FOOD JUSTICE a look at the ridge street neighborhood

Whitney Newton May 7, 2013 PLAC 5500


The Ridge Street Neighborhood
Baseline Audit and Neighborhood Service Food Justice Findings
Community Engagement

II. Case Studies
MoGro Mobile Grocery Store The Grocery Bus
Project GROWS
The People’s Grocery

III. Community-based Ideas Make food a Priority

Early Education in the Garden and Kitchen

Community Empowerment and Cultural Values
IV. Creating Food Justice in the Ridge Street Neighborhood

I. Food Justice

Access to safe, good, and nutritious food is a human right. All people should feel they have the power to decide when, where, and what they eat regardless of socioeconomic circumstance — how much they can pay or how much time they have. All producers should feel they have the power to decide what and how they grow, raise, and harvest food. All farm workers should feel they have the power to earn a living wage and work under safe and stable working conditions. Food justice exists at the intersection of these ideas. Food justice is the safe and fair production, the equitable and responsible distribution, and the independent and informed preparation of fresh, nutritious food. This report looks at food justice in the Ridge Street neighborhood of Charlottesville, Virginia. The report begins with a baseline audit, analyzing the existing food system in the neighborhood. Given the strengths and opportunities found in the audit, the report presents case studies, building a base of ideas from other cities that are encouraging food justice. These ideas were presented to residents and members of the community, thus resulting in ideas practical and appropriate for the Ridge Street community. To- gether, research and community insight begin to inform a vision of food justice in Char- lottesville. Certainly not the only way or only definition of justice, these ideas are meant as a starting place for a larger discussion, helping to make food justice a bigger part of Charlottesville’s conscience though neighborhood planning, policy, and practice.

The Ridge Street Neighborhood

As shown in the map in Figure 1, the Ridge Street neighborhood is defined by Ridge Street to the west, Sixth Street to the east, and Garrett Street to the north, ta- pering south to the city limits. Like most of the city, the neighborhood has seen many changes over the last fifty years, notably with the extension of Fifth Street in the 1970s. In recent years, most changes have been positive. The addition of bike lanes, the Cres- cent Hall market, and public art; the maintenance of historic homes, sidewalks, commu- nity gardens, and Tonsler Park; and the continued vitality of church communities such as Mt. Zion First African Baptist and Portico are signs of a vibrant and healthy neighbor- hood filled with residents with a diversity of interests and incomes and spanning a range of ages and employment.

food not bombs

Figure 1 (Author): Strengths of Ridge Street, highlighted in red, and it’s neighborhood, highlighted in grey.

Baseline Audit and Neighborhood Service

The baseline audit, which can be found in Appendix A, analyzes food in the Ridge Street neighborhood through the lens of public health, food and farm workers, food-based economic development, school based food and nutrition, food access and infrastructure, policy, and food insecurity and hunger. I conducted this audit for the Ridge Street neighborhood along with Kevin Nguyen. To perform the survey, we relied on they city’s comprehensive and neighborhood plans, websites and literature pub- lished by food and policy-related organizations, informal interviews, and observational walking and bicycling tours of the neighborhood. We split up, finding our own answers, coming back together to compare our results to form more holistic answers.

The process of understanding and getting to know the community to conduct the baseline audit and then find community members willing to share their own insights was challenging. Although I was able to talk with one active member of the Friendship Court Community Center and work with the Urban Agricultural Collective of Charlottes- ville (UACC), I had a hard time overcoming suspicion and confusion about my interests in food justice and finding people prepared to talk to me or see my “service” as helpful. In the end, time and continued interest proved the most successful method in forming the relationships necessary to find and interview community members and perform the baseline audit.
Food Justice Findings

From the audit, I discovered that the Ridge Street neighborhood has many strong components of a food system working towards justice. Among these strengths, which are highlighted in the map in Figure 1, is UACC. A program that brings people together through urban agriculture, UACC has multiple large production gardens near Friend-

ship Court and hosts and sells the produce at market days during the growing season at Crescent Hall. UACC provides fresh vegetables to almost 50 families, giving community members the opportunity to work for or, based on need, receive tokens for food. Along with the gardens of UACC, members of the Haven, a homeless resource center located north of the Ridge Street neighborhood, run and maintain a garden on the slopes east of Ridge Street. The Woodfolk house, off of Old Ridge Street, produces food, similarly promoting community, environment, and agriculture.

In addition to having gardens, the Ridge Street neighborhood is within walking and biking distance to the city farmers’ market, just north of the neighborhood’s bound- ary, and Food Not Bombs, which hosts a weekly distribution of food gleaned from vari- ous stores and resturants around town at Tonsler Park. The children in the neighbor- hood attend Clark Elementary and Buford Middle Schools, both of which have gardens through the City Schoolyard Garden program; free and reduced lunch and breakfast programs; and have a goal of working towards more nutritious, locally sourced meals.

