frankly a bit depressing. And, of course, fast.

Everyone in line around me was cranky. I realized I was standing about two feet from the actual line to buy food (I was in the pick-up line) and when I told the lady standing right next to me what had happened, she motioned me with a scowl to the back of the line. Of course - when we expect "fast food," we don't have time for the typical, polite courtesies of ser humanos, human beings. We don't even have time to sit down, take a breath, and eat the food we have just purchased. Or, if we do, we eat it with a newspaper, magazine, smartphone, or some other kind of distraction mechanism in hand.

When I got to the counter, things got worse. This poor guy manning the drink orders was running around, stressed, trying to go as fast as he could to satisfy the customers' desire for rapid fire service. Another girl was "painting" the medialunas (a kind of pastry) with some sort of sweet, sugary spread at lightening speed.

After I ordered, it seemed that something was amiss. One part of this factory's machine was running a little slow. As I waited patiently for my "pan del campo," a sort of English Muffin type of bread, customers around me got more antsy. They started to scowl at the workers behind the counter.
Fast Food leaves no time for empathy or understanding.

In all the rush, the queso and marmelada was left out of the bag of food. When I went back to ask for it, the same guy serving the drinks gave me a tense look, a mixture of anxiety, fear, and frustration in his eyes.

This is what the fast food industry fosters: anxiety, fear, and frustration...for the animals who are raised to make the food, the workers who are no doubt underpaid and mistreated to grow, harvest, and process the food, the restaurant workers who serve the food, and the clientele who eats the food.

Out of beautiful, compassionate and humble human beings, fast food transforms us into unfeeling, consumptive robots, or worse, bad-tempered, impatient, and anxious versions of ourselves. You are what you eat has never been demonstrated so clearly to me.

My trip around South America for the past month has been so wonderful and so full of beautiful, divinely empathetic people. Traveling has reminded me of our shared humanity and of the beauty of communication through various languages. I have been floored by the overwhelming warmth and generosity of fellow travelers and of the Latin American friends who I have visited. Particularly when it comes to sharing food, I have been met with an attitude of "what's mine is yours."

That is why my experience this morning carried with it a special potency. Experiencing fast food in a different country reminded me how much the U.S. continues to export its harmful practices to other nations around the world. Whether it's our chemically intensive and ecologically fatal methods of cultivating land, our inhumane industrial ways of raising animals for food, or our ignorant and unsustainable consumption practices, the symptoms of the U.S.'s broken conventional food system seem to spread like a cancer around the world.

Many people I have met traveling around Argentina have told me that feedlots are on the rise in Argentina. As it is, when I was traveling around the north of Argentina by bus, it was impossible to miss the hectares and hectares of "soja," or soy, being grown here. Since the early 1990s it seems that many of Argentina's traditional cattle ranchers, the country's famous "gauchos," have switched over from cattle ranching to growing monocultures of soy, grain, or corn.

When we become ignorant of or unfeeling towards the ways in which our food reaches our plates, or, as was the case for me this morning, our to-go bags, we miss out on the very stuff that makes life complete and helps shape our view of ourselves in the world.

The sacrifices, hard work, and generosity that go into feeding the human population should instill in each and every one of us a sense of humility and interdependence. Instead, in the rush of making the sacred act of eating as efficient and rapid as possible, the fast food culture breeds selfishness and numbness towards those who make it possible for us to eat.

My experience this morning reminded me of what the greater alternative food movement that we're a part of is trying to accomplish - trying to help people understand the meaning and importance of food and community. Trying to help others find out for themselves how much food contributes to health and well-being and, as I experienced this morning, how dull and anxiety-ridden our lives become when we forget about or undervalue the food we put into our mouths.

Today my thoughts are with the countless friends, family members, and strangers that I have shared such meaningful, slow meals with. Today I think of how fulfilling it is to plant, nurture, harvest, prepare, and share food together.

Food is the stuff of life. It is what sustains poets, scholars, doctors, and lovers alike. Let us give it the time and attention that it deserves.

Fresh! screening Wednesday, November 12

November 10, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
Join the students and faculty of UVA's food-related COLA courses for a screening of the film "Fresh!" on Wednesday, November 12.

The screening will take place in the Runk Dining Hall Green Room. Snacks will be served at 6 pm, the film will start at 6:30.

Virginia Receives Nearly $1.2 Million in Funding to Strengthen Local Food Economies

October 8, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
Eighteen local and regional projects are expected to receive nearly $1.2 million in USDA funding to support local agriculture economies and access to healthy foods, according to an announcement by Governor McAuliffe's office on September 29.

The funding was authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill and Virginia received funding for three programs aimed at recruiting and training farmers, expanding economic opportunities and increasing healthy foods.

“The awards announced today will not only help to achieve my goal of building a new Virginia economy through supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs, it will also strengthen Virginia’s largest industry, agriculture, and help bring Virginia’s fresh produce to market,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe in the press release. “By collaborating with our private and public sector partners like the USDA, these programs are smart, targeted investments needed to position our economy for new opportunities, especially in agriculture and forestry.”

According to the press release, the following is the distribution of resources across the funded projects:
"Virginia received a total of $1,178,409 from three programs to fund 18 projects across the state. Seven projects developing, expanding, and providing training and technical assistance to direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities received $623,923 in funding from the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Eight projects received at total of $353,064 from the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) which focuses on processing, distributing, or storing locally or regionally produced food products. Finally, $201,422 from the Federal State Market Improvement Program was awarded to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to assist three projects in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system."

Congratulations to UVA Dining for Achieving Marine Stewardship Council Certification!

September 16, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
The University of Virginia and James Madison University recently became the first Aramark properties in the United States to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC Chain of Custody certification will allow U.Va. Dining to provide certified sustainable wild-caught seafood in three residential dining locations (Newcomb Hall’s Fresh Food Company, Runk, and O’Hill). The certification ensures that the seafood is never mixed or substituted with non-certified seafood at every step of the supply chain. Be on the lookout for dishes including cod, flounder, and pollock this fall, and you can be sure that it is a sustainable dining choice!

From: http://www.virginia.edu/sustainability/u-va-dining-achieves-marine-stewardship-council-certification/

Temple Hill Farm Seeking Veteran-Farmer

August 6, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
Seeking a Veteran-Farmer to establish farm business on 41 acres in central Virginia, west of Charlottesville. Applicant shall have recent military experience
with an honorable discharge, be drug-free and have a comfort level with small-scale farming.

Owner will consider options for farm production from vegetables to small-scale livestock, farmed organically or as close to natural as possible. Ideas for alternate enterprises are also welcome: native plant production, beekeeping, medicinal and culinary herbs, mushroom cultivation and/or farmed flowers.

Owner will provide free use of the land or minimum-fee lease arrangement. This is not a farm management offer, rather an opportunity for a young farmer/farm couple to build a business on this land and be willing to settle in the Charlottesville area. Owner is seeking a recent military veteran, but will consider serious offer from others, who may be willing to provide agricultural training for veteran interns at some future date.

Only individuals with experience in farm business and/or farm management will be considered. Candidates should be willing to start-up a farm business, provide
a business plan and source labor for creating farm on the land that shall be leased. Must be enthusiastic and demonstrate willingness to work hard. Farmer
shall provide own housing, machinery, farm tools, and animals. Owner is open to negotiations on building construction as needed for barn, packing and storage
shed, high tunnels and washing station.

An initial two-year lease will be offered with an option to renew for long-term lease agreement. The fine points of lease agreement shall be negotiated between select candidate and owner, including option to live on the land.

Please send cover letter, resume and 2 references (name, phone, and email) to:
Laura Farrell, templehill1790@gmail.com.

Inquiries received until September 15, 2014.

Film Screening: A Chemical Reaction

May 7, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
By Lynda Fanning

The UVa Food Collaborative’s final film screening of the year was April 24, and we showed A Chemical Reaction, directed by Paul Tukey. The film focuses primarily on the chemical pesticides and herbicides Americans lavish on their lawns, but points out that the same compounds are also used on food crops and gardens.

Beyond corporate control of government policy, the film is also about the power of one persistent advocate who speaks out and ultimately changes community policies in Canada.
The film covers the effects of these products on children, pets, adults, and neighbors (as “second-hand pesticides”), not to mention soil and waterways, all in the interest of a weed-free lawn or garden.

Enjoy an interview with the director by following this link:

THURSDAY MAY 1--UVA Food Collaborative Student Research Symposium!

April 28, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
Please join us for the UVA Food Collaborative Student Research Symposium!

Hear presentations from students on the moral ecology of food, eating identity and behavior, community food systems, and the black soldier fly, among other food-related research!

Thursday, May 1, 3:30PM, OpenGrounds.
Refreshments provided.

Food Collaborative takes a "Dive!" Into the Debate on Food Waste

April 8, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
Written by Lynda Fanning

The UVA Food Collaborative hosted its 5th film screening of the academic year on April 1, showing DIVE!, written and directed by Jeffrey Seifert. The documentary examines the high food waste in this country, which is especially disturbing given the prevalence of hunger and the effect of food waste in landfills on the environment and climate change. The film did not dwell on food wasted by schools, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, hospitals, etc., and only slightly treated the wasted food of individual households; rather it focused on foods wasted by food stores/chains whose products reach the sell by date. Starting with dumpster divers and exploring corporate and nonprofit avenues from there, the movie explored when and how stores donated to various charities or simply tossed the “expired” food in the dumpster.

The panel of experts was moderated by Tanya Denckla Cobb, Assistant Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, and included: Chris Stephens, Sustainability Director for UVA Dining Services, Eric Walter, Black Bear Composting, and Mike Waldmann, Society of St. Andrews. Chris and Eric have partnered to salvage any compostable food products to save them from the landfill and to contribute to feeding the soil via compost. Mike explained the great work of gleaning programs developed by his organization, salvaging food crops that may not be sellable but are still good and can provide significant hunger relief via food banks, etc.

As for Charlottesville stores, most now have greatly improved their ability to donate before resorting to the dumpster. The Good Samaritan law protects them from liability and even though the “sell by” or “best before” date has arrived, the products are safe and are often frozen before being passed on. Some stores are on a schedule with various charities arriving weekly to pick up such products at set times. Some will name the specific charities they work with; sometimes, however, it is inconsistently successful (“sometimes donated; sometimes tossed” or “depends on the department”). So in spite of great improvement since 2009 when the film was made and dumpsters were regularly filled with excellent food, there is still much to do to raise awareness among consumers re their own practices, and their ability to influence the stores where they shop. All panelists had plenty of good ideas for actions we may all take, the role of policy, and simply asking your store managers what their practices are for decreasing food waste, letting them know clearly that this is important for you as the consumer and your continued patronage.

Orthodoxy vs. Heresy and Innovation: Joel Salatin and the Story of Polyface Farm

March 11, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
On Wednesday, March 19th at 4 pm, the Virginia Animal Law Society and Virginia Environmental Law Journal will welcome Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm, prolific writer and memorable speaker. His talk will describe how he has learned to overcome the cultural orthodoxy surrounding commercial farming and successfully pursue innovation by starting an environmentally sustainable, "beyond-organic" farm that promotes the human treatment of animals. Polyface Farm products are sold to 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets.

Event details:
Wednesday, March 19 at 4pm
Purcell Reading Room

Food Desert Report Submitted to VA General Assembly

February 7, 2014

by: Emily Sydnor
From the Executive Summary:
The purpose of the Virginia Food Desert Study Report is to determine the current statusof food deserts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The report identifies challenges,
consequences, strategies, and resources to address food deserts and offers recommendations for the Virginia General Assembly’s consideration and action.

For the purpose of the study, the Task Force accepted a
version of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of a
food desert as “an area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominately lower-income neighborhoods and communities” (110th Congress 2008). Specifically, a food desert is defined as an area where populations live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store if in an urban area or more than 10 miles from a supermarket or large grocery store if in a rural area (Ver Ploeg et al. 2012).

The major findings indicate that Virginia is better
off than other states in terms of low (inadequate)
food access; however, data revealed that there
are food deserts and/or pockets of low access to
differing degrees in all cities and counties across
the state of Virginia, including rural and urban

A review of existing data suggests a strong
relationship between food deserts and food
insecurity. The review also suggests a strong
relationship between poverty and food deserts. Of
all the factors reviewed by the Task Force related to
food deserts, the relationship between food deserts
and poverty is strongest for the commonwealth as
a whole, as well as for the individual localities, with
the exception of Harrisonburg and Wise County.

The Food Desert Study may be found online at the following sites:

· VCE website in the publications database - http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/VCE/VCE-294/VCE-294.html

· VSU Website - http://www.agriculture.vsu.edu/special-programs/food-desert-study.php

Join the UVA Food Collaborative at the Virginia Film Festival Friday and Sunday as we co-sponsor two important food films:

November 5, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
Pride and Joy
Friday, November 8, 6:15 pm
Culbreth Theater

Pride and Joy documents the intersection of food culture, tradition and history in the American South. Through the stories of people and places—from the Alabama shrimper to the Georgia cattleman—the film explores the importance of food to Southern identity. How and why do traditional foodways endure? As the South’s ethnic and racial makeup shifts, how do regional foodways change?
The film will be followed by a panel discussion with film director Joe York,  Leni Sorensen, (culinary and cultural historian) Jamie Ross (Agee films), Judy Mickelson (local historian), Travis Milton (chef, Comfort Restaurant) and Christine Gyovai (UVA).

More Than Honey
Sunday, November 10, 7pm
Newcomb Theater

Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. This film explores the causes and consequences of the outbreak, known as colony collapse disorder, and explains why the continued survival of the honey bee is essential to human survival. Professor Manuel Lerdau of the Department of Environmental Science will lead a discussion following the film.

Celebrate Food Day with a screening of Food Stamped at the Haven!

October 16, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
by Lynda Fanning

Food Stamped is the first of the UVA Food Collaborative’s 2013-2014 film series; it is co-sponsored with Market Central, the non-profit serving the City Market and its vendors and customers, and with Whole Foods, who will serve a meal commensurate with the roughly $1.50 per meal dictated by current “food stamp” benefits. Prepare to be “satisfied” rather than “full.” We are also partnering with The Haven.

Although the film is from 2011, it can hardly be more timely given our political landscape of cuts and more cuts: by the US House: a proposed 39 billion over 10 years in SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (what used to be called “food stamps”). Funding this program, the main title in the $mega-billion Farm Bill, comes at an intersection between increasing poverty levels, economic woes, and the related obesity epidemic. Add to this how very effective SNAP benefits are for the overall economy.

While politics is polarized on this issue some voters are misinformed about the program, thinking of it as another giveaway to folks who choose a handout over getting a job. In fact 83% of households on SNAP contain children, the elderly or the disabled, where working may be impossible. Temporary loss of a job leads to applying for SNAP as a godsend, an average of only 10 months. Many recipients are working, and the majority are not on welfare.

The good news: benefits have been shown to lower risk of overweight and obesity (even without restricting junk foods and sodas), to increased food quality, to a (cost-saving) increase in health. When there is a temporary boost in benefit amounts (happened in 2011), all these parameters improved even more. While 7 in 10 voters polled are against cutting SNAP benefits, they seem not to affect the stance of many elected officials.

Meanwhile Market Central has championed the cause of making the healthiest possible fresh, locally-grown foods available to SNAP recipients at the City Market via providing the machine and manpower to accept EBT cards Electronic Balance Transfer—like a debit card) in exchange for tokens to spend at the market. Even better, Market Central through a Wholesome Wave grant is able to give $2 in tokens for each $1.00 used from the EBT card balance, up to $10.00. In effect a recipient is “given” $10.00 extra for shopping at the produce-laden Market instead of in conventional stores.

