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Urban Agriculture: Resiliency Rooted in Innovation

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Urban Agriculture: Resiliency Rooted in Innovation

Urban Agriculture Month will shine a spotlight on the significant role urban agriculture plays in our regional and local food system. The events will also highlight our local urban agriculture response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual event this year will include classes, a town hall with local elected officials, and cooking and gardening tips. You can also join in-person garden tours or watch recorded classes by Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists.

Our month-long event will showcase urban agriculture in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church and is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture, Fairfax Food Council, Fairfax Master Gardeners, Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, and the Falls Church Garden Club.

Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture & Virginia Cooperative Extension

Arlington Victory Gardening: Tips and Tricks for Gardeners

Lessons Learned: A Year in Review

Key Information

The 2020 Victory Garden initiative by the Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture, supported by Virginia Cooperative Extension volunteers, is on track to reach the goal of 2,500 pound of produce for area food pantries. Join us in support of this effort by planning your 2021 garden.

5 week gardening class that presents research based best practices and real-life experiences of Arlington gardeners in 2020. Beginners and experienced gardeners will appreciate the review tips and tricks presented in this mix of lecture and panel discussions. Course will offer on-line synchronous classroom and pre-recorded field tours via Zoom of real-life local garden examples.

  • Thursday nights starting October 8-November 12, 2020.
  • 90 Minute Best Practices Overview and Panel Q and A sessions.
  • Sessions will be recorded.
  • Joint Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA) - Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Education Outreach and recruiting for 2021.
  • Week 1: Starting a Garden?
    • It’s Mostly about the Soil. Soil testing, aeration, and organic matter content.  In-Ground, Raised Beds, or Containers?  Access to water, equipment storage, and workspace. Lasagna gardening and burying compostables.
    • Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020, 7 - 8 pm.
    • Register here
    • Panelist: Audrey Morris, Friends of Urban Agriculture and garden coordinator at First Presbyterian Church.
  • Week 2: What's the Plan?
    • Site selection assessment for light, space, and drainage. Crop selection for size and space considerations, planning for reducing maintenance requirements. Crop succession, container gardening, and planting for pollinators.
    • Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020, 7 - 8 pm.
    • Register here:
    • Panelist: Ilana Rea,  Hoffman Boston Victory Garden
  • Week 4: The Insects Might Inherit the Earth

Resource texts includes:

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance and an extensive resource list.


  • Future of Urban Agriculture Town Hall.
    • Join us for a town hall with local policymakers and elected officials to highlight successes and ask what's next for urban agriculture in Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria.
    • Date: Wednesday, Oct 21st at 7:00pm.
    • Registration:
    • Panelists include:
      • Libby Garvey, Board Chair, Arlington County
      • Ross Litkenhous, City Council Member, City of Falls Church
      • Jon Stehle, Councilmember, City of Fairfax
      • Dalia Palchik, Providence District Supervisor, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
    • Moderated by: David Sachs, Friends of Urban Agriculture  


Food Industry Response to COVID-19

  • The Pandemic Pivot- Businesses adapting to keep afloat.
    • Hear how local restaurants, businesses, and farmers markets pivoted to meet customers needs.
    • Date: Tuesday, October 13, 9:30am - 11:00am
    • Registration:
    • Panelists:
      • David Guas, Chef/Owner at Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery and Co-founder Chefs Feeding Families
      • Ryan Pierce, Fresh Impact Farms
      • Dalila Boclin, Director of Programs at FreshFarm
      • Juan Pablo Echeverria, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture
    • Moderator: Dr. Caroline Boules, Lecturer at the Environmental Science and Public Policy program at University of Maryland
  • In the Dirt: How urban gardeners responded to the needs of food pantries.
    • Food Insecurity during COVID-19: the impact of coronavirus on food pantries and community response. 
    • Date: Tuesday, October 27 at 7pm
    • Registration:
    • Panelists:
      • Cory Suter, Co-Chair of Urban Ag Workgroup of Fairfax Food Council
      • Ilana Rea, Hoffman-Boston, PTA Garden Chair
      • Stacey Evers, Grow a Row FC and Co-Chair of Urban Ag Workgroup of Fairfax Food Council
      • Becky Halbe, Master Gardener, Tuckahoe Victory Garden, Rock Spring Victory Bagging Site
    • Moderator: Robin Broder, Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture

Urban Agtivisim 101

  • Gardening with Deer:  Management, Exclusion, and the Case for Population Control in Arlington County. 
  • Food Recovery & Food Waste- what you can do at home or at work.
    • Learn ways to reduce food waste and compost from local businesses and universities.
    • Tuesday, Oct 20, 12:30-1:30 pm
    • Registration link
    • Panelists:
      • Ben Parry, Compost Crew
      • Alexandra DySard, MOM’s Organic Market
      • George Mason University Food Recovery Network Chapter
      • Moderator: Robert Johnson, Northern Virginia Community College
  • From the Ground Up: Starting Community Gardens
    • Tools, tips, and tricks to start a community garden, including at a school or faith-based institution run by volunteers.
    • Friday, October 30th at 12:30-1:30 pm
    • Registration:
    • Panelists:
      • Adria Bordas, Unit Coordinator & Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources, VCE Fairfax
      • Kirsten Conrad, Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources, VCE Arlington & VCE Alexandria
      • Moderated by: David Sachs, Friends of Urban Agriculture