The audit also identifies gaps and opportunities for improvement in food justice in the Ridge Street community, which are shown in Figure 2. Most notably, the community has few grocery stores, affordable restaurants, and convenience stores with nutritious options. Perhaps related to this, obesity and food-related diseases have increased in the neighborhood, as well as the city, over the last decade.
Community Engagement

I had the privilege of supplementing baseline research with the thoughts and insights of members of the neighborhood and city. Over the semester, I talked with Ms. Beatrice Clark, long time resident of Charlottesville and active member of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church; Mr. Curtis Morton, another long time resident and cultivator of beautiful

Figure 2 (Author): Opportunities in the Ridge Street neighborhood to improve food justice.

Dahlias; Mr. Todd Niemeier, lead farmer for UACC; Ms. Emily Axelbaum, lead gardener at Buford Middle School’s City Schoolyard Garden, and Ms. Holly Edwards, former city council member and a proactive leader in nursing and healthcare in the city. Though the audit identifies strengths and gaps of the Ridge Street neighborhood, talking to mem- bers of the neighborhood helps form a narrative around these strengths and gaps, plac- ing them in a context of the past and present thought surrounding food.

From these interviews it became clear that nutritious, fresh food, for one reason or another, is not a priority for many residents. There is the perception that, while many residents may make enough money to have a choice in what they eat, increasingly busy schedules have taken over, making fast or processed foods the most appealing or practical option. On the other hand, as brought up by Todd Neimeier, those who do not

make enough money have little or no choice in what they eat or the ability to spend time traveling to, purchasing, or preparing food. During many of these interviews, the loss of knowledge, community, and tradition surrounding food preparation emerged as an un- dercurrent to larger ideas about time, health, food choice, and culture. Similarly, the city farmers’ market kept coming up, continually recast as an alienating place that caters to a homogenous, affluent, white clientele, not necessarily welcoming, affordable, or comfort- able to those who do not fit that description.

From these interviews, it also became apparent that some view injustice as a symp- tom of the larger, systematic loss of a job market that can support a variety of skills and educational levels. Although solving this inequality is a larger matter entirely, it is a healthy reminder that food is deeply rooted in the social structure of culture and economy.

It must not be forgotten that those interviewed also reinterred that there are many active, enthusiastic, and successful organizations already promoting food justice in the neighborhood. Beatrice Clark, who regularly volunteers with UACC, praised the market days at Crescent Halls as a good way to supply fresh vegetables to people from all over the city and county. Similarly, in my interview with Emily Axelbaum, I learned that since the inception of the garden at Buford, food consciousness and education have become inte- gral aspects of the middle school curriculum, now units of focus in life sciences and gym class.

Each interview painted a slightly different view of food justice. Though each per- spective has a slightly different emphasis – making food a cultural value or priority, early and continued education, and empowerment through education, access to resources, and awareness – each recognizes the complex and multi-facet nature to a just system. Impossible to tackle each facet at once, the case studies and community ideas that follow

illustrate ways that other communities are finding food justice and amplify local ideas by investigating the steps necessary for implementation within existing networks and poli- cies.

II. Case Studies

MoGro Mobile Grocery Store: making food a priority

The Pueblo communities of Santo Domingo, Cochiti, Jemez, Laguna, and San Felipe, New Mexico, have a history of poverty, high rates of diet-related disease, and are considered “food deserts”, lacking grocery stores and restaurants that sell fresh or nutri- tious food. In an attempt to combat this, Richard and Elizabeth Schnieders envisioned and implemented a mobile grocery that sells fresh produce and more nutritious food while also supporting options to make this food more affordable.

Since 2011, the MoGro1 truck has been visiting pre-designated sites in each community two half days per week. A partnership between Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and La Montanita Co-op Food Market means that the MoGro program incorporates community education about exercise, nutrition, and traditional ag- ricultural practices with the business of purchasing, managing, and transporting food. To make it more affordable, community members can qualify for MoGroBucks for discounts and use electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

Thus far, MoGro has been met with an enthusiastic response from the popula- tion and media. However, working in a traditional community, MoGro’s biggest chal- lenges have centered on encouraging and maintaining a consistent customer base for foods that are slightly different than what families are used to. Although the population of Ridge Street is not as perceivably traditional as the Pueblo, as with any neighborhood,

attempting to change tastes and food preferences would be a challenge. Due to the possibly fluctuating customer base, it could be a good idea to consider partnering with or mobilizing a second branch of an existing grocery store, or even working with the suc- cess of Relay Foods2 to balance sales in Charlottesville.

The benefits of a mobile grocery store, however, could outweigh potential chal- lenges in its ability to facilitate the purchase of nutritious, fresh food on a regular basis, making it easier to prioritize food not only in the neighborhood, but around the city and, possibly, the county. Like MoGro, a holistic focus on education could further facilitate changing food habits.

