October Urban Agriculture Month 2020

Urban Agriculture: Resiliency Rooted in Innovation

This year’s October Urban Agriculture Month theme is Urban Agriculture: Resiliency Rooted in Innovation. The October events will shine a spotlight on the significant role urban agriculture plays in our regional and local food system. Several urban agriculture, food security and garden groups in northern Virginia have come together to offer a series of virtual events that highlight the local urban agriculture response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The month-long event showcases urban agriculture in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church.

The virtual event this year includes panel discussions on how local businesses and urban gardens adapted to the pandemic, a town hall with local elected officials, and cooking and gardening workshops. In addition, there are in-person garden tours and recorded classes by Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists. 

Event details and registration can be found HERE.

Garden tours begin the weekend of October 3-4. Registration HERE.

Sponsoring organizations: Virginia Cooperative Extension, Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture, Fairfax Food Council, Fairfax Master Gardeners, Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, Falls Church Garden Club, and Master Food Volunteers of Northern Virginia.
We invite you to make a special donation to our October Urban Ag Month campaign! Our goal is to raise $3,100 during the 31 days of October to support our School Victory Gardens, our new Urban Garden at Virginia Highland’s Park, and all our efforts to build a resilient, community-driven urban agriculture sector that provides a fair, healthy, sustainable food system for all Arlingtonians.

Schedule of Events

Garden Tours

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

Arlington Victory Garden Tours: 

  1. Wakefield High School:Tour Date/Time: Saturday, October 3rd (9-11 am)
    Garden Coordinator: Lisa LaBella
    Location: 1976 S. George Mason Drive, Arlington VA 22204 (Entrance at S. Frederick St & S George Mason Drive)
  2. Tuckahoe Elementary:Tour Date/Time: Sunday, October 4th (2 – 4pm)
    Garden Coordinator: Rebecca Halbe
    Address/Location: 6550 26th St N Arlington, VA 22213 (Gardens are located on the West side of the 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 (10a-12p)
    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 staircase towards the soccer fields.)
  4. Thomas Jefferson Middle School:Tour Date/Time: Saturday, October 24th (9-11a)
    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. Take the access road behind Alice Fleet Elementary, past the underground parking entrance, and park near the dumpsters.)

Master Gardener Organic Vegetable Demonstration Garden Tour at Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 Marcey Rd, Arlington, VA 22207). Tour/Date Time: Saturday, October 10th, 10:15am – 1:45pm, 3 tours limited to 10 people each. Location: Garden is on the left of the park drive just past the Nature Center: https://www.novaparks.com/parks/potomac-overlook-regional-park

Urban Gardening Series

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 at 7:00pm starting October 8-November 12, 2020. 90 Minute Best Practices Overview and Panel Q and A sessions. Sessions will be recorded.

  • Week 1, Thursday, October 8, 2020 – 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. Register here: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlceitqDwsH9Z60-ifT5MmvsiOHzIJYyjf Panelists: Audrey Morris, Friends of Urban Agriculture and garden coordinator at First Presbyterian Church

  • Week 2, Thursday, October 15, 2020 – 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. Register here: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvc-qvrj8vGdHGivQoqUGi2BvxMrGrKbd8 Panelists: Ilana Rea,  Hoffman Boston Victory Garden

  • Week 3, Thursday, October 22, 2020 – Protect me, I’m YOURS!  Planting and Tending Your Vegetable Garden – Keeping seedlings alive, staking plants,  protecting them from wildlife, cold/heat, drought, and managing soil fertility needs. Register here: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdO6gpjIiG9wtuP7u3oBCBaQ3APLVVaeo Panelist: Reidy Brown, TJ Middle School Garden

  • Week 4, Thursday, October 29, 2020 –  The Insects Might Inherit the Earth- Encouraging the Good and Limiting the Bad Crop Pests – Tips for dealing with insect, bird, and disease pest damage. Harnessing the life in the soil food web: micro fauna, nematodes and protozoa. Register here: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEldOGvrzspGtIpWIl90dO-yA3XClh3OYN- Panelist: Becky Halbe, Tuckahoe School Garden


