October declared Urban Ag Month in Virginia
by Lori Greiner
Virginia Cooperative Extension and Lynchburg Grows celebrated the important role that agriculture plays in the commonwealth’s economy and the designation of October as Urban Agriculture Month in Virginia with a ceremony at the H.R. Schenkel Urban Farm and Environmental Center in Lynchburg, Va., on Oct. 17, 2013.
The ceremony included a presentation by delegates Kathy Byron, Ben Cline, and Scott Garrett of the Virginia General Assembly; a proclamation by Lynchburg Mayor Michael H. Gillette; and remarks by Ed Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The delegates presented Jones and Michael Van Ness, executive director of Lynchburg Grows, with House Joint Resolution No. 758, designating October 2013 as Virginia’s first Urban Agriculture Month. The delegates were among the measure’s 27 legislative patrons.
“Urban agriculture can have an important role in filling critical needs within a community,” said Jones. “Virginia Cooperative Extension and Lynchburg Grows are a great example of a public-private partnership that supports urban agriculture and the community.”
Lynchburg Grows recently celebrated 10 years of educating others about the importance of sustainable local agriculture and healthy living. The organization operates a nine-greenhouse rose and produce farm in the heart of Lynchburg that provides vocational training for disabled and low-income individuals.
“Lynchburg Grows is proud to be considered a leader in educational urban agriculture,” said Van Ness. “We promise a hands-in-the-soil learning experience that should leave a lifelong impression on eating habits. We’re guided by and advocate principles of sustainability. We provide dignified, gratifying work to disabled folks, and we aspire to self-sufficiency by 2017.”