To encourage a for-profit mobile grocery store in Charlottesville begins at the planning level with zoning and ordinance regulations in the Ridge Street neighborhood. The city is in the process of drafting a food truck ordinance. Current restrictions maintain that food trucks park no closer than 100 feet from a residence. This would affect parking location, an important factor to the success of a mobile grocery store.
Grocery bus: making food a priority

The opposite of bringing a grocery store to the neighborhood is to bring the neighborhood to the grocery store. In Austin, Texas and Hartford, Connecticut, this has been the norm since the mid-nineties. In Austin, what began as the “Grocery Bus” has transformed into regular bus routes that focus on providing transportation between residential areas and full-service grocery stores for low-income residents who might not otherwise have an efficient mode of transportation. Similarly, Hartford’s L-Tower Avenue bus route provides riders with an efficient route to both food and jobs.3

The key to public transportation is optimizing efficiency and cost. This runs coun- ter to the key to food justice in transportation – maintaining choice while maximizing

route efficiency. Although balancing both would be a challenge, certain areas of the Ridge Street neighborhood, such as Friendship Court and Crescent Halls, would benefit from the service of a grocery bus. Like a mobile grocery store, this would facilitate, or
at least open the possibility for, the purchase of fresh, nutritious foods, again, making it easier to incorporate these foods into daily diet.
Project GROWS: early education

Project GROWS4 is a non-profit located in Augusta County, Virginia, that teaches children to grow food and make connections between their health and where their food comes from. The organization has several programs throughout the year to keep chil- dren involved and keep food, activity, and community a primary focus of their lives. For instance, a summer youth program takes children to the project’s 10 acre community farm where they work together for six-weeks to learn about growing food. Through
this process they learn about sustainable farming techniques, nutrition, and preparing healthy meals. The community farm also welcomes students and community groups throughout the season. The food grown on the farm is sold through a Community Sup- ported Agriculture (CSA) share program, which supports the program’s costs and helps to make the summer program accessible for all children. Similarly, the produce is oc- casionally sold at the Farmers’ Market as a way to promote the program and increase awareness in the community about growing food and about nutrition.

Project GROWS also partners with the Boys & Girls Club of surrounding counties to make compost for the community farm. The Boys & Girls Club uses worm composting to turn their food scraps into soil, which is then transported to the farm, further increas- ing awareness of the holistic, inexpensive and potentially waste-reducing processes that surround healthy food and its production. The community farm welcomes volunteers,

which further increases involvement and awareness.
UACC at Friendship Court could follow or partner with City Schoolyard Gardens

to follow a model similar to project GROWS to increase youth involvement during sum- mer months. Similar to the Primo Plato program through the PB&J Fund of Charlottes- ville, the Friendship Court community center could serve as a place to educate children and their parents about healthy eating habits and nutritious ways to prepare the food grown in the garden or purchased at the grocery. The City Farmers’ Market, so close to Friendship Court, could serve as a platform for awareness and increasing resources. The People’s Grocery: community empowerment

The People’s Grocery5, an organization in West Oakland, California, brings em- powerment to low-income residents through a local and just food system. Comprised of several components, the People’s Grocery runs a small farm in what was once a park- ing lot; runs leadership development by leading workshops at the farm and elsewhere on local food, economy, and fundraising, then passing the task of teaching on to other community members in continually growing engagement; and runs nutrition education programs, also empowering graduates of the program to receive a stipend for leading their own nutrition demonstrations. The People’s Grocery works with a local farm, which also works with local residents, to organize a CSA program that provides a weekly box of produce to participating community members.

The People’s Grocery centralizes community resources in a way that is just and accessible because it is run and wholly embraced by members of the community. If implemented in the Ridge Street Neighborhood, a similar organization could inspire and empower those to have a say in their food, livelihood, and health. This would help to make food a priority by also promoting a path to self-sufficiency in a way that fosters job

creation, training, and education.

III. Community-based Ideas

Making Food a Priority

Todd Neimeier, lead gardener of UACC, sees processed, unwholesome food as the product of a culture that does not prioritize healthful food. Beatrice Clark furthers this, noticing that people seem to have less time than they once did. Encouraging more people to purchase and prepare nutritious foods, therefore, would require changing
the perception that healthy food is bland, expensive, and time consuming. According to Todd, this could be encouraged by increasing opportunities to grow, purchase, or work for fresh food, in this way incorporating the idea that, although food does take time, it is worth it the time.

Rather than focusing on increasing farmers’ markets or encouraging existing retail to carry more produce and wholesome foods, Todd says that increasing the num- ber and accessibility of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organizations could be a way to supply fresh foods to more families while also supporting the farms that grow food that is good for people and the environment. This has implications for zoning and land-use in the city and surrounding county and could be encouraged by incentivizing and facilitating farms at a variety of scales, with a variety of business models to promote diverse clientele.

Holly Edwards also thinks that food justice could improve in the Ridge Street neighborhood, and Charlottesville in general, through diversifying clientele. Although she agrees that a city market is one way to improve food justice, the current city market has become a middle class meeting ground, a place without much diversity in clientel.

To increase diversity in the people who visit the market might mean encouraging more diversity in vendors or even more diversity in location. For instance, she suggested that a market at the Jefferson City School might be a good place for a diverse market, lever- aging the array of people who already visit the center.

According to Chris Gibson, owner of Gibson’s Grocery just east of the Ridge Street neighborhood, fresh fruits and herbs could more easily supplement the every- day diet if these plants were a part of the landscape. Planting streetscapes, parks, and vacant land with native species of fruit trees, vines, and bushes would allow residents to pick and eat for free. To do this, Parks and Recreation would need to learn to plant and maintain slightly different species and, when near roads, care would need to be taken to ensure that falling fruit does not interfere with traffic.
Early Education in the Garden and in the Kitchen

Curtis Morton, the Dahlia man at the City Farmers’ Market, emphasizes the im- portance of getting children in the garden. As he explained, a child who gardens learns to work with, not against, the natural processes of the world, a mindset that extends to everyday situations, conflicts, and choices. There are several programs in Charlottes- ville that already involve youth or gardening – the UACC, City Schoolyard Gardens, the Boys and Girls Club, and the PB&J Fund – which could serve as platforms for collabora- tion to expand opportunities for children in the garden.