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 7-8:30pm.
  • Libby Garvey, County Board Member, 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

Moderator: Dr. Caroline Boules, Lecturer at the Environmental Science and Public Policy program at University of Maryland


  • 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

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 7-8:30pm
  • Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwkcu-grzgtEtGNFDMVQHNuuKuKAn6Ev6uX
  • Moderated by Robin Broder, Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture
  • Panelists:
    • Ilana Rea, Hoffman-Boston PTA Garden Chair
    • Becky Halbe, Master Gardener, Tuckahoe Victory Garden, Rock Spring Victory Bagging Site
    • Stacey Evers, Grow a Row FC and Co-chair of Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Working Group
    • Cory Suter, Co-chair of Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Working Group

Urban Agtivism

Gardening with Deer:  Management, Exclusion, and the Case for Population Control in Arlington County.

Date: Tuesday, October 13th at 7:00 pm

  • Panelists:
    • Bill Browning on White tail deer population management in the DC Metro area
    • Dave Smith and Ted Edwards on tips and tricks for preventing deer damage on vegetable and fruit crops.
  • Moderated by: Joanne Hutton

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.

Date: Tuesday, Oct 20, 12:30-1:30pm

Registration link: Registration link: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIldu2qpj4oGNXyki3v6ueCYaZbUkl8YOan


    • 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

Date: Friday, October 30th 12:30-1:30pm


  • 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: Monday, October 5, 7:30 pm

Irena Holowell, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Falls Church Garden Club

Cooking Your Fall Harvest: How to Cook Squash – Learn how to cook squash (butternut, acorn, etc) with Caryn Wagner, VCE Arlington/Alexandria Master Food Volunteer. She’ll also provide some easy recipes and highlight the benefits of eating squash.

Date: Friday, Oct 9 at 1-2pm

Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0lcu2hqz8uGdSvytDL9xz7zIkaSsGwHXlF

Kids in the Garden – How to work with kids in the garden at school, after school, and at home

Date: Friday, Oct 16, 3-4pm

Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvdemtrz8sGNE_2kunRFfbJlMj8HiMzxe1


    • Christy Przytawik, 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

Easy Home Preserving during COVID-19 – Join kitchen-experts and Master Food Volunteers to learn tips and tricks for making the most of your produce. Presentations focus on safety and success, for freezing and drying/dehydrating this fall. VCE Extension Agent and registered dietitian shares the science behind home food preservation basics.

Part I – Use it or lose it! Avoid food waste 

Monday, October 19th, 6:30-7:30pm

Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwlf-iqqjooE9dLwE3w0_kcrIPY2fFSTFvE

Part II – Hands-on harvest: What to do with your fall bounty

Mondays October 26th, 6:30-7:30pm

Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMqfu6tqT8oE9Yauu07-hK2xl6rtc_t8ZWS

  • Emily Landsman, VCE Master Food Volunteer
  • Mary Sanders, VCE Master Food Volunteer
  • Katie Strong, RD & Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, VCE Fairfax

Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking at Home with Kids – How to work with kids in the kitchen at school, after school, and at home. Get tips to cook with kids of all ages.

Dates: Tuesday, Oct 20 5:30pm-6:30pm

Registration: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckceCvpz4sG9ZLJ_Zz5YrDGv0ecJjtwjXY


    • Mary Sanders, HCAT Arlington Coordinator
    • Kate Garsson, Inova Healthy Plate Club
    • Cooking demonstrations with 4-H Teen(s).

Moderated by: Aisha Salazar, Family & Consumer Sciences Associate Extension Agent, VCE Arlington & Alexandria


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, Oct 13th 12:00 – 1:00pm panel: How the DMV is Rescuing Food – A Conversation with Local Food Recovery Organizations. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-the-dmv-is-rescuing-food-a-conversation-with-local-food-recovery-orgs-tickets-120130402267