One of the main points in the film is whether a person can eat healthy on this “diet” or restricted $ amount. While the program is designed to be “supplemental” rather than the total food budget, in many cases the supplement may be all there is to work with. So it’s important to make excellent choices for nutrient richness, to stick with mostly “whole” foods, to avoid processed items that contribute a surplus of calories along with an addictive salt/sugar buzz, and little else. Unfortunately, sodas and junk food in stores are at this time still allowed, so recipients need to be educated (SNAP ED Program, also on the cutting block) about shopping and about cooking (if, that is, they have a kitchen).

Mark your calendar now for Oct. 24, 6:30 at the Haven, corner of First and Market.

We will be posting tips on adhering to $1.50/person/meal for the prior week, also known as the Food Stamp Challenge or SNAP Challenge. You are invited to join the many legislators and other leaders who have written about their experiences, more recently the CEO of Panera and the Mayor of Newark Cory Booker, and then to share what you learned and what you gained from the experience.

Biophilic Cities Peer Network Launch to Take Place at UVA October 17-20

September 27, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
The Biophilic Cities Project, a multi-year initiative engaging cities across the globe, is hosting the launch of a Biophilic Cities Peer Network on October 17-20 to advance the theory and practice of planning for biophilic cities. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world.

University of Virginia Urban and Environmental Planning Professor Tim Beatley is hoping to answer the question, “What is and should be the role of nature in cities?” Beatley, a self-described “biophilic urbanist,” explains the origins of the project:

“In 2012 we began in earnest our Biophilic Cities Project, based in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture with significant funding from the Summit Foundation and the George Mitchell Foundation.

The project aims to better understand what biophilic cities are; what metrics we might use in defining and monitoring them; and what the current best practice is in supporting and expanding nature in U.S. cities and the world.”

The Peer Network Launch will connect leaders working on initiatives that increase the abundance, quality, and access to nature in their cities, creating a worldwide network for innovations and strategies.

Peer Network Launch events will be free and open to the public, and will feature innovative planning and best practices from a host of international biophilic cities. Biophilic urbanists will be in attendance from Singapore; San Francisco, California; Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wellington, New Zealand; Portland, Oregon; and Phoenix, Arizona, among others.

Distinguished keynote speakers for the Peer Network Launch are Stephen R. Kellert, Tweedy/Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of the recently published Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World; and
Jennifer Wolch, Dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and William W. Wurster Professor of City & Regional Planning.

The Peer Network Launch will feature symposium-style presentations and Q&A with partner city representatives, an interactive exhibition featuring biophilic cities around the world, and ample networking opportunities.

Urban and environmental planners, designers, elected officials, students and others with an interest in planning and designing for nature in cities will gather to celebrate accomplishments, share best practices, and explore future directions for biophilic cities.

Some lectures will be live-streamed online, free of charge. To learn more, visit: http://biophiliccities.org/launch/.

Sept 19: Open seminar with expert Eric Davidson!

September 18, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
Mo Fo Lo Po! How to produce MOre FOod with LOw POllution

Eric Davidson, a world leader in soil science and ecosystems research and expert on how food can be produced in a more sustainable manner, will be giving a seminar on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm in Clark Hall.

Seminar abstract:
Food production requires inputs of nitrogen (N) from chemical fertilizers, manure, compost, or biological N fixation. Because no system is 100% efficient, some leakage of N from crop and animal production systems is inevitable. Inadvertent N losses from agricultural systems are contributing to climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, air pollution, biodiversity loss, fisheries decline, algal blooms, and drinking water contamination. The challenge of mitigating these impacts will grow as human population increases, as poverty and hunger decline, and as per capita meat consumption grows. Fortunately, agricultural N losses can be minimized by good science-based management. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) has been increasing in developed countries due improved irrigation and water management, improved crop varieties, development of controlled-release fertilizers and urease and nitrification inhibitors, improved soil and plant testing to match nutrient applications with crop demands, use of cover crops, improved nutrition management of livestock, and increasing availability of decision support tools. Technological developments will offer additional opportunities for farmers to improve NUE, but technology alone is not the only or perhaps even the most important factor for nearterm mitigation of N pollution. Many current technologies are not fully utilized because of economic and social barriers to their adoption. A combination of government and private sector incentives, regulations, and outreach efforts are needed to encourage adoption of best management practices that would improve NUE and reduce N losses to the environment. Food security with minimal environmental impact requires integration of natural and social sciences to develop sound agronomic and environmental policies.

Sept. 20: Global Food Security and Human Appropriation of Water Resources

September 16, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
Professor Paolo D'Odorico is the Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer and is very widely published in the area of hydrological systems. His research focuses on the understanding and modeling of the hydrological processes that determine the temporal and spatial dynamics of soil moisture at different scales. In particular he is presently studying how these dynamics affect the soil nutrient budget, the occurrence of water stress in vegetation, the coupling between the land surface and the overlying atmosphere, the soil susceptibility to wind erosion and the stability of hillslopes and colluvial deposits. The subject of his talk concerns the interaction between water resources and global food trade. The topic spans a variety of policy topics including development, environment, and trade.

Talk will be in the Garrett Hall Commons, Refreshments Provided

Sept 21: Local Conference on the Challenges of Food Sustainability!

September 16, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
The 2013 Interfaith Conference of the Committee on Stewardship of Creation will explore, as a follow-on to its 2012 Conference, the challenges posed by agricultural sustainability and food insecurity for preservation of forests, protection of cropland, water resources, seas and oceans, and preservation of biodiversity. The Conference will explore how these issues of sustainability particularly affect Virginia and how those issues are connected to the broader moral and ecological concerns for global sustainability and environmental justice.

Learn more and register for the conference on the Interfaith Conference website: http://caringforgodscreation.net/Annual_Conferences/2013-Interfaith-Conference/

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is Hiring!

September 2, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition and food safety, is hiring a Communication Assistant! See this link for more details: http://cspinet.org/about/jobs/201202271.html

UVa Student Applying Engineering Research to Agriculture

April 8, 2013

by: Allison Spain
Check out the interview with Rowan Sprague, a 4th year at UVa, about her research with honeybees and the small hive beetle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS_nAtNon-w

"Organic Food's Not Just For Snobs"

March 20, 2013

by: Allison Spain
Recently, Zester Daily published an opinion piece by Tanya Denckla Cobb, who is the Associate Director at the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, professor in the Urban and Environmental Planning Department, and steering committee member of the UVa Food Collaborative. In her piece she critiques Dr. Mehmet Oz's article, "What to Eat Now: The Anti-Food Snob Diet," published in Time magazine last year. According to Dr. Oz, "organic is great, it's just not very democratic." More and more studies, however, are showing that sales of organic foods is growing at retailers like Wal-Mart, and that farmers market produce can actually be less expensive. Read for yourself at: http://zesterdaily.com/agriculture/organic-food-is-not-just-for-snobs-dr-oz-ask-walmart/

Monsanto Supreme Court Case

February 18, 2013

by: Allison Spain
The case of Vernon Hugh Bowman, a 75 year old Indiana farmer, vs. Monsanto has been getting a lot of press recently as the Supreme Court prepares to hear the case. The UVa Food Collab is planning a forum to discuss GMOs the spring so this is a timely case. Read more at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/18/171896311/farmers-fight-with-monsanto-reaches-the-supreme-court

USDA Seeks to Hire

February 11, 2013

by: Allison Spain
There are two postings on USA Jobs that may be of interest to graduates and students looking for a summer internship. One is for a Program Analyst (https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/337217000) and one is for a Food and Nutrition Service internship (https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/337217000). Candidates should have the following skills:

-Experience researching projects related to farm to school initiatives where you had primary responsibility for collecting and analyzing data related to farm to school programming;
-Working with programs or services directly relevant to local and regional food system theory and practice;
-Creating white papers or summary reports related to local or regional food systems;
-Researching regulations and policies related to local and regional food systems;
-Providing oral presentations to a large audience; and
-Managing large amounts of data; proficient with database management.

The deadline for applications is Friday, February 15.

$50K grant for \

January 8, 2013

by: Paul Martin
The Spring 2013 class of Public Policy 4740 (Philanthropy: Private Initiatives for the Public Good) invites
submissions to its grant program. The class is the recipient of a generous donation that allows it, in
return, to offer a grant opportunity to the local community. The class will award a minimum of $50,000
in grants to nonprofit (501(c)3) organizations in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The
focus of this open grant program is “food” and submissions from organizations working on
the problems of food security, nutrition, hunger, and other critical issues related to food will be accepted. The grant
selection committee will privilege requests for funding ongoing programs. The grant committee is also
interested in applications seeking support for increased organizational capacity, for example, through
program evaluation, the creation of collaborations across organizations, or efforts that may allow
organizations to diversify their funding sources.

To apply, submit a letter of inquiry of no more than three pages in PDF form to Paul Martin (pmartin@virginia.edu) by January 14, 2013. Organizations should be mindful that the grant review committees are comprised of students in a learning environment.

Follow Up from American Meat Film Screening

January 6, 2013

by: Allison Spain
In case you missed it, the American Meat film screening on December 3rd was a big success! You can read about the American Meat team's visit to Virginia and UVa and a piece about why the Food Collaborative wanted to screen this film on their website:

Local Farm Working With Prince Edward County School System

January 6, 2013

by: Allison Spain
Crumptown Farm, managed by Brad and Lyndsay Constable, is a small family farm located in Buckingham County. Their land is 100% chemical free and their produce is raised from non-GMO, chemical free seeds in our own greenhouse. All of the seeds that they begin with are either untreated or Certified Organic. They are passionate about bringing our customers Certified Naturally Grown vegetables of the highest quality possible. Their methods include soil enrichment by encouraging microbial life through Biodynamic preparations, Japanese Natural Farming techniques, cover cropping and providing beneficial insect habitat. Taste, freshness and nutritionally rich produce grown using natural methods are their main goals.

Currently, Crumptown Farm is a vendor at the South of the James Farmers Market in Richmond, VA. That is also one of the drop-off locations for the CSA. It has been an exciting development this past season as the Prince Edward County School system has become a regular purchaser. They are actively encouraging healthier eating for their students and Crumptown Farm feels very fortunate to be a part of that initiative. Additional CSA drop-off locations include the Southside Virginia Family YMCA in Farmville and Nirvana greenhouse at Yogaville. For more information about the Crumptown Farm CSA or contact us, visit their website at www.crumptownfarm.com or email them at crumptownfarm@yahoo.com

Screening of American Meat on Dec. 3

December 1, 2012

by: Allison Spain
The UVa Food Collaborative is hosting a screening of the film, American Meat, on Monday, December 3 at the Newcomb Hall Theater. Chipotle is providing free burritos and free burrito cards for attendees, and the Local Food Hub is donating apples. Following the film there will be a panel discussion featuring Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms. For more information, please see the article from UVa Today: http://news.virginia.edu/content/salatin-and-burritos-accompany-uva-screening-american-meat

New course on Food Justice!

November 19, 2012

by: Allison Spain
A new and unique food system planning course on food justice will be offered through the Urban and Environmental Planning department this spring. This course will build upon the previous 7 years of community food system class research, to conduct an assessment of food justice for the City of Charlottesville. Student findings will be submitted to the city for consideration in its new Comprehensive Plan and neighborhood plans. Students will learn and use best practices for community engagement while working with six selected Charlottesville neighborhoods to conduct (and test) a newly developed “food justice audit.” They will interview neighborhood leaders and community residents about their experiences with hunger, access to fresh, healthy food, their perception of food justice, impacts of local food initiatives, and ideas for advancing Charlottesville’s food justice. In addition to conducting research on food justice policies, students will do their field work at the grassroots level, gaining important skills in cultural diversity, observation, listening, and will synthesize their experiences in project papers and presentations of research findings to the city, as well as ethnographies guided by advisory faculty, Dr. Kendra Hamilton. By the end of the class, students will have gained important skills in community-based planning and policies, which are now considered essential for numerous professions.

Farm to School Week!

November 6, 2012

by: Allison Spain
November 12-16 is Farm to School Week in Virginia! The Farm to School program through VDACS seeks to source food from local farms in meals served at K-12 schools and universities throughout the Commonwealth. This year marks the 4th year of Farm to School week in Virginia, and to celebrate you can help the Local Food Hub by chipping in for healthy school lunches. They are partnering with several local farms to supply grass-fed beef in school lunches in Albemarle County, and they need to raise $500 by November 16! Visit their website at http://localfoodhub.org/chip-in-for-healthy-school-lunch/ and chip in a few dollars to their 2012 Farm to School Fund. For more information about Virginia Farm to School Week, please visit http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/marketing/farm.shtml.

Politics of Food and Proposition 37

October 24, 2012

by: Allison Spain
In a recent New York Times article, author Michael Pollan looks at the California\'s Proposition 37, the food movement, and the upcoming election. Proposition 37 would require that genetically modified food in California be labeled as such. Although more than 60 other countries label genetically modified food, this is being fought by \"big food\", such as Monsanto and Du Pont. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

2nd Annual Community Food Awards

October 19, 2012

by: Allison Spain
On Thursday, October 25 the Local Food Hub will be recognizing businesses and local leaders who have made a commitment to local food in our area! The reception will be at 11 am at the Local Food Hub warehouse in Ivy, and there will be a reception featuring local foods following the awards. Please RSVP to Emily at info@localfoodhub.org or (434) 286-2176 if you are interested in attending!

Students Demand 'Real Food'

October 10, 2012

by: Allison Spain
In a recent article, "The Real Food Challenge," in the Journal of Sustainability Ted Maro reports of the Real Food Challenge (RFC), which is gaining traction among institutions and student organizations across the country. The RFC is a grassroots initiative that began at Brown University in 2008 and connects student activist groups that are interested in everything from local food to farm workers' rights. In 2011 they announced the Real Food Campus Commitment, a pledge institutions to purchase 20 percent of their food from local, humane, sustainable, ecologically sound sources by 2020. So far seven universities have signed the pledge and 30 more have begun to use the RFC to track their purchasing over time and determine how much is local. Read more at: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/SUS.2012.9952

Virginia Cider Week!

October 3, 2012

by: Allison Spain
The first ever VA Cider Week will be start on November 12. It will be a week-long event featuring tastings, dinners, workshops, and presentations. The week will begin with a visit from Gary Nabhan, Scholar in Residence, at Feast in Charlottesville on Friday, November 9 from 4-6 pm. There will be local cider and food pairings, and tickets for the event are $10. For more information, please visit http://ciderweekva.com/.

All Praise the Civics of Food Hubs [@Civil Eats]

October 1, 2012

by: Benjamin Cohen
Just a few years ago there were but a smattering of “networks that allow regional growers to collaborate on marketing and distribution,” as Grist writer Claire Thompson observed, “networks that include a broad range of operations, from multi-farm CSAs to Craigslist-like virtual markets where buyers and producers can connect.”

Today, news stories about such food hubs are as frequent as a retweeted Mark Bittman article. With a big-tent definition, the USDA lists over 160 in operation from non-profits to private for-profit models. The East Coast is in the vanguard; New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Vermont host the most. More remarkable than their media-worthy increase in numbers, is that food hubs are a wonderful example of the best face of the food movement’s transition beyond an earlier focus on labeling, markets, and matters of quantity, toward broader cultural issues of justice, sovereignty, and community.

With the USDA trumpeting and a growing number of community and food policy planners discussing them, hubs are deserving of praise for two substantial reasons: One has been duly noted, the new models’ focus on economics and supply that fill a “missing link” or a “missing middle” in local food infrastructure.

But in their best form hubs are more than economic catalysts and efficient truck routes. They are community organizers. And this second innovation is where the praise should be louder. As much as they pioneer the replacement of lost distribution infrastructure, food hubs are civic leaders, entities that operate educational farms, address food deserts, attend to the socio-economic barriers to going organic, promote philanthropic aims, and provide job training. It’s this civic community-building character of food hubs that truly shows their forward thinking.