Emily Axelbaum, lead gardener of City Schoolyard Gardens at Buford Middle School, believes that gardening gives children the opportunity to question and make informed decisions about the food they eat and their health. When asked about poten- tially collaborating with UACC to increase youth participation she was unsure about a direct partnership between UACC and City Schoolyard Garden. As she explained, the

two organizations have different functions in the community. UACC, a production gar- den, and City Schoolyard Garden, an educational curriculum, are different enough that direct partnership could cause productivity to decrease. Although UACC does focus on food production, according to Todd Neimeier, it is primarily an organization that brings different people together to work towards a common goal. Thus the roles of each orga- nization do lend to a natural progression. A system of collaboration, not necessarily part- nership, could encourage graduates or “advanced gardeners” from the Buford Garden to work with UACC to extend their interest to produce vegetables for their families and others in the community.

After it is grown, organizations such as the PB&J Fund or the Boys and Girls Club could teach kids and their parents about preparing food in ways that are easy, nutritious, and desirable. PB&J’s Primo Plato program already does this by traveling to different locations around Charlottesville6. In the Ridge Street neighborhood, the Com- munity Center at Friendship Court would be a good addition to the locations visited by the Primo Plato program.

According to Holly Edwards, Todd Niemeier has been nothing less than amazing in keeping the UACC running through community networks and relationships. To her, Todd’s personality has been tremedious in planting a seed in young people about food, farming, and their relationship to urban living and health. This highlights, that almost more than anything, personalities and realtionships are essential to making any move- ment work. Collaborations, such as one between UACC and other youth organizations or between any exisiting food justice entities in Charlottesville, would only strenghthen individual efforts to something more powerful.

Community Empowerment and Cultural Values

To produce food that is grown and harvested in a manner that is just requires that pro- ducers and farm workers receive wages that are fair and work under conditions that are safe. However, to provide fair wages and safe working conditions cost money and, unless subsi- dized, these costs must be passed to the consumer to ensure that good food continues to be produced in ways that are just. This runs counter to the idea that a just food system is one
that provides food that is affordable for everyone. According to Todd Neimeier, this contradic- tion would be null if there were more job opportunities – that is if people had more options to work for a living wage proportional to the real cost of good food. Though this subject quickly approaches something larger than food, it is integrally related and can, at least in part, be ad- dressed through community empowerment, education, and employment in food production and distribution as illustrated in some of the case studies presented above.

IV. Creating Food Justice in the Ridge Street Neighborhood

This report was borne out of the thoughts of many local leaders and community mem- bers. The ideas and insights provide an understanding of food justice in the Ridge Street neighborhood and the city of Charlottesville. From them, it is evident that there are many exciting and enthusiastic programs and organizations working towards food justice. It is also evident that the city and neighborhood can work to encourage a food system that is even more just by creating opportunities that help prioritize accessible, nutritious food; that encourage ear- ly and continued education about food in the garden, the grocery store, and the kitchen; and empower community members to work for the resources necessary to support and purchase food that is grown in a manner that is equitable and just. To implement these opportunities, the Ridge Street neighborhood plan might support some of the following actions:

• •

• •

Investigate land use, zoning, and ordinance policies that might inhibit grocery stores, markets, gardens, or edible landscapes.

Encourage grants, funding sources, and for-profit models that would make organizations such as UACC economically sustainable.
Optimize public transportation to make trips to the grocery store efficient. Locate grocery stores, or sources of fresh, healthful food within walking distance of the neighborhood.

Connect far-reaching institutions such as public schools or neighborhoods
such as Friendship Court with nutrition education programs such as PB&J Fund. Focus on improving connection and communication between food justice enti-

ties that already exist.

By no means comprehensive, these actions are meant as starting points for a

larger discussion about food justice in the Ridge Street neighborhood and the city of Charlottesville and are based in ideas and thoughts from members of the neighborhood and Charlottesville community. Creating a truly just food system will require coopera- tion, awareness, and recognition that this is a complex matter, but a matter that is worth working towards.

Thank you to those who gave gratiously in time and thought –

Mr. Curtis Morton Ms. Holly Edwards Mr. Todd Niemeier Ms. Emily Axelbaum Ms. Beatrice Clark


(2011). “What is mogro?” Found March, 2013 at Retail Relay Inc. (2013). About relay foods. Found March, 2013 at Overview.
Gottlieb, R. & Joshi, A. (2010). “Food Justice.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge. (2012). “Project grows.” Found March, 2013 at

Denckla Cobb, T. (2011). “Reclaiming Our Food.” Storey Publishing: North Adams. (2012). “Primo Plato” Found March 2013 at

Appendix A: FOOD AUDIT
1. Public Health: All community members have the knowledge and skills for achieving optimum health.