Cooking & Gardening at Home

  • Seed Saving with the Falls Church Garden Club: 
    • Date: Monday, October 5, 7 - 8 pm.
    • Register here: TBD
    • Panelists:
      • Irena Holowell, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, sponsored by the Falls Church Garden Club
  • Virtual Plant Clinics: Tuesdays & Thursdays, Oct 13-27th at 7pm
    • Each Virtual Plant clinic begins with a short presentation on a gardening topic by VCE Fairfax County Master Gardeners. The rest of each session will address our guests’ specific questions.
    •  Dates:
      • Tuesday, Oct 13, Apple Varieties
      • Thursday, Oct 15, Urban Agriculture on Local Area Rooftops
      • Thursday, Oct 22, Sweet Potato Experiences
      • Tuesday, Oct 27, Herb Gardening Through the Winter Season
    • Register at
  • Kids in the Garden: How to work with kids in the garden at school, after school, and at home. 
    • Date: Friday, October 16 from 3-4pm.
    • Registration:
    • Panelists:
      • Christy Przystawik, School Garden Coordinator at Campbell Elementary
      • Ivy Mitchell, Farm Education Director at Arcadia Center for Sustainable Agriculture
      • Raena Mitchell, Children's Garden Liaison at Alexandria City Public Schools
    • Moderated by Stacey Evers, Co-chair of Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Working Group 
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking at Home with Kids. How to work with kids in the kitchen at school, after school, and at home.

Garden Tours

Take a tour of a local garden! 

During October Urban Agriculture Month sign up for a tour of a local garden, including Arlington's School Victory Gardens! Schedule your visit by signing up here. We are scheduling 30-minute tours during the 2 hours the gardens are open and each session will be limited to 6-10 visitors. This will allow the Garden Coordinators to easily maintain social distancing protocols. All visitors must wear masks. Stay tuned as we add more gardens to the list. Thank you!

Schedule your visit by signing up here:

(To avoid overwhelming our Garden Coordinators, we’d like to break each of the below 2-hour windows into 4x 30-minute sessions and each session at 6 visitors. This will allow the Garden Coordinators to easily maintain social distancing protocols.)

  1. Wakefield High School:
  2. Tuckahoe Elementary:
    • Tour Date/Time: Sunday, October 4th (2-4 pm)
    • Garden Coordinator: Rebecca Halbe
    • Address/Location: 6550 26th St N Arlington, VA 22213 (Gardens are located on West side of building. From the parking lot, walk through the playground to the side of the school, adjacent to residential fence lines.)
  3. Hoffman-Boston Elementary:
    • Tour Date/Time: Saturday, October 10th (10 am-12 pm)
    • Garden Coordinator: Ilana Rea
    • Address/Location: 1415 S Queen St Arlington, VA 22204, (Gardens are located along the school’s southern wall. Park on the S. Queen St parking lot, adjacent to the sculpture in the main entrance’s courtyard. Descend the stair case towards the soccer fields.)
  4. Arlington Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Organic Vegetable Demonstration Garden Tour:
  5. Bo White Community Gardens at Pine Ridge Park Garden Tour
  6. Thomas Jefferson Middle School:
    • Tour Date/Time: Saturday, October 24th (9 am-11 am)
    • Garden Coordinator: Reidy Brown
    • Address/Location: 115 S Old Glebe Rd Arlington, VA 22204 (Garden is located on the north side of the TJMS-TJ Community Center-Alice Fleet Complex. For handicapped parking, take the access road behind Alice Fleet Elementary, past the underground parking entrance, and park near the dumpsters. For everyone else, please park next to the TJ Community Center and walk down the path between the building and the courts/fields to the garden. Overflow parking is available behind the tennis courts in the teacher parking lot.)
  • DMV Food Recovery Week: Join Manna Food Center’s Community Food Rescue and the DC Food Recovery Working Group to learn easy things you can do at home – and ways to support community efforts – to reduce food waste and increase food security for all. VCE Arlington is one of the event hosts. FCS Agent Aisha Salazar will moderate the Tuesday, October 13th panel: How the DMV is Rescuing Food – Conversation with Local Food Recovery OrganizationsRegister here.
  • Addressing Food Insecurity and Poor Nutrition During COVID-19Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 10-11:30 a.m. ET. Due to COVID-19, individuals are facing unprecedented challenges in accessing affordable, nutritious foods. The economic downturn coupled with unanticipated job loss has forced millions of Americans to turn to food banks and food assistance programs, such as SNAP, for the first time ever. Concurrently, research shows that people with obesity and diet-related diseases like diabetes and cancer who contract COVID-19 have worse outcomes, further highlighting the importance of ensuring access to nutritious foods. As the pandemic and corresponding economic challenges continue, private sector investment and government leadership are critical.
  • Virginia Food Security Summit on October 22 from 2-4 p.m. will focus on the current state of food insecurity in VA and highlight the soon to be released Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger. In addition to goals and strategies to reduce food insecurity, the Roadmap also features takeaways from last year's Hunger Town Hall events. Summit participants will also have the opportunity to participate in smaller breakout discussions on child nutrition strategies, food as medicine, and healthy food access. Please register to attend at and share this opportunity with your networks.  
  • The 2020 Urban Food Systems Symposium (Sponsored by Kansas State University) will be held virtually. Our goal is to bring together a national and international audience of academic and research-oriented professionals to share and gain knowledge on urban food systems and the role they play in global food security. This symposium includes knowledge on: urban agricultural production, local food systems distribution, climate change, nutrition, urban farmer education, urban ag policy, planning and development, food access and justice, and food sovereignty. Payment and registration required.
  • Local Food Systems Response to COVID: Webinars on the 3rd Monday of each month featuring a facilitated cross-sectoral discussion on topics including customer retention and engagement, emergency food, cooperative business models, state policies and consumer behavior.

Urban Agriculture Month is brought to you by:

Urban Agriculture Month