Closest to my home in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, Common Market’s mission-driven model is making good inroads around Philadelphia. Founded by Tatiana Garcia-Granados, Haile Johnston, and Bob Pierson in 2008, the hub works to build capacity “with farmers and institutional food service at either end of the food supply chain,” as Johnston told me. One that stands out nationally for integrating community and environmental goals is another non-profit, Local Food Hub, in Charlottesville, VA.

Started in 2009 by Marissa Vrooman and Kate Collier, Local Food Hub has come to redefine the very meaning of distribution in more justice-promoting ways as they devised a new way to aggregate and distribute food. It’s for good reason that they’ve become oft-referenced darlings of Kathleen Merrigan’s USDA push to rebuild local infrastructure.

It’s not just that Local Food Hub brings in food from over 70 area farms and distributes it out to more than 150 locations—hospitals, schools, restaurants, etc.—increasing sales, boosting farmer security, and adding local food bounty to the area. It’s that with the help of their educational farm at Maple Hill (leased to them by Dave Matthews, as it were) they’ve become a community leader.

Just this year, they’ve helped the Boys and Girls club operate its own farmers’ market, run by the kids and for their families. Its staff works on farm-to-school initiatives with area schools. At Maple Hill they host workshops on topics ranging from season extension to beekeeping to soil management. They recently partnered with another non-profit, the International Rescue Committee, to provide “refugees paid work opportunities coupled with intensive hands-on farm training and education.”

They host crop mobs, install raised bed gardens in low-income neighborhoods, help new canning initiatives, donate 25 percent of their food to food banks. No small wonder their Director of Outreach and Development, Emily Manley, is over-taxed, laboring under a deceptively straightforward title. Her job is more like that of an environmentally astute community organizer.

Recent arguments by leading food reform advocates offer complementary evidence of just this kind of on-the-ground growth toward food justice, sovereignty, security, and workers’ rights. We hear it from policymakers at various levels, from journalists like Barry Estabrook and Tracie McMillan, and from grounded research compiled in books like Food Justice and Cultivating Food Justice. They’re all arguing that food reform can be a means for social betterment, not just an end unto itself. If the accomplishment of the local food movement’s prior decade has been labels, stores, markets, economic models, and increasing quantity, the turn towards food justice helps put the focus on how we live, not just what we eat.

All of this lends credence to a call for highlighting the community-building ends food can serve. It’s the task before us in the Lehigh Valley as we think about the availability of fresh food for the next generation. As our local Buy Fresh, Buy Local chapter creates a Fresh Food Access Plan intended to lead the way towards 2030, we may or may not find that a food hub fits the regional context, but if we do it will owe much to the better part of local food popularity that has turned its attention to pursuing local food as a means to broader civic ends.

It’s a hopeful sign to see food hubs getting their due praise, but we should laud them for their civic leadership alongside their prowess as packing house depots. They too, like community gardens and urban farms, may help us rebuild lost communities, not just lost infrastructure.

Position with the Local Food Hub

September 7, 2012

by: Allison Spain
The Local Food Hub is looking for an Executive Director! This person will be responsible for strategic management, fund development, community engagement, organizational leadership and Board relations. Applications are due by September 30, 2012. Please see the full posting for more information: http://localfoodhub.org/news/we-are-hiring/

Local Farm Looking for an Intern!

September 5, 2012

by: Jenna Godfrey
Free Union Grass Farm is looking for a farm intern! They raise ducks, chickens, beef cattle, laying hens, and have small gardening patches. They're also interested in doing fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, pickled veggies, and kombucha), and starting a medicinal herb garden and making herbal extracts.

The internship would be unpaid but anyone willing to help will gain some very valuable knowledge. Any time commitment is acceptable, but the more the better.

They stress that they want to tailor the experience to the intern's desires and interests. This is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in farming, environmental science, or natural health.

Interested? Contact Leland Stillman (ls8vf@virginia.edu)

New Food Policy course at Batten

August 14, 2012

by: Paul Martin
PPOL 4500: Food Policy, is now open for all undergraduate enrollment.

The Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy hosts a unique 1-credit short course, running on Thursdays from September 6-October 4. This course is taught by the former Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. The course will examine the development of public policies that impact the production, processing, and marketing of food in the United States. Secondary attention will be given to the issue of international food security.

New Internship Available

May 16, 2012

by: Lynda Fanning
Yes, Virginia has fresh locally grown foods for a good chunk of the year, but Virginia does not have facilities to process/preserve our local fare for use by Virginians during the off season or whenever. It's an entire sector of our food system that has been missing....till now. All such processed purchases, (i.e., canned pasta sauce, apple sauce, diced peaches, all big items in schools) currently benefit facilities/growers in other states. Using good but blemished apples, tomatoes, peaches, that would otherwise not be harvested/sold, the non-profit Virginia Food Works is out to change that in Prince Edward Co. (Farmville) and is seeking an intern to get in on the action. "Marketing and Business Logistics Student Internship for Local Food Facility" is an opportunity now available (June 4-mid August) from Virginia Food Works, a full-servide food processing service whose mission is to help farmers and small growers maximize the potential of their land; build small food businesses; help social service organizations keep healthy food on food pantry shelves; and provide our residents, schools, restaurants and institutions with acess to safely-processed, nutritious foods throughout the year. The intern would create/distribute marketing materials, source local produce, manage deliveries, help with sales, and learn all aspects of processing. Apply by May 25. More info at www.VirginiaFoodWorks.org. Contact: Allie Hill at VirginiaFoodWorks@gmail.com

Central Virginia Food Heritage Short Films

May 4, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy

Congratulations to the students of PLAC 5500 - Virginia Food Heritage: Planning for Sustainability and Resilience! Last night the downtown premiere of the Central Virginia Food Heritage Short Films was held at the Water Street Center. The films debuted to a packed house of community members and university students and faculty, laughing, learning, and reminiscing about food days gone by.

Reclaiming Our Food required text at SIU in the fall

May 3, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
University College at Southern Illinois University has placed an order of 2,200 copies of Reclaiming our Food: How the Grassroots Food Movement is Changing What We Eat with the University Bookstore. This text will be required for our Fall 2012 courses in English 101, Speech Communication 101, and University College 101A and 101U. Congratulations to Tanya Denckla-Cobb in her continued success in bringing food heritage into academic discourse throughout the US!

Local Food Hub Taste of the Farm Event

May 3, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
The Local Food Hub is opening up their Maple Hill Farm for a Spring Plant Sale and Open House! All of the information you need is here. Head down to Scottsville from 10-3pm for good plants, crafts, eats, and beats.

Hope to see you there!

Charlottesville to have 4 Participants in Edible Schoolyard Academy

May 2, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
From June 24 – 27, four representatives from Charlottesville (Cate Whittington, Erin Block, Libby Lyon, and Michelle Rehme) will be attending the Edible Schoolyard Academy in Berkeley, CA. The ESY Academy supports emerging garden and kitchen programs nationwide and to strengthen resource and information sharing among them. Led by Edible Schoolyard staff and guest presenters, the Academy provides a three-day edible education immersion.

Have a great trip - we can\'t wait to hear about everything you\'ve learned!

Hannah Barefoot Featured on UVA Today

April 30, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
Food Collaborative steering committee member Hannah Barefoot's artwork is featured on UVA Today! To read more, please see the UVA Today story.

Food Fight Event a success!

April 27, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
Food Fight, a documentary by Chris Taylor, discusses how the farm bill has influenced the foods most widely available - and hence, what foods we eat. The film interviews Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Mike Allen, and other foodie favorites to tell the story of how we as citizens can work towards changing the food system to one that is more localized, nutritious, and enjoyable.

After the film, Stacy Miller (National Farmers Market Coalition) and Paul Freedman (Food Collaborative and Politics) led a discussion with the audience about our region's food system. It was an informed discussion with the engaged audience, made up of University faculty, staff, students, and community members.

A special THANK YOU to Lynda Fanning and Carla Jones for organizing the Food Collaborative Film Series this year and for Cville Coffee for providing space for the event.

Carla Jones wins Teaching Award

April 26, 2012

by: Paul Freedman
Congratulations to the UVA Food Collaborative's Carla L. Jones, who has won an All-University Graduate Teaching Assistant Award!

Alice Waters in the UVa Community Garden

April 22, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
Alice Waters, famed chef, author, and proprietor of Chez Panisse, came to Charlottesville this week to host a dinner and talk at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. While in town, Waters treated UVa foodies to a special talk in a most appropriate setting - the UVa Community Garden.

The rain on Wednesday kept our group in a huddled mass, hanging on Waters’ every word. After a round of introductions and us sharing the work being done by UVa students with research, gardens, and community outreach, Waters encouraged us to continue our hard work and to vigilantly share our stories - to inspire others and to continue to build a powerful local food movement. Waters encouraged students to consider projects documenting our edible landscape and requiring City Market vendors sell only organic produce (certified or not). She encouraged us to keep messaging around local food positive, to focus on our collective connections to food, and to inspire others to join this “delicious revolution”.

We were very honored to have some time with Alice Waters!

RSVP for the Farm to Fork Luncheon

April 12, 2012

by: Kendall Singleton
Calling all students: RSVP today for UVa Dining's 3rd annual Farm to Fork luncheon!

This event will feature a menu sourced entirely locally, along with the chance to mingle with a few of our area farmers. Celebrate the bounty of spring and the start of a new growing season at this special luncheon.

The meal will be held on Friday, April 20th, from 12-1:30pm, at the Runk Green Room. You must sign up for EMPSU to be eligible to RSVP; or, if a 4th year, you must currently have a meal plan.

We hope to see you there!

RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHhFQ1BpOTNuS0ZKaXQzTmRRWWJFOFE6MQ

Rowan Sprague Named Udall Scholar

April 6, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
Rowan Sprague has received a 2012 Udall Scholarship. Rowan is a student in the civil and environmental engineering program, researching the relationship between engineering and sustainable agriculture. Past research projects undertaken by Sprague include designing a trap to prevent beehive access to the small hive beetle and season-extension techniques that could be used by local farmers. Sprague is also an active member of the University community, interning with the Morven Kitchen Garden Project, beginning its Community Supported Agriculture program, serving as the sustainable food intern at the International Residence College, and volunteering as an English-language tutor. Sprague is the academic chair of the UVa Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a steering committee member of our own UVa Food Collaborative.

The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation, formed in honor of the late Arizona congressman, provides $5,000 for one year of study. Sprague is one of 80 recipients nationwide.

Congratulations, Rowan! We are excited for you and can’t wait to see what comes next!

Vandana Shiva, “Making Peace with the Earth”

March 21, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy

Last evening, Dr. Vandana Shiva spoke in the Harrison Institute as part of the ViEWS speaker series. She opened with an anecdote about receiving cowdung at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. Dr. Shiva believed this was a gift, reflecting the deep respect she holds for cow dung due to its critical role in sustainable agriculture - allowing nutrients to nourish and rebuild soil. Happily accepting the “gift”, she was told it was actually from representatives of Monsanto, and intended to be indicative of their assessment of her work.

Dr. Shiva spoke on many topics, with small-scale agriculture’s role in sustaining land, water, biodiversity, and people at the core. Large-scale, industrial agriculture does not benefit human health (by producing “nonfood”, which does not nourish) or human economy (by driving farmers into debt through “growth”). It does not benefit the land (by dousing it in chemicals) or biodiversity (by requiring monocrop farming) or water (by sending those chemicals into waterways, destroying aquatic life). Dr. Shiva’s work supporting small farmers, saving seeds, and speaking out against genetically modified organisms is a direct affront to the work of multinational agribusiness.

It was an honor and a pleasure to have been part of Dr. Shiva’s visit to the University. I hope everyone walked away from her lectures feeling as invigorated as I did, ready to support and enhance our own local food system in pursuit of a more sustainable food system.

Launch of the $10/week on Local Food Campaign by Virginia Food System Council

March 15, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
On March 15, the Virginia Food System Council (The Council), along with other food and agriculture organizations, is rolling out a challenge to all Virginia households to spend at least $10 per week on locally-grown foods and beverages.

The impact of this state-wide decision by households to support local agriculture would be dramatic. According to research by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, even this small amount spent on locally-grown food and food products over a year would generate an additional $1.65 billion back into our local economy.

As for the job impact, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan reports that "Every million dollars in sales through local markets supports thirteen jobs…. This compares to [only] three jobs generated from every million dollars in sales by agricultural operations that don't have a local or regional focus."

Other organizations joining the Council to promote this challenge include the VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Farm Bureau, the VA Cooperative Extension, Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapters, the VA Dietetic Association. The Council, which includes representatives of all the sectors of Virginia’s food system (producers, distributors, consumers, government, health, anti-hunger efforts, environmental conservation, and schools), also sees this $10/Week Challenge as a jumpstart to the recently rolled out Virginia Farm to Table Plan. Learn about the Plan at www.virginiafoodsystemcouncil.org.

The Council’s Chairman Don Loock stated, "This exciting initiative gives everyone in the Commonwealth the power to make meaningful change in their communities. By voting with our wallets we all can help create jobs, grow our local economy, keep family farms working and sustainable, all while eating delicious and healthy foods. Doing good never tasted so great."

Why is This Challenge Important to Virginians?

• Buying locally creates jobs and keeps more dollars circulating within the local economy. Local sales also support more local jobs for a win-win situation.
• Locally-grown foods don’t have to endure long storage and long distance travel, so they are generally far more flavorful, fresher, and thus retain more health-building nutrients.
• Virginians do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, which is a major deficiency in our diets contributing to the major chronic disease states; when these foods are locally grown, garden-fresh, and flavor-rich, both adults and children increase their intake and therefore improve their health.
• When consumers shop at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, or on the farm, they get to know their farmers and value the sense of trust and community with those who grow their food.
How Can Households Easily Access Locally-Grown Foods?
• Look for the “Virginia Grown” logo wherever you shop. The Virginia Grown program’s logo and labels help consumers easily identify locally-grown products in the marketplace. Its user-friendly website www.virginiagrown.com lists pick-your-own farms, farm stands and farmers’ markets per community. Look at VDACS’ Eat Local listings, including winter and year-round markets on its website at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/buylocal.shtml.
• The Buy Fresh Buy Local food guide and the website are other sites to search for local farms and markets. www.buylocalvirginia.org
• Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and buy a subscription for a weekly delivery of seasonal foods throughout the season. Go to www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/releases-a/010612csa.shtml for more information.
• Check out on-line sources for ordering and buying local foods.
• Buy Virginia wine for its renowned reputation worldwide. See www.virginiawine.org for a map of wineries.
• Choose from many restaurants that feature local products on their menus. They usually provide information about the farms, fisheries, farmers and food artisans.
• Check wherever you shop for locally-produced items. Look for store labels indicating locally-grown produce, fish, seafood, and meats, as well as locally-produced milk, eggs, honey, cheese, specialty items and more.
• If you are not able to find food labeled as locally-produced, talk with the store managers and let them know your preference for buying local foods. If there is enough demand, it will be in their best interest to offer these foods.

For more information contact Lynda Fanning at 434-978-4805 or Don Loock at 540-522-4224.

Food Heritage Planning Blog

March 11, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
Students in the spring semester course, Food Heritage Planning, are sharing personal stories, insights, and findings on the course blog. We’ve added a link to the header of this website in order for you to follow along on their journey of discovery. Enjoy it!

Read the blog!

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

March 1, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
The USDA launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass on February 29, 2012. The Compass is the home base for local and regional food system resources by the USDA. It highlights recent case study projects that the USDA has helped fund throughout the US, helping farmers extend the growing season, access new markets, and produce value-added products. The Compass includes a map showing the locations of infrastructure and projects, making it easy to see what infrastructure may be lacking in an area. The Compass also includes great information on the types of infrastructure that are helpful in supporting a vibrant local food system.

The Compass includes photos, case studies, and videos and is set up to be completely interactive. The Compass is a great resource for farmers, students, and anyone looking to learn more about the importance of a local food system. Try it for yourself here .