Public Health Measures


Is this present in the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal, mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Is there community engagement or support around this issue?

Higher Order Overarching Goals


Does the locality engage the community in identifying and gaining the knowledge and skills necessary for achieving optimum public health?

Yes. The 2012 MAPP report cites county level input and engagement through Community Health Assessment (CHA) Councils3.

Yes. The 2012 MAPP report3.

Yes. The Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) partnering with UVA’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Martha Jefferson Hospital (MJH), Region Ten Community Services Board, Jefferson Area Board on Aging (JABA)3 and state-wide programs such as the Health Bites website through the Virginia Department of Health.

Yes. Both generally and through various organizations such as community health programs and outreach through the TJHD4.


Whitney Assignee

PH-2 Does the locality address inequities

across race and class with respect to food insecurity and health?1

Unsure. The 2012 MAPP No. report gives extensive data
on the socioeconomic composition of the TJHD

and cites poverty and physical environment as determinants of poor health and targets diet, physical activity, and education as strategies to reverse diet- related health concerns but does not directly address inequitable access3. Charlottesville has a history of keeping poverty hidden.

Yes. Thomas Jefferson Food Bank5, The Haven6, PACEM7, federally subsidized food programs such as SNAP and WIC, The Charlottesville Free Clinic, JABA8, Region Ten Community Services9, and other smaller organizations that address food insecurity such as Food not Bombs10, and nutritional education such as the PB&J Fund11.

Yes. Many non-profits listed through the Center for Nonprofit Excellence deal with issues of poverty, health, or food and many of these organizations rely on volunteer efforts12. However, many of these efforts treat existing problems without looking towards more systemic change and many separate race and class from food and health.

City-wide Questions


Does the locality demonstrate a decrease in diet-related diseases over the last ten years (obesity, childhood obesity, diabetes)? 1

No. According to the 2012 MAPP report, since 2003, the percentage of adults who are obese has increased from around 16% to almost 30%3.


Yes. Organizations such as the PB&J Fund, The Boys and Girls Club, and City Schoolyard Gardens recognize the connection between diet, food education, activity, and obesity. These examples target children.

Yes. This is an issue of national and local attention.


Does the locality recognize the relevance of food to health and well-being? 1

Yes. The 2012 MAPP report targets diet, physical activity, and education as strategies to reverse diet- related health concerns3.


Yes. For example, those organizations mentioned above.

Yes. There is a lot of support for healthier food choices.


Does the locality increase knowledge of the connections between food quality,

Unsure. While this may be acknowledged, many solutions and programs treat the problem rather


Yes. The PB&J Fund, for instance, cites the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, DC

Yes. This is an issue of national and local attention although physical environment is not always



healthy environments, and healthy people? 1

than address larger systemic components such as the built environment.

connecting poverty, food insecurity, and the lower chance of physical activity based on environmental factors to health issues13.

as directly connected to food and health.


Does the locality have a goal for increasing awareness of healthy food or lifestyle choices?2

Yes. More so a focus on lifestyle choices as the 2012 MAPP report cites a goal of decreasing the percentage of persons who are overweight or obese in TJHD by promoting school and corporate wellness policies and by engaging residents in a Move to Health campaign3.


Yes. For example, those organizations mentioned above.

Yes. This is an issue of national and local attention.

Ridge Street


Public Health Measures


Is this present in the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Is there community engagement or support around this issue?


Does the neighborhood demonstrate a decrease in diet- related diseases over the last ten years (obesity, childhood obesity, diabetes)? 1

No. Though a smaller subset, trends seem to be similar to those documented in the 2012 MAPP report3.


Yes. For example, those organizations listed above.

Yes. The popularity and support for organizations such as UACC, City Schoolyard Gardens, the TJHD Community Action on Obesity4, and those organizations listed above. It is not obvious whether


Kevin & Whitney Assignee

much of this support comes from within the community.


Do members of the neighborhood believe that maintaining their health and well-being is a personal responsibility?

Unsure. While I am sure some do, physical, financial, and educational constraints may keep the low- income areas of this neighborhood from truly equitable access to healthier choices.


Unsure. Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) and activities in the Friendship Court community center focus on homeownership and household education from a financial perspective. It is hard to tell how much the garden run by UACC is a part of the community’s identity.



Do members of the neighborhood believe that the city should play a role in providing health food options?

Some. Different ideas about the level of involvement. Many members of the community receive federally

subsidized food assistance or donations from the food bank.


Yes. For example, those who run the Jefferson Food Bank, Region Ten, and city social services.



Are there health care service providers or healthy care programs within the neighborhood?

Some. JABA runs a clinic at Crescent Halls for residents only.


Yes. JABA focuses on elderly care.

Yes. There is a general support for equitable access to healthcare.


PH-11 Does the neighborhood have playground and recreational


Yes. There are two No. playgrounds and a
basket ball court
within Friendship

Court that are well maintained. Tonsler Park is also well equipped with playground equipment.

Yes. HUD and PHA support recreational facilities at Friendship Court. Charlottesville Parks and Recreation support Tonsler Park.

Yes. Many people use Tonsler Park and there are often many children playing basketball at Friendship Court.

