Vision: Sustainable and equitable support of school garden programs across Arlington County.
School gardens are an important component of our community’s urban agriculture landscape. School gardens provide teaching opportunities for students, hands-on learning experiences, nutritious produce for consumption in classrooms and lunchrooms, and provide much needed fresh produce to school community families and local food pantries. School garden programs develop students' appreciation of “where their food comes from” and develop life-long skills they can use to grow their own food.
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the closure of schools and a dramatic increase in families experiencing economic hardship and food insecurity, FOUA provided direct support to four school gardens during the school closure with the goal of increasing production to donate fresh produce to local food pantries. FOUA worked in partnership with school garden coordinators, Master Gardeners and Virginia Cooperative Extension to transform four classroom instruction gardens at Hoffman-Boston Elementary (HFB), Wakefield High School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School (TJMS), and Tuckahoe Elementary into scalable ‘urban farm’ sites to support our Arlington community’s food insecure neighbors. Over 1,588 pounds of fresh produce from these 2020 Victory Garden sites were distributed to food pantries throughout the County. Read more: FOUA Victory Garden 2020 Final Report.
2021 began with the official transfer of the Plot Against Hunger program to FOUA from AFAC, and the gradual reopening of schools. FOUA’s efforts with school gardens shifted to more long-term goals and away from the urgent and immediate needs presented during the pandemic. FOUA is working in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners, Marymount University, and the Arlington Living Schoolyards Initiative to provide technical assistance and other support, and to build a network of school garden programs to cultivate community, peer to peer connections, and opportunity for long-term strategic planning. If you are a school garden coordinator or connected to a school garden program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the school garden network.