Local Wine a Boon for Virginia

February 23, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
An economic impact study on the Virginia wine industry comparing 2005 and 2010 found that the number of full-time jobs in the industry has grown by 50% and the overall economic impact of the industry more than doubled - generating nearly $750 million in revenue. The economic impact takes into account sales of wine, but also revenue generated from wineries, restaurants, and retail outlets. During this period, the number of wineries increased, as did the number of grape growers and grape acreage. Wine tourism is growing as well, seeing a 62% rise in visitors and an 86% rise in revenues.

The Virginia Wine Industry has had strong support from Governor McDonnell, who has focused on Virginia wine as an economic development and job creation tool. State and regional organizations have also provided marketing and promotional support for the industry, further boosting its success.

To read the full report, completed by Frank, Rimmerman, + CO, please visit: www.virginiawine.org/

Two local food organizations were featured last week in the area’s own Daily Progress.

January 30, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
The Local Food Hub was recognized for both serving as a crucial link between farms and consumers and for providing resources to farmers on important issues like extending the growing season. High and low tunnels allow farmers to extend the growing season on both ends, helping to keep a more steady supply of local produce in the region.

RelayFoods received a $3.1 million investment from Battery Ventures, a Massachusetts-based investment group. The funds will help RelayFoods expand their operations and provide enhanced customer service. RelayFoods connects local food producers with customers through an online grocery store interface.

You can read the stories yourself on DailyProgress.com, or by clicking the links in the News section of this website.

Recap: “Visualizing Health and the Farm Bill” webinar

January 13, 2012

by: Emily Kilroy
On January 12, Healthy Food Action hosted a webinar entitled, “Visualizing Health and the Farm Bill”. The presenters included Jennifer Billig of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Roni Neff of the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and Beth Hoffman of Food+Tech Connect. Billig provided an overview of the Farm Bill, what types of programs it funds, and how that funding impacts the American diet. Neff walked attendees through the Farm Bill Budget Visualizer, an interactive tool to help people understand how the Farm Bill’s budget is divided across a range of issues and industries. Hoffman discussed the importance of using design to make information more accessible to a wider audience, illustrated by the Farm Bill Hackathon.

Some themes coming out of the webinar:
1) The public health community should be involved in discussions about the Farm Bill, because the funds allocated in the bill deeply impact the types of foods that are grown and harvested, and by extension, the foods that are available for consumption.
2) It is important to not simply identify issues or concerns with Farm Bill allocations, but to recommend programs and areas that should receive more funding.
3) The Farm Bill is a dense, dull document. It is important to repackage the information contained in the Farm Bill in a more engaging, interactive manner in order to make it accessible to a wider audience.

It was a very information webinar and I look forward to what Healthy Food Action has in store for its next webinar.

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to speak at Virginia Food Security Summit

December 5, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will speak at the opening session of the 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit on Monday, December 5.
The Deputy Secretary will be joined by farmers, chefs, grocers, health workers, and community leaders from across Virginia. She will talk about the future of USDA and how the Department is working to create a stronger connection between people and their food. For more on the VA Food Security Summit, visit:

Congratulations to Brent Beringer.

December 1, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
Congratulations to Brent Beringer, ARAMARK district manager of University of Virginia Dining Services and friend of the UVA Food Collaborative, who has received the first College Foodservice Excellence Award given by the National Association of College Auxiliary Services in conjunction with On-Campus Hospitality magazine. Brent received the award at the association's annual conference in Orlando.
The award recognizes his work to improve on-Grounds dining at the University.

See this
UVaToday story.

Food Security Summit Scholarship Available from UVA Dining

November 21, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
U.Va. Dining is providing one complete student scholarship to the Virginia Food Security Summit. Applications are due by midnight on Sunday, November 27th.

Applications available here.

Reminder: Food Collaborative Open Meeting Thursday, Nov. 17

November 14, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
A reminder that the UVa Food Collaborative will be holding our fall membership meeting on Thursday, November 17, 12:00-1:30 in the Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room.

This is a brown bag/potluck meeting. Our agenda includes reports on recent and upcoming Food Collaborative projects and events (including the Virginia Food Security Summit), discussion of future directions and priorities.

Paid parking is available in the UVa Bookstore Garage. See map (Newcomb Hall is #30): http://www.virginia.edu/webmap/ACentralGrounds.html

Student Scholarship Available for VA Food Security Summit

November 10, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
Have you heard about the upcoming Virginia Food Security Summit taking place here on Grounds on December 5th and 6th? It's going to be a gathering of minds from around the Commonwealth, with everyone coming together to actively seek out opportunities to successfully institutionalize sustainable food and to create a Virginia farm to table five-year plan.

See the complete agenda here: http://virginiafoodsummit.org/agenda/.

If this is making you feel inspired, you're in luck. UVa Dining is offering one Summit scholarship to a student that fills out a very brief application form. If we get a great deal of interest, we may be able to offer additional scholarships, so don't hesitate to apply if you're available on those days.

Applications are due at midnight on Sunday, November 27. Apply today! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG12U18xOF9mRE9KcnNweWpRWklhZlE6MQ

Celebrate Virginia Farm to School Week

November 8, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
Virginia is celebrating Farm to School Week again this year, starting today: November 7 - 11. U.Va. Dining is joining in the programming with a Healthy Crudites Bar this Wednesday evening (November 9, 5-8pm) at all three dining halls, featuring some scrumptious local items from the Local Food Hub.

Here are the offerings, by dining location:


•Broccoli, Green Beans and Green Peppers from Critzer Family Farm in Afton, VA
•Cauliflower from Singing Earth Produce in Waynesboro, VA
•D'Anjou Pears from Fresh Pearspective Farm in Union, WV
•Apples from Crown Orchard in Covesville, VA, and from Dickie Bros. Orchard in Roseland, VA


•Broccoli, Green Beans, Green Peppers, and Celery from Critzer Family Farm in Afton, VA
•Cauliflower from Singing Earth Produce in Waynesboro, VA
•Apples from Crown Orchard in Covesville, VA, and from Dickie Bros. Orchard in Roseland, VA
•Apple Cider from Morris Orchard in Amherst, VA

•Broccoli, Green Beans, and Green Peppers from Critzer Family Farm in Afton, VA
•Cauliflower from Singing Earth Produce in Waynesboro, VA
•Apples from Crown Orchard in Covesville, VA, and from Dickie Bros. Orchard in Roseland, VA
•Apple Cider from Morris Orchard in Amherst, VA

Stop by a dining hall at dinner on Wednesday and taste the difference for yourself. Happy Farm to School Week!

Food Collaborative to co-host Virginia Film Festival screenings

November 1, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
This year's VA Film Festival (November 4 - 6) features a number of films related to sustainable food and agriculture, including two co-hosted by the UVa Food Collaborative: Cafeteria Man (Friday, November 4, 5:30pm, Downtown Regal Cinema), followed by a discussion with the director and the Cafeteria Man (Tony Geraci) himself; and Farmageddon (Saturday, November 5, 3pm, Culbreth Theater), followed by a discussion with Joel Salatin and the Food Collaborative's own Paul Freedman. More details and ticket information are available here http://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=2078 and here http://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=2140.

Food Collab Fall Meeting, Thursday 11/17

October 30, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
The UVa Food Collaborative welcomes your participation at our fall membership meeting on Thursday, November 17, 12:00-1:30 in the Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room.

This is a brown bag/potluck meeting. Our agenda includes reports on recent and upcoming Food Collaborative projects and events (including the Virginia Food Security Summit), discussion of future directions and priorities.

Paid parking is available in the UVa Bookstore Garage. See map (Newcomb Hall is #30): http://www.virginia.edu/webmap/ACentralGrounds.html

BOILED AND ROASTED Identity Through Food Preparation And The Social Life Of Formative Titicaca Basin, Bolivia.

October 11, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
UVA Department of Anthropology presents Christine Hastorf (Professor, Department of Anthropology University of California, Berkeley)
October 14, 1:00PM Brooks Hall Conference Room

BLUE GOLD. Film Screening Oct. 13

October 4, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
Please join Hereford College and the Food Collaborative on October 13, at 7:00 pm in Clark 108 for a screening of Blue Gold. Learn more about water and the water wars. The event will include a water tasting and remarks by Brian Richter of the Nature Conservancy.

2011 Community Food Awards

September 21, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
The Local Food Hub opened its doors just two years ago, in July 2009, after local vendors and buyers alike recognized that they needed an intermediary to connect them to each other. Large buyers didn’t have the resources or time to call up producers one at a time, hoping to scrounge up enough green peppers to serve in the school cafeteria the next day, and local vendors were relegated to selling their produce at farmers markets or through Community Supported Agriculture shares due to a lack of liability and limitations in delivery capacity. The Local Food Hub connects these two seemingly disparate market shares – the small local farmer and the large institutional buyer – in a single cohesive distribution system.

On September 15, the Local Food Hub partnered with VDACS (the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) to host its first Community Food Awards presentation. The goal was to recognize and honor those vendors and buyers who have made this distribution system such a success, particularly for Virginia’s economy. The speakers and presenters each had different words of praise for the Local Food Hub, but the overarching theme was evident: the Local Food Hub has had significant impact on keeping consumer dollars in the state and on directly benefiting the agriculture industry so as to keep farming a viable enterprise today and down the road.

Three farmers, or ‘partner producers’, were recognized first. The Community Mentor Award, for promoting the current and next generations of farmers through leading workshops, PVCC courses and more, went to Richard Bean of Double H Farm. The Partner Producer of the Year Award, for not merely just consistency and quality of product, but an ability and willingness to go above and beyond in delivery quantities, was presented to Jose and Adolfo Calixto of Singing Earth Produce. (I can attest to their reliability, as much of what UVa Dining purchases from the Local Food Hub originates at Singing Earth Produce.) The Agricultural Endurance Award, for longevity of farming and for carrying on despite the obstacles that may arise, went to Whitney Critzer of Critzer Family Farm.

Next, three buyers were acknowledged. The Small Business Award, for purchasing significant quantities of Local Food Hub product and for advertising it so clearly, went to Integral Yoga Natural Foods. The Trailblazer Award, for working creatively to find ways to bring local food to a sector of our population that doesn’t have easy access to it, went to Alicia Cost and Sandra Vasquez of Charlottesville City Schools Nutrition Services. And the Institutional Leader Award, for getting local products into an institutional niche (the hardest market for local producers to break into), went to the UVa Health System.

It wouldn’t be an event truly celebrating local food without a sample of some of the delicacies being touted throughout the morning. The formal presentation concluded right around noon with a toast of sparkling grape juice from Oakencroft, and then a delicious buffet of local foods that had been prepared by local school chefs and their cafeteria staff. What a perfect (and beautiful – it was truly a feast for the eyes as much as it was for the taste buds) way to conclude this uplifting event! Bravo to our community for making the Local Food Hub a reality and a success.

Local Food Hub Pop-Up Farm Stand on Tuesday, September 20th

September 12, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
Stop by the amphitheater between 11am and 2pm on Tuesday, 9/20 to learn more about the partnership between the Local Food Hub (localfoodhub.org) and UVa Dining. The Local Food Hub will have a pop-up stand featuring fresh and local food from their partner producers, available for purchase on site!


September 6, 2011

by: Lynda Fanning
Thursday, Sept. 8th at 7 p.m., come to the Central Library for “Tapped”. This film examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. (76 minutes)
Directors: Stephanie Soechtig, Jason Lindsey
More info. at : http://www.tappedthemovie.com/
Free film & refreshments!

Mark your calendar for "Blue Gold" on October 13, jointly hosted by the UVA Food Collaborative and the Hereford School; more to come about this award-winning film on what we must do to save this crucial resource, here and around the globe.

September 6, 2011

by: Lynda Fanning

Jefferson Public Citizens team conducts surveys at Charlottesville City Market

August 15, 2011

by: Carla Jones
A team of students from the University of Virginia’s Jefferson Public Citizens (JPC) program and in partnership with Market Central began conducting surveys at the Charlottesville City Market in late July, and the data collection will continue through the end of August. In its 38-year history, this project marks the first collaborative effort between UVA and the market to use valid research principles to assess valuable information about the market and its shoppers.

The Jefferson Public Citizens program integrates community service and research experiences. Teams work together with a community partner to help complete a project that would be valuable to the community. The students (including undergraduate students Anne De Chastonay, Natalie Roper, and Erica Stratton and graduate student, Carla Jones), have been working with their community partner, Market Central, other community members, and UVA faculty to determine what information would be valuable as Charlottesville contemplates the future of the City Market.

As the permanent home discussion began last fall, the absence of reliable data became evident. There were plenty of guesses, but no real answers to the following questions: Who comes to this Market? What do they love about it? What would make them love it even more? By conducting research and sharing the results with the City, this team of students will provide important information to help make decisions on the future of the market, and its importance to the community.

The project, “Have a Stake in the Market!“ encourages market shoppers to participate in a brief survey. Every Saturday during August, you’ll find JPC team members at the market, clipboards in hand, asking shoppers’ input. Join us on Saturdays at the Charlottesville City Market to share your input about the future of the market.

For more information about the Jefferson Public Citizens program, and a link to the survey, visit: http://www.marketcentralonline.org/market_central_site/JPC_information.html

Real Food Training for Students

July 29, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is hosting a weekend training session from September 2-4 in Chapel Hill, NC, to work with a small group of dedicated students that are interested in starting or continuing a real food campaign on their campus. If you'd like to learn more, check out this Sustainable Duke post on the upcoming event: https://today.duke.edu/2011/07/realfoodtraining.

Walmart to Tackle Food Deserts? Well... Almost

July 25, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
[Re-Post from Win Our Future Blog]

This week, Walmart made another big announcement about its role in expanding healthy food access in America. By 2016, the company aims to open between 275-300 stores in USDA-designated food deserts. Before we give a major altruism award to Walmart, let's note that "these estimates are based on the company's current real estate plans," according to a press release.

Admittedly, the USDA Food Desert Locator is a neat tool. But it's probably too coarse of a data set to be directly useful in locating stores (note the wide swaths of Oregon that are "food deserts"). Maybe this is useful as a first step prioritization tool, but certainly not at the real-estate parcel level. So many local factors come into play - transit, topography, weather, culture - it's hard to say that by putting a new Walmart into a food desert we're going to improve community health. And for Walmart to announce this as part of their healthy foods initiative is more than an insinuation that the two are connected.

At the end of the day, delivering healthy, affordable food into areas that otherwise have low physical and economic access is a worthy goal. Walmart has the potential to do both things, and to do them all across America. The main issue: the simple methodology. Walmart is taking existing plans, overlaying USDA's food desert maps, and then claiming to open new stores as part of a food desert effort.

My recommendation to Walmart: take a closer look at these communities. If you're serious about alleviating food access issues (physical and economic), each community is going to present different circumstances; a single strategy won't work across the board. Maybe a community food security specialist for each store, tasked to work with local community leaders and policymakers?

Anything less, and we'll just be celebrating a coincidence of Walmart's development plans with a hot topic.

For more:
Walmart's press release (July 20, 2011)

NPR story on Michelle Obama's praise of opening stores food deserts. Also worth noting that this article mentions a University of Maine study that "debunks" connections between health outcomes and access to junk food. I think this study is critically flawed and is highly specific in its study area... will blog more about this soon.

Gazpacho in the Garden

July 11, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
This week in the Morven Kitchen Garden, we are gearing up for our first event of the summer - Gazpacho in the Garden! Join us on Saturday, July 16th from 6-9pm for an agrarian celebration, dinner, and mingling at Morven Farm. *You bring your own bowl and spoon, and we’ll happily provide a delicious dinner:* gazpacho, fresh baked bread, and many more tastes of summer. All produce graciously donated by the Local Food Hub. RSVP REQUIRED: Please send your name and number of folks in your party to mrr5q@virginia.edu (directions to Morven and additional details provided upon receiving your RSVP)

Food Deserts

June 30, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
Recent Food Collaborative research undertaken with Patchwork Nation and the PBS NewsHour looks at food deserts -- places where people have limited access to affordable nutritious food -- and how they matter when it comes to public health.
See: When Eating Well Is a Matter of Where You Live and The Socio-Economic Significance of Food Deserts .