Narrative and Trigger Questions:

  1. Do you see children playing outside or people walking around or biking? Not any children playing outside on playground equipment or anywhere within the fences of Friendship Court (Monday evening, Monday morning, Friday morning). Often when riding by Friendship Court after school there are children playing basketball. There were often many people walking in and out of the entrance and along the sidewalk to the west of Friendship Court. I also have not seen too many people walking on Ridge Street. Tonsler Park is often busy.
  2. Are there healthy foods available in grocery stores and restaurants in this neighborhood? Do you think that neighborhood residents shop in these grocery stores? Why or why not? Market Street Market is 0.2 miles away from Friendship Court, therefore within walking distance. It is well stocked with fresh vegetables and local staples. Some items are expensive when compared to other grocery stores. When shopping there I have seen a diverse array of customers. The neighborhood is within walking distance of all of the restaurants downtown. While a good assortment of healthier options, many of these restaurants are not affordable.
  3. Do you think this is a healthy community? While hard to tell in the winter, there is not much interaction outside. The homes in the Friendship Court neighborhood lack porches and the public spaces are empty. The Friendship Court community center has a good assortment of activities and events, which seem to be attended by a few regular members of the community. According to the man who runs open computer lab at the Friendship Court community center, the computers and space is underutilized during the day.


3 Thomas Jefferson Health District (2012). “Mobilizing Action through Planning and Partnership”.


4 Thomas Jefferson Health District found March 2013 5 Blue Ridge Area Food Bank found March 2013
6 The Haven found March 2013 at
7 PACEM found March 2013 at

8 JABA found March 2013 at
9 Region Ten found March 2013 at
10 Food Not Bombs Charlottesville found March 2013 at 11 The PB&J Fund found March 2013 at
12 Center for Non-profit Excellence found March 2013 at
13 Food Research and Action Center (2011). “Food Insecurity and Obesity: Understanding the Connections”. Found March 2013 at

2. Food Farmers and Farm Workers: Protection from the hazards of food production and fair and healthy living wages and working conditions for those who produce our food.


Food Farmers and Farm Workers Measures


Is this present

in the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Is there community engagement or support around this issue?

Higher Order Overarching Goals

FFW -1

Does the locality develop and implement policies that protect farmers and farm worker rights? 1

Yes and No. The Virginia Farm Workers Program protects workers’ rights with a focus on migrant and immigrant worker populations14. According to a 2009 report, “Sustainable Farm Labor System”, for a variety of historical and social reasons,


Yes and No. The Central Virginia Legal Aid Society supports the Virginia Farm Worker’s Program14.

Some. Generally, the system of migrant labor and federal farm subsidies make this a confusing and deeply rooted issue, outside of mainstream conscious.


Whitney Assignee


Food Farmers and Farm Workers Measures


Is this present in the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Is there community engagement or support around this issue?

farmers in the counties surrounding Charlottesville are not able to support workers with adequate compensation, full-time or year-round employment, or insurance15.

FFW -2

Does the locality ensure fair wages and safe working conditions that limit, minimize and/or eliminate exposures to hazards for all farmers without discrimination? 1

No. While this is one mission of the Virginia Farm Workers Program through the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, many farmers do not have the capital or knowledge to avoid harmful chemicals or adequately support or retain farm workers14.


Yes and No. The Central Virginia Legal Aid Society supports migrant workers under the H-2A visa program the Virginia Farm Workers’ Program14. Non- migrant workers, however, have no immediate legislation or support beyond minimum wage protection.

Some. As mentioned above, this issue seems to be outside of mainstream conscious.

FFW -4

Does the locality listen to and/or document community members’ stories of their food

Yes. The Virginia Food Heritage Project continues to record farmer and farm worker stories16.


Yes. The Virginia Food Heritage Project funded by

Yes. The Virginia Food Heritage Program is well supported and followed.




Food Farmers and Farm Workers Measures


Is this present in the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Institute for



Is there community engagement or support around this issue?

and farm legacy? 1



Foundation for the

Humanities, in the

FFW -5

Does the locality have or support a policy or program to ensure appropriate protection of all farm workers from exposure to pesticides? (e.g., training in farm worker language about dangers of pesticides, appropriate application and protection measures, provision of equipment, etc.) 2

No. The Virginia Farm Workers Program through the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society focuses on migrant rights to fair wages and safe living conditions but does not directly seek to maintain protection from pesticides15.


Somewhat. The Rural Health Clinic supports migrant worker health but does not directly associate or make claim to preventing exposure to pesticides.

Some. Again, an issue that seems to be outside of mainstream conscience.



Narrative and Trigger Questions:

1. Arecommunitymembersinvolvedinfoodproduction?Thoseinterestedandinvolvedinthegarden(TheFarm)behindFriendshipCourt,volunteertime for produce. Some members may work as drivers or distributors for Standard Produce Co. (which is nearby), in other capacities as food distribution, or in the restaurant industry as cooks.

2. Canyoutellhowfarmingandfoodproductionareviewedasanoccupation?Asanoccupation,workinginfoodproductionisseenasastepdownoras low-wage job for migrant workers. As a hobby or interest, farming is upheld as a good thing – empowering, a way to “beat the system”.


