UPDATE: Because the outpouring of support for this campaign has been so strong, we're upping our goal: In the next 8 days, we hope to raise $8,000 OR attract 200 total backers. But we need your help to get there! We've expanded our rewards, and we hope you'll consider pledging, or upping your pledge, today! Thank you!!
City Schoolyard Garden is dedicated to providing year-round, hands-on educational opportunities to students in the City of Charlottesville. To expand our programming during the blazing heat of the summer and the bitter cold of the winter, we're building a brand new 13' x 28' hoophouse at Buford Middle School.
We currently use row cover and plastic to protect seedlings from wind and rain while they grow and prepare to be transplanted into beds.
The 360 square foot hoophouse will greatly increase our capacity to start seeds and will enable us to supply student-grown seedlings to schoolyard gardens at the City's elementary schools, community garden plots, and neighborhood gardens throughout Charlottesville.
Starting seedlings and growing crops is only part of our vision for the hoophouse. A gathering space that is heated in winter and shaded in summer will also allow us to expand programming to match our increased growing capacity. We aim to teach about the entire lifecycle of plants - from planting seeds and caring for them as they grow, to harvesting and enjoying their roots, shoots, leaves, and fruits, to saving their seeds to plant the following year. The hoophouse will be an integral part of helping us do just that.
We're hoping to raise $6,000, which might make you think, "Why so much for some metal and plastic?" It's because included in that sum is the cost of everything it will take for us to operate the hoophouse: the metal framework and stake pipes; base and hip boards; hardware; wood to build end walls, doors, and six potting tables; double layer plastic; shade cloth; a solar-powered exhaust fan; a year's worth of seed trays and potting soil; watering equipment; a garden cart for transport of seedlings; and a weed wacker to keep the grass down inside and outside the hoophouse.
Our garden has expanded to include over 120 varieties of perennial and annual vegetables, herbs, and flowers. That many plants produce a huge bounty with many uses. We are excited to dry herbs with the Family and Consumer Science class in their spring garden-to-table unit, process grains during our spring PE/Health class units, press flowers with English Speakers of Other Languages classes, and cure onions with the year-round Buford Garden Crew. That is only the beginning of what this space will hold for us! A few other ideas:
- Extension of our garden CSA into the winter.
- A protected space for students to conduct experiments.
- A gathering spot for school counselors, administrators, teachers, and students out of the rain and/or cold.
We hope you will consider supporting this project -- we have awesome rewards to check out on the right side of this page, and those are on top of the great feeling that comes with supporting a project striving to truly make a difference in the lives of young people. Thank you for your help and come visit us!
Risks and challenges
Prior to launching our fundraising campaign, we secured all the necessary permissions to build the hoophouse, from Charlottesville City Schools, Charlottesville Parks & Recreation and the Buford Middle School principal. This is the first time we have built a hoophouse so we are expecting that the unexpected will come up. To help us deal with questions on construction and site work we have built relationships with a team of consultants who are prepared to provide guidance, including Todd Niemeier from the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville and Rob Rahm of Forrest Green Farm. Also, while we don't yet have a team of builders for the construction of the house, our organization has a broad base of volunteers who love to jump in on projects, so we don't anticipate that it will be a challenge to find help. Let us know if you would like to join in on the fun!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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