Walmart pledges to cut waste, feed the hungry. Why not "reorganizes"?

June 28, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
Recently, Walmart has announced plans to help struggling food banks around the nation by donating over a billion pounds of food between now and 2015. This isn't just any food - it's near-expiration, dented, browned, or otherwise unmarketable to most American consumers. And before now, almost all of this perfectly edible food would have been thrown out.

Walmart's commitment to help cut this type of waste is important; even more significant is their donation of 100 refrigerated trucks to help food banks transport perishable products. Food banks will use these trucks to pick up foods from Walmart, though they also create pick-up schedules with other local food businesses, even farms. I've heard food bank managers describe refrigerated trucks as game-changers, allowing their organizations to take advantage of donation opportunities, especially those involving fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some advocacy groups estimate that we could easily feed all of the nation's hungry with the amount of food that is annually wasted. Clearly the problem is more complex than just moving food from place to place. But, Walmart's foray into cutting food waste will be an important test that retailers across the country should watch. Perhaps this sort of system can grow from a pledge into a way-of-doing.

For more, I'd recommend:
Walmart's official announcement of food bank donations

Excellent NPR story by Pam Fessler, "A Squash's Journey: From The Shelf To The Hungry"

USDA Economic Research Service publication on food losses

Check out the Morven Kitchen Garden blog!

June 20, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
Learn more about the Morven Kitchen Garden - a one-acre educational garden and student CSA program on the swanky new blog: http://morvenkitchengarden.wordpress.com/
The blog is updated 3 times a week, so stay tuned!

Final Presentations for Morven Summer Institute Food Studies Class June 8TH

June 7, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
Food Community Members-

Please join us on Wednesday, June 8Th for the final presentations of the introductory Morven Summer Institute STS- Food Studies Class. Arrive at the Meeting Barn on Morven Farm between 1230 and 1245. Presentations begin at 1245pm. Four groups will present a 5-7 min. presentation, each one followed by a question and answer session. Refreshments will be provided.

The projects are;

Morven Farm CSA- This group looked at the ways and methods Morven will be able to add a CSA program for students.

Vegatable Oil Conversion- This group examined the cost and savings of converting a diesel engine to one that runs on used vegetable oil. This application could be used by the Local Food Hub and other local food distribution models to reduce carbon output and save on money spent on fuel.

School Garden Program at Veneable Elementary School- This group will examine other school garden projects and help Veneable set up a to do list to get their garden started this August.

Veggie Washing Station- This group studied and constructed the best possible design of a vegetable washing station to be used in the field on a small farm, like the Morven Kitchen Garden.

Please RSVP to if you are able to attend so we can add your name to the gate.
Contact Sara Teaster sarabteaster@yahoo.com

We hope to see you on Wednesday!

Sara B. Teaster

Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning 2011

University of Virginia, School of Architecture
UVA Community Garden Manager
Teaching Assistant Morven STS Class

UVA Food Collaborative looking for active collaborators!

June 7, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
Please complete the following survey and tell us how you'd like to get involved: Food Collaborative Survey

Subscribe to the Food Collaborative mailing list: Click Here

We're ready for your ideas!

USDA's MyPlate

June 2, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
The longstanding government healthy eating guide, the USDA Food Pyramid, has gotten a complete makeover as of this week. Unveiled today, the guide is no longer a pyramid, but rather a plate displaying a proportional meal with generalized food groups. Interestingly, recommendations about sugars and oils also don't appear directly on the pyramid/plate configuration, instead showing up under a "Related Topics" header as "Oils" and "Empty Calories" a click or two away from the MyPlate homepage. Perhaps most tellingly, prominent words of advice underneath the newly revealed plate include "Enjoy your food, but eat less" and "Drink water instead of sugary drinks."

What do you think about the overhauled guide? Will Americans finally have a clear sense of what to put on their real plates, or will confusion linger?

Food Collab Spring Meeting Thursday, May 19

May 17, 2011

by: Paul Freedman
A reminder to please join us for our spring meeting on Thursday, May 19th, 3:30-5:00PM in the UVA Foundation Board Room at Boar's Head Pointe (directions below). We will be discussing our plans for the future, fundraising, and committee assignments. We will also be bidding a fond (and painful) farewell to our friend and founding leader, Prof. Ben Cohen, who will be joining the faculty of Lafayette College in the fall.

Directions to Boar's Head Pointe:
From UVA: take Ivy Road to Boar's Head Inn, turn left at the entrance • Travel .2 mile and take the second right onto Boar's Head Pointe • The Foundation office is the large glass building facing the lake • Visitor parking is located at the back of the building

Last Workday of the School Year- Wednesday 3-5 pm

May 10, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
Please join us in the garden on Wednesday, May 11 from 3-5 pm for our last workday of the school year. We are going to start at the Alderman/Mcormick site and then head down to the Gilmer site.

Thanks for all of the support this year! We will be sending out information for our summer listserve soon for those of you who are staying in the area this summer.

Hope to see you in the garden!

Green House Energy Video Wins Student Competition

May 4, 2011

by: Benjamin Cohen
The Center for Undergraduate Excellence hosts a competition supported by the Atlantic Coast Conference Inter-University Academic Collaborative (ACCIAC) to showcase the creativity and innovation of U.Va.’s undergraduates. Students create short videos documenting their research, scholarly, or creative projects and a panel of judges awards the top submissions. A prior blog post (from Feb. 15, by Laura Kolar) noted several of the student project videos from the J-term class on sustainable agriculture and technology. One of those, the Green House Energy team, entered their video into the ACCIAC competition—and won! (Here's the direct YouTube link.) As the Morven Summer Institute gears up for its start in a few weeks and students follow-up on those projects from January, it’s a good time to congratulate the four students, Rebecca Clemo, Benjamin Fitts, Hershil Patel, and Andrew Revelle, for their work. Their project was undertaken in league with the Local Food Hub, highlighting the environmental and technological possibilities of reduced greenhouse energy use, in general, while showing what students can do to contribute specifically to the local community.

Recap: Food Collaborative Screening of "Black Gold"

April 21, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
Tuesday night saw another exciting Food Collaborative film screening and expert panel with a viewing of "Black Gold." The documentary film examines the complexities and inequalities of the global coffee trade, and follows one leader of an Ethiopian farmers' cooperative as he tries to get a better coffee price for the people he represents.

"Black Gold" takes a metered approach to dissecting the commodity trade of coffee, and lets viewers meet a variety of coffee stakeholders, including farmers, laborers, transporters, cooperatives, traders, sellers, and consumers. The disconnect between the price at the cup and what is actually paid to farmers for their coffee is shockingly stark, though the film attempts to show viewers how this inequality occurs.

Conversation between the audience and our expert panel, facilitated by Food Collab Director Ben Cohen, went late into the night after the film concluded. Panelists included John Echeverri-Gent (Associate Professor, UVa Politics Dept) Herman Schwartz (Professor, UVa Politics Dept), and Will Trager (Trager Brothers Coffee). According to one of the event's main organizers, Lynda Fanning: "It was also wonderful the way we came away charged up to act on behalf of the Ethiopian (and other) farmers, yet careful about throwing around blame."

Special thanks to the panelists for sharing their expertise and time, to Trager Brothers Coffee for donating delicious Ethiopian coffee to enjoy, and to Carla Jones for helping with event logistics.

Save the Date for Community Food Systems Final Presentations!

April 19, 2011

by: Carla Jones

"Food Access in Charlottesville" and "Preliminary Assessment of SW Virginia's Food System"

University of Virginia students in the Urban and Environmental Planning Department's Community Food Systems' class, taught by Tanya Denckla Cobb, will present their work on mapping food access in Charlottesville, as well a preliminary assessment of SW Virginia's Food System. The student teams will present their findings and community perspectives on what is available in the community, gaps, and opportunities available.
At the end of the Charlottesville presentations, as well as at the end of the Southwest Virginia presentations, there will be opportunity for discussion, questions and feedback. We are eager for your participation and feedback! Please consider joining us!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
4:30-5:30-Charlottesville Presentations and Discussion
5:30-6:15- Southwest Virginia Presentations and Discussion
Charlottesville Community Design Center
(located at the east end of the Downtown Mall, directly beside the Market Street parking garage)

Email Carla Jones at carlajones@Virginia.edu with any questions.

UDems present Farming Discussion

April 19, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
UDems presents:

Sustainable Living: Hobby Farming

With Michael Levatino and Audrey Blecha

Join us this Wednesday (4/20) @6pm in Physics 204

As we learn from the experiences of local Louisa County Farmers on the aspects of small scale sustainable farming. There’ll be fresh produce raffled off, too. You won’t want to miss it!

SPRING THING! 4/21 in the UVA Community Garden

April 18, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
You are cordially invited to the UVA Community Garden's SPRING THING! - A potluck + garden gathering to celebrate Earth Week and the joys of spring.

What: SPRING THING: Potluck + Garden merriment
Where: UVA Garden (corner of McCormick and Alderman)
When: Thursday, April 21st @ 5-7pm
What to bring: A yummy dish for the potluck! Games! Friends!

Food Justice Survey

April 15, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
If you eat food, you should really take
this survey

This survey (which only takes a minute or two!) has been developed by an independent study on Food Justice, a new class this semester which is sponsored by the UVA Food Collaborative.

But wait, there's more! Just by filling out the form you could be one of the three winners of a $10 gift card to Bodos! (Winners will be announced early next week)

Farm to Fork Luncheon: Raffle Details

April 12, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
Join UVa Dining in celebrating Earth Day at the second annual Farm to Fork meal, on Friday, April 22nd from 12:30 – 2pm in Garden V, featuring locally grown food and the chance to mingle with some of the area farmers that have produced it! To attend, you must enter your name in the (free) Farm to Fork raffle at the UVa Earth Week sustainability themed art exhibit on Monday, April 18, from 4:30-6:30pm at the Newcomb Student Activities Center. Winners will be notified on Tuesday, April 19. Rain site is the Runk Green Room. Questions? Email me at kendall.singleton@virginia.edu.

Seeking New Garden Manager

April 11, 2011

by: Sara Teaster

We are still looking for a new Graduate Student Manager for the UVA Community garden for the 2011-2012 school year. This has been such a rewarding experience for me and I hope to pass the reigns over to someone who will love the garden work as much as I have. We hope to announce our new garden manager at the spring pot luck event, Spring Thing, next Thursday, April 21st. Please email me your resume and a brief description of why you want to be the next garden manager. This is a paid position, through work study, under the Urban and Environmental Planning Department.
Sara B. Teaster
Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning Candidate 2011
University of Virginia, School of Architecture
UVA Community Garden Manager

4/11 Workday in the UVA Community Garden!

April 10, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
Join us in the student garden Monday, April 11th from 3-5pm for some spring planting! What better way to enjoy the sunshine?

PURSUIT Conference Registration Open

April 7, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
If you're looking for something to do this Saturday, besides (or in addition to) going to the Bellair Farm workday happening from 9am to 1pm, you might want to consider attending the second annual PURSUIT Conference here on Grounds. The conference was started last year to, in the words of the PURSUIT website, "bring UVa students together to increase social awareness by hosting prominent speakers and informative workshops." This year the sessions are covering a broad array of topics and concentrations, including one that I am leading on food and sustainable dining at UVa. Other workshops include:

-Why Development Didn't Work
-Young adults in educational, social, and spiritual communities
-Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: UNICEF at Work
-Gender and racial stereotypes in the media
-An Overview of the Revolution in Egypt
-Definition of Minority at UVA
-Health Care in Central America
-Population growth policy in Albemarle County
-Disparity in education

The conference will kick off with registration - which you can also do on the PURSUIT website - at 11:30am on Saturday on the 4th floor of Cabell Hall, on the Wilson Hall side of the building. Session 1 will take place from 12 - 1pm, and session 2 (when I'll be presenting!) is from 1:10 - 2:10. For more information, see http://www.student.virginia.edu/pursuit/.

Fast-Food Stamps: As bad as it sounds?

April 4, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
[Re-Post from Win Our Future Blog]
I’ve been thinking about my last post on the proposed use of food stamps in Kentucky fast-food restaurants. Three major points made by Yum! Brands executives:
1. They are trying to help provide another hot, prepared food option for struggling consumers,
2. Consumers have options to make more health-conscious choices, even in the fast-food restaurants (Yum! owns brands like KFC and Taco Bell), and
Food stamp recipients can already spend their benefits on unhealthy items at other stores.
3. I’m not going to get into point number one. Yum! hasn’t said how much it might make from this new market of food stamp users. The altruism of this claim could be debated all day long.

Points two and three are absolutely true. You can find some healthy options in fast-food restaurants, and food stamp users can buy both healthy and unhealthy foods with their benefits. What makes this complex is the question of access.

To help with this question, I’ll point to a 2005 USDA study of food stamp usage in the United States. By and large, when people in the US redeem their food stamps, they do it at supermarkets (about 83% of all benefits). Add in large and small grocery stores, and the figure comes to over 93% of all benefits redeemed.

The bottom line is that the convenience factor does not appear to sway people to shop at convenience stores. These food retailers only make up about 3% of all benefits redeemed. Even in Washington DC, a city with well-documented “food deserts,” about 70% of benefits are redeemed at supermarkets.

In sum, I think there are plenty of logical reasons the government would not want to expand food stamp usage to fast-food retailers. However, it appears that food stamp beneficiaries highly prefer to use their money at supermarkets. I wonder if fast-food would entirely change this well-documented characteristic.

Click here] for the original post.

Click here] for the USDA study.

Trade-Offs: Allowing Food Stamps at KFC?

April 4, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
[Re-Post from Win Our Future Blog]
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Yum! Brands has officially stated its interest in allowing food stamp users to redeem those welfare benefits at some of its restaurants. Yum! Brands famously owns American fast-food giants like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, and are headquartered in Kentucky. Currently Yum! officials are lobbying the Kentucky state government for this policy change.

On the one hand, relaxing the limits on food stamp purchases will expand access of hot, prepared, cheap meals to people that cannot typically afford adequate amounts of food. Many of these recipients are strapped not only for cash, but time; thus, fast-food is an attractive option that fits in with an overwhelming schedule.

Yum! officials also point out that consumers will have access to nutritional information, so they should be able to make healthy choices. Further, a Yum! vice president, Paul Carothers, notes that consumers can already use food stamps to buy unhealthy foods in grocery stores:

“The only thing they cannot use their benefits for … now are household products, alcohol, tobacco and those sorts of things…”

Let’s be clear:
Yum! stands to gain from this expansion, and will tap into a new market (government food assistance recipients). Yum! executives “haven’t tried to compute that [amount],” but we can assume it will be non-zero.
Low-income consumer preference in fast-food is a tricky subject, given that marketing is incredibly strong and these particular consumers are highly price-sensitive. We cannot assume that a consumer will eat healthier because nutritional information is available to them.

Certainly, food stamps are used to purchase unhealthy foods all the time in supermarkets. However, the government is in a different position when it deliberately expands access to these unhealthy foods. Grocery stores probably carry roughly more healthy options than unhealthy ones, whereas KFC may be troubled to make the same calculation.

Fast-food retailers can deliver unhealthy foods in a highly convenient method that is attractive to people short on time and money. When Yum! Brands insinuates that expanding food stamp to their retail locations is a pro-poor, pro-food security move, we should consider the complexities of both the short and long term.

The Courier-Journal Article is available here.

Charlottesville Crop Mob Saturday, April 2nd **Please note time change!**

March 23, 2011

by: Rowan Sprague
Hello Fellow Farming Enthusiasts!

The Local Food Hub and UVA Community Garden are planning a really fun opportunity to get in touch with your agrarian side next Saturday, April 2nd!