14 Central Virginia Legal Aid Society Virginia Farm Workers Program found March 2013 at 15 Bottoms, S., Smith, D., Wolfe, K. (2009). “Sustainable Farm Labor System”.
16 Virginia Food Heritage Project found March 2013 at

3. Food-Based Economic Development: Sustainable, bioregional food production, food businesses and entrepreneurs (including farmers, co-ops, CSAs, food hubs, distributors).

Ridge Street


Food-Based Economic Development



Is this present in the

comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official


Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the


Is there community engagement or support

around this issue?


Does the neighborhood have stores that sell healthy, high quality, AND affordable foods? 1

Somewhat. Market Street Market and Reid Market are the most fully stocked grocery stores. Reid Market while more


Unsure. While many organizations support and promote well being through access to

Unsure. While many would enjoy and support healthy, quality, and affordable foods it is unclear whether any


Kevin & Assignee Whitney

affordable has fewer healthy options. IGA, now Kim’s Market, is poorly stocked with healthier options.

healthy food, few seem to address the quality and location of grocery stores.

groups are actively working towards this or see it as an issue.


Are people living in the neighborhood able to afford healthful, local, sustainable, and culturally appropriate foods for themselves and their families?

Somewhat. Those in the Ridge Street neighborhood have access to grocery stores and the farmers’ market, all well stocked with a variety of foods. Some of these markets are not culturally accessible nor are all of the foods affordable to the community members of Friendship Court.


Yes. For example, the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville, the Jefferson Food Bank, and federally subsidized food programs acknowledge this need.



Is the percentage of income spent on food for people living in the neighborhood greater or lesser than the national and/or local average spent on rent and utilities?

Yes and No. The Ridge Street neighborhood is a diverse neighborhood. Those in the Friendship Court Neighborhood and Crescent Halls fall below the poverty line and most likely spend more than the national average on food.


Yes. For example, PHA and UACC seek to remedy this issue in a more preventative manner. The Jefferson Food Bank and other federally subsidized food programs attempt to address this issue in a symptomatic matter.

Yes. Generally, the cultural perspective of food in the US supports low-cost food.


Narrative and Trigger Questions:

  1. Aretherehealthyfoodsavailableinthegrocerystoresandcornermarketsinthisneighborhood?
  2. Whatkindsoffoodareavailable?Whatarethepricedifferencesforfoodatdifferentmarkets?Market Street Market (Market Street): 0.2 miles away, fresh produce, local milk, cheese, deli, somewhat expensive
    Cville Market (Carlton Avenue): 0.8 miles away, on bus route, lots of fresh produce, bulk foods, healthier choices of processed foods, inexpensive
    Gibson’s Grocery (Hinton Avenue): 0.2 miles away, a convenience store, deli meats, local apples, honey, potatoes, a mix of more expensive and less expensive items
    The Farm (Monticello Road): 0.1 miles away, fancy deli/convenience store with gourmet foods, some fresh produce, wine and beer, very expensive
    Belmont Market (Hinton Avenue): 0.4 miles away, convenience store with beer and processed foods, inexpensive
    B&R Market (Avon Street): 0.4 miles away, convenience store with beer and processed foods, inexpensive
    Pizza and Subs (Ridge Street): 0.4 miles away, convenience store with beer and processed foods, inexpensive
  3. Howarepeoplepayingfortheirfoodpurchases?ManyqualifyforSNAP,WIC,foodbankdonationsandotherfoodrelatedsubsidies,somepaywith income.
  4. Whattypesoffood-relatedbusinessesororganizationsdoyouobserveinthisneighborhood?StandardProduceCo.is0.2milesfromFriendshipCourt.There are many restaurants, bakeries, and catering services in this part of Charlottesville.
  5. Who are the customers at these businesses? Standard Produce Co. is a distribution centers serving restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions in the area. The restaurants, bakeries and catering services mostly serve middle-class and upper class members and visitors of Charlottesville.


4. School-Based Food and Nutrition: Healthy, nutritious food for all students in all schools, including lunches, breakfasts, backpack programs, snack/vending machines, and after-curricular events.

Ridge Street


School-Based Food and Nutrition Measures


Is this present in the

comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official


Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the


Is there community engagement or support

around this issue?

Kevin & Whitney


Are there garden projects in the neighborhood that involve students from local schools?

Yes. The Farm at Friendship Court, City Schoolyard Gardens at Clark Elementary and Buford Middle Schools.


Yes. City Schoolyard Gardens and UACC.

Yes. Many teachers, parents, and students support these organizations.

Narrative and Trigger Questions:

1. Aretherevendingmachinesavailableintheschool?Ifso,whatkindsofdrinksandsnacksareavailableforpurchase?CharlottesvilleCitySchoolswererecently awarded a VFHY grant for a vending machine audit and improvement

2. Arestudentsparticipatinginanyextracurricularactivitiesfocusedonenvironmentaleducationorgardening?Yes,schoolgardenprogramsatClarkElementary and Buford Middle Schools and The Farm at Friendship Court

3. Doyouobserveanybeforeorafterschoolactivities?Arethechildrengivensnacks?Ifso,whatkindofsnacksaretheyserved?Cityschoolshavepartnershipswith community programs, like PB&J fund, Community Obesity Taskforce, Local Food Hub, Boy’s & Girls Club and Parks and Recreation to promote nutrition, physical activity and overall wellness in afterschool and evening events. In 2008, Charlottesville City Schools were awarded USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) grants at 4 of 6 elementary schools to provide daily snacks to elementary schools, this has since increased to all 6 elementary schools.