Join the Charlottesville Crop Mob for our inaugural outing at the Local Food Hub’s Educational Farm in Scottsville! A Crop Mob is like a flash mob, but with a productive farming twist. Get your hands dirty planting 600 lbs of organic potatoes and constructing high tunnels for early pepper plants. Finish the day with a tour and picnic on the farm.

Date: Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 (Please note time change!)
Time: 10am – 1pm, followed by picnic lunch
What to Bring: water, work gloves, picnic lunch, clothes that can get dirty, shovels, sledgehammers (if you have them).
Register: RSVP on Facebook

Since the Local Food Hub's farm is in Scottsville (about 25-30 minutes south of here), we need to plan carpooling. Therefore, if you are interested in coming, please email me (ris3xq@virginia.edu) and let me know if a) you want to come but need a ride, b) you can come and have a ride, or c) you can come and are willing to drive people there. Please see below for information about where the farm is and how to get there.

Thanks, and hope to see you at the Crop Mob!

Here is the address for the farm:
Maple Hill Farm
7129 Maple Hill Farm
Scottsville, VA 24590

And here are directions there:
From the I-64 / 20S intersection (exit 121):
-Take Route 20 South towards Scottsville for approximately 15 miles.
-Maple Hill Farm will be on your left (there is a sign).
-The Farm is located approximately 2.5 miles past Green Mountain Country Store.
-Please use caution when turning in the driveway! People often drive very fast on Route 20, and the driveway is a bit of a blind turn. Use your signal early and often!

Please let me know if you have any questions!


March 18, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
Brought to you by the UVA Food Collaborative:

MONDAY, March 21
4:30-5:30pm, Newcomb Boardroom

Topic: "Revisiting Marriage, Gender and Diet: New Implications for Public Health"

Presented by Kara Dewhurst,
Graduate student in the Department of Sociology

Exploring how gender roles embedded within the institution of marriage affect dietary habits and have profound implications for public heath.

What’s keeping sustainable agriculture from feeding the world?

March 15, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
[Re-post from Community Food Systems Course Blog ]

In a recent New York Times blog post, Mark Bittman makes an argument that sustainable agriculture holds potential to feed the world, and rejects the popular notion that industrial agriculture is needed to perform that task. He makes a variety of good points: international organizations (like the UN) are incorporating sustainable agriculture as best practices, scientific documentation is supporting sustainable agriculture, and oil futures create a favorable place for these practices. I agree with his points, though I find one phrase particularly thought-provoking:

"Yet there is good news: increasing numbers of scientists, policy panels and experts (not hippies!) are suggesting that agricultural practices pretty close to organic — perhaps best called “sustainable” — can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long term, become the norm."

Maybe I’m reading into this too far, but I think he’s suggesting that the "fringe-ness" of the sustainable agriculture movement has kept it from holding water at international levels. Science is science – we know a wide variety factual points that place sustainable agriculture ahead of industrial agriculture – and I doubt that these facts have changed much over the last 40 years. Sure, we know more now than we did then, and we also value the environment in a different way. But is that all the movement needed… Science?

If this is so, we need major research institutions to dig into sustainable agriculture. If international markets are just waiting on the data, we can create it. Though I think the fact that industrial agriculture got a major science head start is not inconsequential. In fact, this might be the biggest issue. Can sustainable agriculture catch up in the world of science and data?

Bittman’s full blog post is available here

The Logistics of Local: A Discussion on UVa's Local Food Chain

March 1, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
Wednesday, March 2nd, 7pm. Jefferson Scholars Foundation Hall, 112 Clarke Court, Charlottesville VA.

If you’ve ever wondered just how local food procurement actually works in an institutional setting, this panel is not to be missed. The evening will kick off with a brief but inspiring documentary called Nourish, focused on the ways that we as eaters can all learn the story behind our food, and, as a result, more deeply connect to our environment, our personal health, and our communities. Three panelists will be on hand after the short film to discuss these community and health connections in light of their role in UVa Dining’s large scale local food supply chain. Jamie Barrett, farm manager of Bellair Farm and partner producer with the Local Food Hub, Alan Moore, Local Food Hub Operations and Sales Manager, and Bryan Kelly, UVa Dining Executive Chef, will all speak to the field to truck to chef’s knife journey that locally grown food makes before it reaches the plates of hungry university students. Locally produced refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public.

First Lady Supports Walmart's Health Initiatives

February 26, 2011

by: Courtney Fox
At the end of January, Walmart announced it would be joining First Lady Michelle Obama in her campaign against childhood obesity. The company plans to assist this effort by eliminating trans fats and decreasing the sugar and sodium content of their house-brand foods by 2015. Mrs. Obama’s praise of the corporation’s announcement has elicited a spectrum of responses. Supporters of Mrs. Obama’s endorsement hope that, because the Walmart sells more food nationwide than any other grocery store, these changes could have a ripple effect, influencing other food chains to produce healthier food. Additionally, this move towards healthier eating coincides with a supposed effort by Walmart to construct stores in food deserts – areas where residents have notable difficulty accessing food. Additional support comes from groups that believe, like Mrs. Obama, that Walmart’s effort to decrease sugar, sodium, and trans fats in food products will have a positive impact on the health of children. Critics have pointed out that most companies have already taken trans fats out of their packaged products and have made the same pledge to reduce sugar and sodium. In their view, Walmart is not doing anything radically different from other food corporations to merit an endorsement from the White House. Additionally, Walmart’s proposals fail to include soda, a product which contributes directly to obesity. Another argument is that as long as unhealthy products are on the market and are affordable, people will buy them; this perspective emphasizes the need to target the subsidies that make processed food cheap as well as the need for nutritional education. Workers’ rights groups have also expressed discontent with Mrs. Obama’s endorsement of Walmart; considering that then-Senator Obama criticized Walmart’s low wages in 2007 and noting the company’s anti-union policies and poor labor record, these groups fear that the First Lady’s support will cause the government to overlook major concerns and issues within the corporation. As Walmart pushes for healthier food in their supermarkets over the next four years, how will their relationship with workers and with government officials change?

Monday, Feb. 28th - Part I of Spring Student Seminar Series

February 26, 2011

by: Michelle Rehme
Join us this Monday, February 28th for the first of three graduate student seminars this spring!

4-5:30pm, Newcomb Boardroom

Topic: "Grocery Stores as Agents of Change in the National Food System"

Presented by Jen O'Brien,
Graduate student in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning

Opening a new food retailer in an underserved area has the possibility of improving the physical and economic health of a neighborhood, but not without significant upfront costs and risk. Existing grocery stores have found that partnering with community initiatives—such as farmers’ markets, urban agriculture and school nutrition programs—works to the mutual benefit of the retailer and community health, without requiring extensive financial support.

The Environmental Film Festival (March 15-27, 2011)

February 23, 2011

by: Benjamin Cohen
The 19th annual Environmental Film Festival launches in a few weeks up in D.C. The two-week festival will screen 150 films from 40 countries, host movies about energy—oil, coal, alternatives—oceans, waste and recycling, water, wildlife, and over a dozen focusing on food and agricultural issues. The food-related slate includes films about urban farming, factory farming, truck farming, bees, community gardens, wine, pigs, sturgeon, chemical runoff, and even Henry Wallace. The festival website also has a subsection with several dozen short films, some new, some old, all viewable online. Good for surfing around if you need a 15-minute break (see here).

What do urban planners have to do with food?

February 16, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
This week in "Community Food Systems," a graduate planning applications course, Tim Beatley made a compelling case for the influence of traditional planning over food systems. He used the recent example of San Francisco - a highly food-progressive city - where planning codes are being brought up to speed with the needs of urban agriculture.

Why do the codes even matter? To developers and entrepreneurs, well-defined codes can mean the difference between an opportunity and a risk. Planning and zoning codes provide the legal framework for the built environment and the human (or animal) activities that happen within their boundaries. San Francisco's proposed code amendments make it clear that food is a priority for the city, and it expands the "by right" usage for individual property owners.

As we concluded our discussion, Tanya Denckla Cobb, the course's instructor, posed the question: "Is this the future of planning codes?" Many cities around the country are re-evaluating their codes to meet a variety of contemporary needs, like sustainability or aging-in-place, and food should warrant equal consideration. As publicly-driven documents, codes are positioned to encourage community food goals; however - as a cautionary note - the public could also rally to zone food out, if well-articulated concerns can influence policymakers.

For more on the San Francisco Planning Code Amendment, see the "Legislative Digest".

For more on the Community Food Systems course, visit our class blog

First Workday of the Season- This Friday 3pm - 5pm

February 16, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
Greetings Gardeners!!

It is time to get in the garden! We will be having our first workday of the season this Friday, Feb. 18th, from 3pm to 5pm at the Alderman/ McCormick garden. Please bring some gloves if you have them, and bring a friend to get the garden going for the season.

We will be cleaning up all of the beds and walkways, repairing the cold frame for the season, working on our compost, and planting some cold loving seeds. Please come join in on the fun!

See you in the garden!

TEDxManhattan Conference Recordings Online

February 15, 2011

by: Kendall Singleton
TEDxManhattan hosted an independently organized TED event last Saturday in New York called "Changing The Way We Eat." With an incredible line-up of sustainable food and agriculture experts and an entire day's worth of talks, the event was surely an inspiring one. Since the audience was limited to only 250 people, many folks around the country participated in remote viewing parties. For those of us that didn't get to tune in on the 12th, the event organizers did film the symposium and it is now available on the TEDxManhattan website. The day was divided into three sessions: 1) What Happened?; 2) Where Are We?; and 3) Where Are We Going?, and the webcasts are organized accordingly -- Session 1: http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/webcast-session-1; Session 2: http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/webcast-session-2; and Session 3: http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/webcast-session-3. Now you can view at your leisure!

CSA Season and the new Bellair Farm

February 15, 2011

by: Benjamin Cohen
CSA sign-up season is about to ramp up, notice of which I imagine will be more common at this site and in the resource section. I'm posting this quick bite to take note of a new one in the Charlottesville area, Bellair Farm. Farmer Jamie Barrett passed along the following information:

"Bellair Farm CSA is located on historic Bellair Farm; 900 beautiful acres just outside Charlottesville, Va. We are committed to building a vibrant community around our ideals of sustainability and respect for the land we steward. Our shareholders choose from 50 different types of the healthiest, freshest vegetables we grow right here on our farm. Our CSA season runs for at least 22 weeks starting in late May. One of our main goals is to connect families to the land, their farmer and their food. We provide over an acre of Pick-Your-Own Crops for our shareholders including, flowers, tomatoes and beans, so that families can experience the harvest and become a part of a real working farm.

"Come be a part of our farm community! We also offer family workshops around sustainable agriculture and host CSA potlucks and events. All our produce is grown with a strict adherence to the organic standards. We'd also like to be a resource for the Charlottesville community to learn about sustainable agriculture. We have loads of volunteer opportunities for groups or individuals.

"To learn more, email Farmer Jamie at bellairfarm@gmail.com or call me at 434-262-9021."

Successful STS J-Term course on Local Food and Agriculture

February 15, 2011

by: Laura Kolar
Professor Benjamin Cohen's J-Term course, STS 2500, "History, Technology and Sustainable Agriculture" enjoyed a productive and successful term. 24 students were in the class, which included an emphasis on partnering with community members on local food issues, such as the Local Food Hub, the UVA Student Garden and Morven Farm. The course included a guest speaker, a trip to Polyface farm, a community forum and a Morven symposium where students presented their projects. Here are links to projects that students did in the class:
Student garden water pump ,

Vegetable Washing Station ,


Greenhouse energy video

See also a recent article on the work and the accomplishments of the class!: article

It was a great term!

What Shall We Eat?

February 12, 2011

by: Lynda Fanning
Every 5 years we get an updated report on what foods, and how much, we ought to be eating; it has the unsexy title of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” USDA and HHS team up for this hefty evidence-based work, last reported in 2005, at which time we learned, among other things, a couple of important numbers: the whopping health benefits of 9 (that’s nine) servings of fruits and veggies and the limit of 2300 mg of sodium, per day. A week or so ago, the 2010 version came out, and once again fruits and veggies get top billing.
Here are some ways the UVA Food Collaborative has, while not our stated objective, influenced the University and Charlottesville communities toward the Dietary Guidelines: promoting locally grown produce via University gardens, the Local Food Hub, the Farmers Market, farm to school/institution, film screenings, a Forum (“What’s on Your Plate?”), website resources, and food system courses. And public health needs all the help it can get, since the main chronic disease states are all related to diet.
The 2010 version’s Executive Summary substitutes detailed nutrition science research for this practical advice: “fill half your plate with a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies,” and we foodies know that’s way easy when they’re pop-in-your-mouth flavorful as local ones usually are. You don’t need a national report to talk you into it.
As for the sodium news for 2010: about half of Americans should go even farther down to 1500 mg of sodium (half a teaspoon of salt) per day…with plenty of research to back it up. (That “half” includes all of us who are 51 and over, all who are African Americans, and all who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, including children.) Since most sodium is found in processed or fast food, enter our sodium-free, unprocessed fresh local veggies, with a higher flavor level so less sodium (as salt) is needed.
But here’s a catch: after telling us what we ought to eat, the other side of USDA’s mouth give us agricultural policies and current monoculture farm practices that are not aligned with these guidelines. If suddenly every American decided to follow the guidelines, we would have to plant over 13 million MORE acres in fruits and veggies than the current roughly 2 million acres. (Compare to over 90 million acres of corn for various uses). As dialog on the new “Farm Bill” is already revving up, Food Collabers will have plenty of opportunities to shine light on whether the bill evolves to align better, or not, with the Dietary Guidelines. It’s like the parent who admonishes “Eat your veggies!” but they are in short supply on the table, and in the fridge.
To check out all the other guidelines, go to www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines and scroll down to “Executive Summary” and its “Key Recommendations.”

First UVA Community Garden Meeting of the Season/ Leadership Application

February 8, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
Come join in the fun!

The first garden meeting of the 2011 year will be this Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 from 1pm- 3pm in the Newcomb Boardroom, room 389.

We will be planning out our spring garden, talking about what and when we will start planting, and planning some activities for the spring season.