4. Whatarethefoodavailableinthefreeandreducedpricebreakfastsandlunches?Thesamefoodsasofferedatfullprice,amixoflesshealthyoptionslike hot dogs and french fries with more healthy options like fresh fruits, salads, steam vegetables, and low or no fat milk

5. Whatarethefoodsavailableinthecafeteria?Typicalmaindishsuchassloppyjoes,chickenpatties,hotdogs,lasagnawithhealthiersideoptionssuch as steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, and salads. Overall, the school system recognizes its responsibility to provide healthy foods, an appropriate dining experience, and encourage physical activity, in order to improve and maintain good health and wellness.

5. Food Access Infrastructure: Fair and equitable distribution and access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable food. Ridge Street


Infrastructure Measures


Is this present in the

comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan, or any other city or official documentation?

Is this the goal,

mission, or is it acknowledged by any organization within the locality?

Is there community engagement or support around this issue?


Do safe biking and walking paths exist between this neighborhood and food stores and markets? 2

Yes and No. Ridge Street, although complete with wide bike lanes, is a wide street and not immediately pedestrian friendly. Side streets are quiet and safe.

Yes. Neighborhood plan, transportation section of the comprehensive plan and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

Yes. For example, Bike Charlottesville and the complete streets regulations acknowledged by city planning office.

Yes. Charlottesville citizens are active walkers and bikers. Walking and biking also allow for equitable access for low- income residents.


Does the locality have a bus service that connects this neighborhood directly with food stores and markets? Requiring no more than one bus change? 2

Yes. The Transit Center is within walking distance of many residents in the neighborhood. Some residents in the Ridge Street neighborhood would rely on the bus to get to the Transit


Yes and No. Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) has set up bus routes to serve the entire city in the most efficient and effective way. Those with lower-



Kevin & Whitney Assignee

Center, thus requiring one bus change to get on a bus that goes to Barracks Road. Food Lion is accessible by bus with no bus change.

income may have less resources to have an equal voice in a bus system that works well for them.


Does the locality have a low-cost taxi or ride- sharing service that connects this neighborhood directly with food stores and markets? 2






Are these transportation services available at multiple times of day and evening? 2

Yes. CAT buses runs throughout the day and evening.


Yes. CAT.

Yes. Those who rely on the bus and those who subsidize the CAT.


Is there a farmers market within walking distance (1/4 mile) of this neighborhood?

Yes. For many residents, the downtown farmers market is within walking distance.


Yes. The City Farmers Market.

Yes. This is a very popular farmers market with many patrons who walk to the market. It is unsure how many of these patrons are from the Ridge Street neighborhood.

Narrative and Trigger Questions:

1. Doyouseepeoplewalkingwithbagsofgroceries?Notmany,mostbagsappeartobefromconveniencestores.Arepeopleusingpublictransportationtogetto the grocery store? Yes

2. Doyoufeelthattheneighborhoodiswalkable?Yes,itissafeandquietandwithinwalkingdistancetocommercialservices.Thefences,however,force traffic through the one entrance in and out of the neighborhood. This entrance seems to cater to automotive traffic more than pedestrians or


bicycles. Where are the bus stops and bike lanes? There are bike lanes on all roads surrounding Friendship Court. There are two immediate bus stops

and Friendship Court is within walking distance of the Transit Center.

  1. Do you observe any homes with hoop houses or animals, such as chickens or goats? No
  2. Do you see vacant land that is not being utilized? Most of the land is well utilized – the Farm, basketball courts, and play grounds. There is a large,empty grassy area that is used by pedestrians but otherwise remains relatively empty.
  3. Doyouthinkthatthisneighborhoodisaccessibleandwalkableforpeoplewithdisabilitiesorelderlyresidents?Itispossiblebutdoesnotseemtobedesignedtofacilitate elderly or people with disabilities.

6. Policy: Community policy supports and advances food justice.

Narrative and Trigger Questions:

  1. Doyoufeelthatthereisagoodrelationshipbetweentheneighborhoodandthelocalgovernmentandelectedofficials?No,theneighborhoodandcityofficialsdo not seem engaged
  2. Doyoufeelthatthelocalgovernmentisawareofandreceptivetotheneighborhood’sneeds?Somewhat

7. Food Insecurity and Hunger: The community actively supports programs and organizations that work to prevent food insecurity and


Narrative and Trigger Questions:

  1. Doyouseeemergencyfoodassistanceoperationsworkinginthelocality?Yes,foodbank,WIC,SNAP,PowerofProduceareallactingatvariouslevelsto prevent and address emergency food assistance.
  2. Isthereaneedordemandforfoodassistance?Yes.Doyouthinkthisneedisbeingmeet?Theneedisbeingmeetcaloricallybutnotnecessarilyina sustaining way that promotes healthy nutrition and preparation.