Interested in becoming more involved with the garden? We are now accepting applications from 1st and 2nd year students who are interested in joining the UVA Community Garden leadership team! This team of about 8 students currently meets every other week to plan garden events, get the word out to students, organize workdays, workshops, and potlucks – and basically keeps the garden growing each season! Application deadline is Sunday, February 13th
For your application, please compile the following information and send it in a Word doc to uvacommunitygarden@gmail.com:
1. Name/Year
2. To what extent have you been involved with the student garden thus far?
3. Do you have any other farming/gardening experience do you have outside of UVA?
4. Are there any ideas or projects you would like to help make happen in the garden? (ie. workshops, educational programming, planting experiments, etc)

Visiting Polyface Farm

January 23, 2011

by: Sara Teaster
The J-Term classes of PLAP 3160, The Politics of Food, STS 2500, Sustainable Agriculture, ANTH 2890, Unearthing the Past, and EDIS 2910, Beyond the Second Year: Academic Realities and Skills were able to visit Polyface Farm on January 7th. After traveling the winding roads through Augusta county’s beautiful farmland, and crossing over a wooden plank bridge that many were a bit nervous about, we were greeted with a wonderful surprise- Joel Salatin himself. Joel Salatin, a second generation farmer, owner of Polyface Farm, and the rock star of the farming world was gracious and welcoming as he explained the history of his land, and how his farming methods were so closely linked with that history. It was a bitterly cold day, and snow was falling as the tour began, but Salatin’s energy seemed to melt away the frostbite.
Our first stop was a hoop house which housed rabbits, chickens, and pigs. He explained the symbiosis of how these animals, along with his cows, all work together to repair the soil, and produce healthy meat. Walking in the hoop house, the first thing one will notice is the lack of odor. It smelled just earthy, and having visited conventional industrial chicken farms myself where the smell of ammonia is overwhelming, you understand right away the difference in the health and living conditions of Polyface animals, compared to those animals on factory farms. The animals were inside due to the cold temperatures, but still had so much room to run around and play. The pigs were housed in the same hoop house, and it was thrilling to get to walk through a pig sty next to 30 or so squealing pigs, and there was no mess, no smell, just cute little pigs, who were rather unsure about having 100 students walking through their house. But since Polyface Farm rocketed to national stardom from the mention in Omnivore’s Dilemma, I imagine that they are getting used to all the attention, and visitors. We learned that the animals stay inside for no more than 100 days during the cold and then as soon as temperatures warm enough, they will be outside for the rest of their time on the farm.
The next stop on our tour was the cow feeding barn. Again the one thing that was noticeably absent was the “farm smell.” The cows have a winter pasture area, and a specially designed barn area that they can enter and exit at will. Inside the open-air structure, complete with skylights, Joel has installed a special pulley system to raise their food, as the “deposits” from the cows build up over the winter. The deposits are amended with corn and grass, and as the cows step over this area to eat, the deposits are compacted to prevent runoff, which is harmful to waterways. In the spring, the cows, chickens and rabbits, move to the pastures, each animal working to do their part in healing the landscape. Joel equates his chickens to “hard working women” who clean up after the cows and just happen to leave behind some of the freshest best tasting eggs around.
The last area we visited on our tour was a wooded area where the pigs will be moved. Joel explained the importance of forest health, and how disturbances, like fires, or animal movement, are so important to maintaining healthy forest systems. The pigs will move to this area, after they spend time churning the winter cow area into compost.
The day was a wonderful eye opening experience for all. One of the many questions asked this day was can a farming method like this feed the world. Joel’s answer was absolutely YES. He explained that on average grazing cows in our area get 80 cow days, which means that one cow can be fed on the land for 80 days or 80 cows for one day. His farming method provides a system that equals 400 cow days per acre. He explained that farming must not only provide health food, but also provide healthy soils for the future to be a truly sustainable model and that so few models do this. Our current farming system will not be able to feed the world, according to Salatin, and must be changed. Bright thinkers like Joel, and the students in the J-Term classes studying food systems will be the driving forces in changing this system.

Urban Convenience Stores a Solution to Food Deserts?

January 17, 2011

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
Over recent months, a number of large convenience retailers have announced their entry to the food marketplace, including Walgreens and Walmart. Retailers, especially those in urban areas, point to the needs of consumers who may otherwise make a long-distance trips to suburban supermarkets for groceries. Walgreens makes an especially interesting case, as a Chicago-born business, now responding to a documented community issue ("food deserts").

These retail businesses occupy long-standing prime real estate in urban centers. They are extremely efficient organizations that constantly seek to optimize and transfer savings to consumers. While driving out competitors is a popular, but controversial business practice of these retailers, some, like Walmart, have pledged to consider or partner with local food producers.

So, is this a food desert solution? It's an attractive alternative to the enormous cost and risk of purchasing vacant urban land to construct new supermarkets in economically unfavorable locations. However, cost is still a difficult issue for the new food retailers. Walgreens executive Bryan Pugh told the New York Times that there is "a cost of convenience," referring to food prices that are higher at his stores than at conventional supermarkets.

The reason we're concerned about food deserts isn't because of highly-mobile middle to upper-class urban citizens. For people with ample time and resources, we assume that though food convenience is problematic, food security is hardly an issue. Before we think that the influx of food items into the urban retailer marketplace will solve the food desert issue, we should think about the problems caused by economic access.

Physical access to food retailers is only one component of food security, and it is unwise to consider one without the other.

For further reading...
Big Retailers Fill More Aisles With Groceries, by Stephanie Clifford (New York Times).

Happy Winter Break

December 20, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
This site’s activity has slowed down during finals (except for the frequent resource updates in the upper right corner of the homepage), but will pick back up in the New Year. Until then, thanks for a remarkable first year of the Food Collaborative and enjoy the Winter Break. When we return we’ll continue to chart out our Spring activities with input and leadership from all of the members—including film screenings, a grad student seminar series, research projects, the Spring slate of classes (including a supervised independent study on food justice), further involvement with community projects, and planning for the Food Collaborative curriculum at the Morven Summer Institute. We’ll have a meeting in January near the beginning of the semester, but before then feel free, as ever, to keep updating the resources, adding Quick Bites, and forwarding along ideas for building the Collaborative. Ben

World Town Planning Day Online Conference Materials Available

December 6, 2010

by: Kendall Singleton
Last month, a group of eight loosely affiliated planning organizations hosted the second annual World Town Planning Day Online Conference. Those groups in the conference committee recognized the value of collaborating on a worldwide scale, and according to the Conference website, they "felt that an international online conference in celebration of World Town Planning Day was an appropriate way to honor the spirit of this important annual occasion while also building our knowledge of best practices and emerging issues within the planning profession." This year's topic was appropriately themed "Healthy People, Healthy Places, Healthy Planet: Integrating Food Systems into the Planning Process."

Members of the UVa Food Collaborative virtually participated in the conference along with 160 other people spanning 16 countries by listening in on "Perspectives on Urban Food and Agriculture", one of eight sessions available throughout the two-day conference. Both the audio and pdf version of all six break-out sessions' and the two keynote speakers' presentation slides are now online and accessible at the 2010 World Town Planning Day site. The pdfs are available here, http://wtpd2010.blogspot.com/p/conf-presentations.html, and the full presentations are available here, http://wtpd2010.blogspot.com/p/session-recordings.html. The first keynote speaker, Carolyn Steel, architect, TED speaker, and author of Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives, gives a particularly compelling introduction on the ways that the planning field is being fundamentally altered by the active inclusion of food system planning. The files will be on the aforementioned website until January 15th and I encourage you to browse the listings sometime over the next few weeks.

News on the Food Safety Modernization Act

December 1, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
Senate Bill S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, is the big issue this season in the food debate across op-eds, blogs, and news stories. Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser co-wrote an op-ed in the Times on Sunday, "A Stale Food Fight", calling out false claims by opponents of the bill; Grist hosted a special series at their website earlier in November that discussed, among others, concerns from small farmers that the bill would cause undue harm to those who could not afford new regulatory demands. It passed the Senate yesterday, November 30th, by a margin of 73-25. It appears that an amendment to the bill makes it more palatable for small and organic farmers, though I suspect the full payout for the new legislation will need to be debated for some time. The basic parts of the bill that are getting attention include the FDA's new ability to issue food recalls, conduct more effective inspections, and create better parity between standards for domestic and imported foods. Brian Merchant of Treehugger has perhaps the most apt side point, which even he gives parenthetically: The bill "will help. A lot. It's not perfect (yes, the perfunctory phrase that must be uttered before discussing every single piece of legislation passed by Congress ever), but frankly, it does a lot of things that we should have been doing for a long time now." For a sampling of other summaries, see Tom Philpott's post at Grist; Daniel Fromson at The Atlantic; Peter Smith at Good's Food section; Helena Bottemiller at Civil Eats; and Siobhan Adcock at Epicurious.

Give Thanks, Consider the Reach of Food Insecurity

November 29, 2010

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
As we spend the upcoming week swapping stories of delicious Thanksgiving eating, and of course, overeating, many of us will stop to pause to be thankful for the food we consumed. After all, the name of the holiday begs us to give thanks, or at least to consider doing so. With the holidays upon us, we continue in a season that celebrates abundance; however, we should also remember that we live in a nation where many still struggle to feed their families.

While this image is shocking, it is a day-to-day reality for many Americans who are food insecure. A recent Washington Post article illustrates the problem well, and reminds us that there is no "typical case" of food insecurity. We often imagine our country as one with well-designed safety nets, where food is never in short supply, though reality is significantly more stark.

What's needed is a close examination of our food systems. Too many are falling through the holes in the current food safety nets. In a land of incredible plenty (and then some), the disparity is inexcusable.

Public Forum Follow-Up - Scheduled for 12/1

November 19, 2010

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
Mark your calendars!

Meet The Farmer TV will be hosting a screening of the Food Collaborative's recent "What's On Your Plate" Public Forum. This event will be held on December 1, 4:00-5:00PM, in Campbell 153.

A question-and-answer session will follow the screening.

City Council Takes on New Location for City Market

November 17, 2010

by: Lynda Fanning
Charlottesville City Council is, as we speak, preparing to launch a Task Force that will seek a permanent home for the City Market. Since its current parking lot site on Water St. is destined eventually to be developed, the non-profit organization Market Central has been pressing the Council to proactively make a plan. Criteria will include greater space to accommodate more vendors, a more level surface, water, power (including solar), restrooms, recycling, shelter, eating tables, accessibility to low-income, multi-use, etc. All are invited to make suggestions and comments: http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2010/11/09/food-for-thought-where-to-put-the-city-market/#comment-502538
Even though the City Market is officially managed by the City, Market Central, which was founded in 2002 for the sole purpose of supporting and promoting the City Market and its “home”, will be represented on the Task Force; and MC is also recommending that the Food Collaborative be represented. Another good thing: these discussions revealed that both the Mayor (Norris) and Vice-Mayor(Edwards) expressed specific interest in developing a local Food System Council for the area around C’ville and offered a letter of support for a current grant application for that purpose, now in the works by JABA and supported by the Community Obesity Task Force. A Food System Council would be still another opportunity for representation from the Food Collaborative in its community outreach. Stay tuned.

Last Garden Workday of the Season Today- 11/14/10 3pm -5pm

November 14, 2010

by: Sara Teaster
Please join us in the garden today from 3pm-5pm as we hold our last workday of the season. We will be building cold frames, applying compost tea, and cleaning everything up for the winter months.

If you can't join us today, be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities this holiday season, as well as upcoming events over the cold months like cooking classes, film screenings, and special talks.

Hope to see you in the garden today. Bring your tool belt!

Next Student Seminar, Monday, Nov. 15, 4 pm: Laura Kolar

November 10, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
In our third graduate student seminar presentation (and last for this Fall semester), Laura Kolar, PhD Candidate in the Department of History , will speak about her work: "Conservation Policy, the Great Society, and Rural America in the 1960s." The talk addresses how federal agricultural conservation and rural development policy played a vital role in the liberal reform agendas of President Kennedy's New Frontier and President Johnson's Great Society.

The seminar will be held on Monday, November 15th, from 4-5:30 pm, in the Newcomb Boardroom. Everyone is invited, faculty, students, staff, community members. Light refreshments will be served courtesy of UVA Dining. We had dynamic and interdisciplinary audiences at the first two presentations, and hope to continue with this third one. The topic lends itself to vibrant discussion, as concerns about rural development and agricultural conservation are certainly of interest to the members of this group and the broader local food and sustainable agriculture movement. Given that the next Farm Bill is on its way to Congressional debate in the coming years, that people are always re-evaluating the role of food and land use in different political schemes, and that sustainability has replaced conservation as the main term of environmental reference, it will be interesting to learn what role policy debates of the '60s played in the agricultural conditions we continue to address.

Terra Madre Recap Event on Friday, November 5th

November 3, 2010

by: Kendall Singleton
As the Slow Food UVa chapter was organizing and hosting their first formal event of the year in late October, members from Slow Food chapters around the globe were gathering in Turin, Italy, for the biannual international Slow Food gathering, known as Terra Madre. From October 21 through October 24, some 7,000 people gathered at the 2006 Olympic convention space to attend presentations; meet and collaborate with fellow activists, producers, and educators; and be inspired.

Fortunately, as only five delegates from the Charlottesville area attended the event, Slow Food Albemarle Piedmont will be hosting a Terra Madre recap between 5:30 and 7:30 at the Speak! language center downtown (313 2nd St SE Suite 109). Speak! owner Christina Ball will talk about the Italian history of Slow Food, local delegates will share pictures and stories from the conference, and everyone will enjoy wine and goodies inspired by both the Italian and Virginia Piedmont regions. A $10 suggested donation is kindly requested by Slow Food Albemarle Piedmont.

Pumpkin Pot Luck Moved to Thursday due to weather

October 26, 2010

by: Sara Teaster
Due to the incoming storm we are postponing the Pumpkin Pot Luck to Thursday

Same Time, Same Place, Same Pumpkin Fun, Different Day

Thursday, October 28th 5pm -7pm
UVA Community Garden
Corner of Alderman and McCormick
Bring a dish or beverage to share- No alcohol

Suggested $5 Donation to carve a pumpkin

Pumpkin Pot Luck at the UVA Community Garden

October 26, 2010

by: Sara Teaster
Celebrate fall by joining us for a

Pumpkin Potluck at the U.Va. Community Garden

When: Wednesday, October 27th 5-7pm
Where: Corner of Alderman and McCormick
What: Bring a dish or non-alcoholic beverage to share

Suggested $5 donation to carve a pumpkin

See you in the garden!

Free Canning Workshops

October 25, 2010

by: Jen O'Brien
Join the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning's 100-Mile Thanksgiving Committee at the Haven at First & Market (112 West Market Street) for FREE canning workshops. The dates are Saturday, Nov. 6th, 10:00am-Noon, and Tuesday, Nov. 16th, 3:00-5:00pm, and we'll be making apple butter and dried apples. Email jlo9eh@virginia.edu to reserve a spot and get more info.

UVa International Slow Food Chapter

October 21, 2010

by: Marga Odahowski
This Sunday a group of UVa students are meeting for a farm to lawn dinner to celebrate the official UVa International Slow Food Chapter. One of the goals of the group is to collaborate with other student groups around local food and promote mindful eating practices-meaningful connections with people, culture and food. The tenets of the international slow food movement are about balance. A marrying of la doce vita with our changing information age. Striking a balance between fast and slow. I am serving as the faculty support. Contact me for more information.


October 17, 2010

by: Michelle Rehme
Join us Monday, October 18th @ 4pm (in Newcomb Boardroom) for the second of 3 graduate student seminars brought to you by the UVA Food Collaborative. The purpose of these engaging, informal seminars is to showcase the work being done by UVA graduate students in the realm of food and agriculture studies, to provide valuable feedback for each student's research, and to initiate an ongoing dialogue about community food systems at the University.

This month, Bart Elmore, PhD Candidate in the Department of History, will be presenting on the topic of the Coca-Cola Company's Quest for Public Water Resources, 1886-2010.

"For over a century, the Coca-Cola Company has depended on a steady supply of hydrological resources from all over the world to produce its beverages, today requiring an annual allowance of over 300 billion liters of fresh clean water to keep its business running. In order to increase volume growth, the company has relied on government support to keep the cost of hydrological resource extraction down. This paper explores the environmental consequences of Coke's neoliberal expansion strategy, focusing on Coke’s effective externalization of the environmental costs associated with the extraction of water in provider communities all across the globe."

Food Collab Seeking Undergraduate Researchers

October 12, 2010

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
This is the season of applications for many undergraduate research funding opportunities! The Food Collaborative would like to support several undergraduate research proposals as part of our mission to further academic research and engagement surrounding the broad topic of food. Support may take the form of letters of support, application feedback, references, or other areas of need.

To this end, we have outlined three of the best-known grants available to undergrads below, and would like to solicit input from all interested students and faculty. Please contact Ben Cohen (bcohen@virginia.edu) or Paul Freedman (freedman@virginia.edu) if you are interested in getting started... but remember, time is of the essence.

Best of luck with your applications!


Current 1st/2nd/3rd Years, Up to $3,000

Upcoming Info Session:
10/26 -Harrison Award Info Session, 3 pm, Byrd Room, Harrison Institute


All Years Potentially Eligible, Amounts Vary (see website)
Upcoming Deadlines & Events

10/18/2010 JPC Proposal Writing, Session 1, 4-5 pm, Newcomb Hall 289
10/21/2010 Preparing Your Application, Session 2, 4-5 pm, Newcomb Hall, Kaleidoscope room
11/15/2010 IRB Abstract Due, International Travel Form Due
12/01/2010 2010 JPC applications due


Current Undergraduates, Up to $5,000

Oct. 13th T&E Meats Tour

October 11, 2010

by: Jen O'Brien
Wednesday, October 13th is the urban and environmental planning department's tour of T&E Meats! We're leaving from the Peyton House parking lot at 12:10pm. You will not want to miss this chance to visit this small-scale, independently-owned, USDA inspected, sustainably-produced meat processing facility owned by Joe Cloud and Joel Salatin. Everyone is welcome to come, and the event is free.

Even if you can't come, read Joe Cloud's piece from The Atlantic, "The Fight to Save Small Scale Slaughterhouses." http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/05/the-fight-to-save-small-scale-slaughterhouses/57114/

Email me if you're interested in joining us!


100-Mile Thanksgiving Potluck

October 6, 2010

by: Jen O'Brien
Every fall, the UVa Department of Urban & Environmental Planning celebrates local food and those who provide it through the 100-Mile Thanksgiving Potluck. The dinner is attended by urban planning students and faculty members, as well as Charlottesville area food leaders and producers. In the weeks that precede the potluck, the 100-Mile Thanksgiving Committee coordinates (free!) trips and events to highlight local food options. While space limitations prevent us from inviting people outside of the department to the potluck, the pre-Thanksgiving events are open to anyone. If you'd like to participate, please email me at jlo9eh@virginia.edu. Information about past events is available on the blog: http://hundredmilethanksgiving.wordpress.com.

Our event schedule is as follows:

Oct 7: Food Collaborative Forum
4-6:00pm at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, 112 Clarke Court

Oct 13: True & Essential Meats Tour
12:00pm meet up at the Peyton House for rides to Harrisonburg, Va

Oct 16: Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Fest
10-4:30pm at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va

Oct 27: Pumpkin Potluck
4-6:00pm at the UVa Community Garden, across from O-Hill Dining Hall

Nov 2 & 6: Canning Workshops at the Haven
Tuesday the 2nd from 9:30-11:30am, and Saturday the 6th from 10-12:00pm at the Haven at First and Market

11.13 Polyface Farm Visit
Time and rides TBD, Polyface Farm is located in Staunton, Va

11.19 100-Mile Thanksgiving Potluck
7:00pm at St. Paul’s Church, 1700 University Avenue

Food Analysis at Runk

October 5, 2010

by: Rich Gregory

I have taken all the nutritional information displayed for Lunch and Dinner at Runk on the campusdish website:


and collected it in one text file. This helps me make healthy choices.

If you wish to use this info when you visit Runk, the URL is


I used the PHP language to aggregate this info and the source code is listed in that directory as

* 000.introduction.php
* 000.master.script.txt
* AA.first.code.txt
* AA.second.code.txt
* AA.third.code.TESTDECK.txt

I have make a similar file for OHill for Fall 2010.


Marian Burros, "What's On Your Plate?" panelist

October 5, 2010

by: Paul Freedman
An award-winning journalist and cookbook author, Marian Burros has been a senior staff writer at the New York Times and previously served as its restaurant critic. She is best known for her work in the fields of health and nutrition as well as consumer affairs issues, food safety reporting and sustainable agriculture. She has recently covered the White House vegetable garden, and the First Lady’s Childhood Obesity Initiative, and efforts to promote healthy eating. Burros now writes for a number of publications, including Flavor magazine. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Tom Philpott, panelist for "What's On Your Plate?"

October 1, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
[this post was written by Food Collab member Jen Lucas. brc]

Who better to participate on a panel about local food and the media than a food journalist who is also a full-time farmer? Good thing we’ve got Tom Philpott (along with two other panelists) for “What’s On Your Plate?” the UVa Food Collaborative’s public forum on local food and the media. Tom Philpott is the food editor for Seattle-based Grist.org and writes the nation’s only weekly column on food politics (called Victual Reality). He is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Maverick Farms, a sustainable-agriculture nonprofit and small farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. To top it off, he’s funny (wait, isn’t everyone who works for Grist funny? I think it is a requirement for employment, seriously).

Philpott’s recent article “Whimpering Watchdogs” covers the need for the FDA and USDA to grow a backbone! While his piece Thin Gruel takes Ezra Klein of The Washington Post to task for claiming that industrial agriculture is our entire future (click here). If you can’t wait until he’s here in person, check out more of Philpott’s engaging works, including his coverage of the recent egg disaster.

James McWilliams, panelist for "What's On Your Plate?"

September 29, 2010

by: Elizabeth Farrell
The upcoming UVA Food Collaborative forum entitled, “What’s On Your Plate?,” is nearly upon us – in just a week our panelists will be arriving to the UVA grounds. Two will come from locations on the east coast, but the third panelist, James McWilliams, is flying all the way from Texas State University to participate. After reviewing his recent articles, I am confident that his contribution, along with the other panelists, will foster a discussion well worth a cross-country journey. The author of four books, McWilliams is also a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. His most recent article “The Evils of Corn Syrup: How Food Writers Got it Wrong,” investigates the legitimacy behind the common claim that high fructose corn syrup is responsible for American health issues, obesity in particular. Along with this one, many of McWilliam’s chosen article topics are intriguing because he not only questions aspects of the industrial food system, but challenges the local food movement as well. Read some of his articles at http://www.theatlantic.com/james-mcwilliams/ - you’ll likely come up with great questions you’d like to ask him. Luckily you can do so in person at the forum next Thursday, October 7th from 4-6pm at the Jefferson Scholars Building.

PLAN 1030 Students Visit the UVa Community Garden

September 28, 2010

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
This afternoon, about 60 students from Professor Timothy Beatley's introductory planning course (PLAN 1030) joined Garden Manager Sara Teaster and I at the UVa Community Garden as a course field trip. The students were from a variety of years, disciplines, schools, and levels of experience with gardens. Sara and I talked about the history of the garden, gave a brief overview of what's currently happening (and growing), and then we worked on some of the beds, allowing the students to get their hands dirty .

Though I was excited to see all of the new faces in the garden, it was really powerful for me to give a tour of a space that was only a dream two years ago. I look at the garden as more than a plot of land: it represents an immense effort on the part of students, faculty, staff, and community members. Countless hours spent developing proposals, meeting in groups and committees, recruiting support, and then - finally - building and planting the UVa Community Garden.

The garden is now a fixture, and it still represents more than fruits and vegetables. The garden means outreach, education, community, networking, and sustainability. Most importantly, the garden means that anybody is welcome to come and add to how it is defined.

Student Seminar Series

September 19, 2010

by: Michelle Rehme
Join us Monday, Sept. 20th @ 4pm for the first of 3 graduate student seminars brought to you by the UVA Food Collaborative. The purpose of these engaging, informal seminars is to showcase the work being done by UVA graduate students in the realm of food and agriculture studies, to provide valuable feedback for each student's research, and to initiate an ongoing dialogue about community food systems at the University.

This month, Ben Chrisinger, a graduate student in Urban and Environmental Planning, will leading a discussion on Community Food Projects: Seeds for Grassroots Planning and Social Resiliency.

Light, local refreshments will be provided by UVA Dining.

Upcoming seminar dates are as follows:
Monday, October 18:
Bart Elmore - PhD Candidate, Dept. of History
"Turning Water Into Pemberton's Wine of Coca:
The Coca-Cola Company's Quest for Public Water Resources, 1886-2010"

Monday, November 15th:
Laura Kolar - PhD Candidate, Dept. of History
"Conservation Policy: The Great Society and Rural America in the 1960s "

Local Food Assessment for Northern Virginia

September 16, 2010

by: Carla Jones
In August 2010, FamilyFarmed.org released the Local Food Assessment for Northern Virginia. One of its authors, Megan Bucknum, is a 2009 graduate of UVa's Urban and Environmental Planning graduate program. Megan took the Food System Planning course in 2008 and served as the course T.A. in 2009, graduating with the full intention of finding work in the field of food system planning. And she did! The assessment focuses on the successes and challenges of local food in the Piedmont Region of Northern Virginia. Some of the study’s findings were shocking, such as “$16.8 billion is spent annually on fruits and vegetables in the tri-state area surrounding and including Washington DC (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia), and less than 7% of that expenditure is currently produced in the region).” The study also found that current production levels are not comparable to the supply needed, but offer some practical solutions. For more information on the study, please visit http://www.familyfarmed.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Northern-VA-LFS-Assessment-Final-Report.pdf.

Make it a Local Lunch

September 15, 2010

by: Kendall Singleton
For those students whose meal plan and class schedule has turned them into regular patrons at Newcomb Dining Hall, tomorrow's themed lunch should be enough to get you in line extra early. For those that don't regularly frequent Newcomb, you should make an exception tomorrow for the "Make it a Local Lunch" themed meal. The produce is sourced from the Local Food Hub, a nonprofit focused on strengthening our local food supply by way of ensuring economic and environmental vitality for the area's small family farmers. The Food Hub itself works with close to 30 farmers, almost all of which are located less than 30 miles from Charlottesville. By working under this hub umbrella, these local farmers are able to reach markets -- UVa Health System, UVa Dining, the Charlottesville Public School System -- that are otherwise unavailable to them due to distribution, insurance, and supply logistics. The Local Food Hub fills an important niche for them, and also for us consumers: they enable us to have a steadier supply of fresh, healthy and sustainably grown (and delicious!) food.

The menu includes:
Sage & Apple Pork Loin
Fruited Demi Glace including cherries, currants, raisins and cranberry
Sautéed Smokehouse Pepper Green beans
Roasted Autumn Vegetables including Delicata, Butternut, Acorn, and Buttercup Squash with Yukon Potatoes
Warm Dinner Rolls with Wildflower Honey

1st Annual Corn Fest- Friday September 17th

September 14, 2010

by: Sara Teaster
Please come to the UVA Garden space on the corner of Alderman and McCormick this Friday, September 17th from 5pm-7pm. Bring a dish or beverage to share (no alcohol) and enjoy some freshly grilled corn on the cob. Music, Games, Dinner. GOOD FOOD, GOOD MUSIC, GOOD PEOPLE.
Please tell and bring a friend.
To save on waste, bring your own plate and fork. For additional information, please visit our blog:

New Food Energy: A reinspiring screening of "FRESH"

September 10, 2010

by: Benjamin Chrisinger
It was exciting to see a packed house at last night's screening of "FRESH" (http://www.freshthemovie.com/), co-sponsored by the Food Collaborative and Hereford Residential College. A healthy mix of students, faculty, staff, and community turned out to watch the film, which was followed by a panel discussion. What was even more exciting to me was to see a number of new faces - often, we find at UVa (and similarly in Charlottesville) that mostly a number of passionate individuals show up to all of the food discussions, i.e. "the usual suspects." Not so last night!

"FRESH" is the perfect mix of realism and optimism for any audience. They don't paint the current state of the American food system as a total hopeless failure, but they are also deliberate about showing images and stories that will make you think twice before making your next industrial meat purchase. The film is honest, but most importantly, it is hopeful. It leaves the audience inspired by food leaders, like Joel Salatin (who spoke about a year ago in the same room as the screening) and Will Allen. What dynamic, powerful leaders.

Watching "FRESH" is, well, refreshing. There are plenty of things that hinder the movement toward healthier, more accessible, locally-grown foods. But, as the film asks, what are we doing as individuals to support a better food system? The film left me with hope, and a renewed sense of purpose; I trust that much of the audience felt the same way.

More on Joel Salatin (of Polyface Farms): http://www.polyfacefarms.com/
More on Will Allen (of Growing Power): http://www.growingpower.org/

Heritage Harvest Festival this Saturday at Monticello

September 8, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello is hosting its 4th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival this Saturday, Sept. 11. (Here’s the link.) I know of at least two Food Collaborative members who are participating: Kendall Singleton is speaking at 10:30 am at the set-up under the Relay Foods tent; and I’m there later that day, at 1:30 pm, also at the Relay Foods tent. (I take it these tents are like side stages at a music festival; they also have a slate of workshops and Main Event speakers throughout the day. I also suspect there are more members involved that I haven’t seen notice of yet.) Kendall’s talk is called "Ifarm: Sustainability for the Internet Generation." I’ll be serving two roles, speaking for about 10 or so minutes about the Food Collaborative and for the rest of the time about my book, which deals with science and agriculture in Jeffersonian America. If you can make it, you can pitch in.

Meat Free Monday comes to U.Va. Dining

August 26, 2010

by: Kendall Singleton
The three U.Va. Dining residential dining halls - Runk, Newcomb and O-Hill - are sporting a slight modification each Monday this year: the transformation of a station into a meat-free zone serving only vegan or vegetarian entrees during lunch and dinner. All of those dining halls already features a vegan/vegetarian station for every meal, but the Meat Free Monday station will be a special addition at the start of each week. The rationale behind this new campaign is both environmentally and nutritionally based. Conventional (factory farmed) meat consumption takes a toll on our natural resources: deforestation is common to accomodate herds of cattle in the Amazon; beef production in particular is quite water intensive; and the process of raising livestock can result in the release of atmospheric pollutants which contribute to the greenhouse gas count. Additionally, even a slight reduction in meat consumption -- say, once a week -- can help combat type 2 diabetes, cancer, risk of heart disease, and obesity. It's a win-win -- and taste certainly doesn't have to be sacrificed. U.Va. Dining chefs have developed dishes like Thai curry noodles with tofu, veggie fajitas, and red pepper fritattas to please the palate. For those with lingering concerns that going meat-free will result in a protein deficiency, the good news is that the typical American diet contains more protein than we generally need, and individuals can get plenty of meat-free protein from legumes, nuts and seeds, and dairy. Try it out next Monday!

Orchard season

August 25, 2010

by: Benjamin Cohen
It’s apple season, and peach season, and cider and donuts soon. Carter Mountain Orchard is remarkably popular around here—my kids take field trips there every year from school—but let me also recommend Fruit Hill Orchards. Fruit Hill is down in Fluvanna County, my home county, on Rt. 53. It’s a good dozen, maybe thirteen miles south of Monticello. It’s a smaller orchard just off the side of the road, with a decent selection and excellent apples. We recently picked Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold, Gala, and Fuji apples, and a few peaches too. We also bought some plum jelly and assorted tomatoes, all pretty reasonably priced. Here’s a map of (not to) their place.

UVA Medical Center works with Local Food Hub

August 19, 2010

by: Lynda Fanning
While many health care institutions, including Children's Hospitals, sport fast food outlets within their complex, UVA Medical Center is moving in an opposite direction. Its two hospital cafeterias are holding their Thursday and Friday Farmstands for the 3rd summer season, this year sourcing their local produce through the Local Food Hub, and using photos to feature the specific farms. Added to this nudge toward healthy food shopping for the Medical Center's huge staff as well as for visitors, this year Nutrition Services, run by Morrison Healthcare Food Service, is systematically using the produce in its own cafeteria offerings as well as on patient trays. A case in point, no pun intended, they go through 40-50 cases (25 lbs each) of local tomatoes, 400-600 lbs a week of local red potatoes, plus another 50 lbs of local yukon golds , and similarly take in squashes, cucumbers, and peppers, as well as in season , fresh greens and broccoli . The goal is to maximize the use of local produce, a task that is unworkable purchasing directly from several individual small farms, but with the Local Food Hub, there's one call, and one delivery, as well as traceability (per food per farm) and liability (food safety is paramount in a hospital). With the "pop-in-your-mouth" flavor of local foods, they're hoping to finally obliterate the term "hospital food." Morrison as a corporation espouses Health Care Without Harm's initiative: "Healthy Food in Health Care".

Check out this link (http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/19261-Morrison-Takes-a-Stand-for-Healthy-Food-in-Health-Care) about their work; then see this YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIEsx84E8FY) about the Local Food Hub/UVA Medical Ctr. partnership.



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