Thursday, January 12, 2017

Master Your Garden Symposium – Patrick County, Virginia, March 4, 2017

Arlington/Alexandria Events for January

Vegetable Gardening Part 1: Jumpstart Your Garden With Seeds (Note that class is offered twice)

Thursday, January 26, 7 - 8:30 p.m., Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Rd., Alexandria 22304, or

Saturday, January 28, 10:30 – noon, Westover Branch Library, 1644 N. McKinley Road, Arlington 22205.

Start your garden early this year!  Get the scoop on seed selection, hybrid vs. heirloom, what seeds to start indoors, germination tips, and best bets for seed saving. Find out how to make your own starter pots, and easy-to-create lighting systems to bring the sunlight inside.

Free. Advance registration requested at Questions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email

Virginia Trees for Clean Water Program – Applications due February 16, 2017

Through funds from the USFS Chesapeake Watershed Forestry Program, and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, VDOF has developed a Virginia Trees for Clean Water program which is designed to improve water quality by planting riparian buffers and trees in our neighborhoods and communities.

Potential projects funded under the program include tree planting activities of all types such as riparian buffer or community and neighborhood tree plantings.  Winning proposals should demonstrate the merit of the project and long-term tree maintenance must be considered.  Funding is available on a 50/50 match basis and in-kind match including volunteer time is permissible. 

Grants are awarded through this program to encourage local government and citizen involvement in creating and supporting long-term and sustained canopy cover.  All applications are due by 5:00 pm on Thursday February 16, 2017.

Sustainable Gardening at Home – Virginia Beach, Virginia, January 30, 2017

Join the Virginia Beach Master Gardeners on Jan 30, 2017, from 9am -1pm at the Law Enforcement Training Academy(LETA) at 411 Integrity Way which is near the Birdneck exit off 264 for Sustainable Gardening at Home.

Learn how it applies to your home gardening in this program consisting of 3 one-hour presentations by Norfolk Botanical Garden horticulturalists David Carter, Mark Moreno, and Alex Cantwell on:

Basic Principles and Concepts of Permaculture-Techniques and strategies to create a sustainable  and resilient home gaarden.

Sustainable Practices  in Vegetable  Production in Urban Settings and Soil Fertility in Urban Settings

Benefits, Implementation and Aesthetics of Urban Horticulture.

Registration is on Eventbrite.  VBMG will find their Eventbrite link on VMS.

Other Master Gardeners should register at:

Extension would like your stories!

Dear Extension colleagues:

Hope you are doing well and can have a restful weekend and holiday break with family and friends!

Crystal Tyler-Mackey and I would like to request your help with a communication project. In collaboration with you, we would like to highlight how Virginia Cooperative Extension is engaged in improving food access and working to alleviate issues of hunger and food insecurity across the state.

If you are engaged in educational programming efforts to increase access to healthy foods in your communities and localities through projects and initiatives such as:

·       Gardening, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture
·       Food preparation and preservation, including cooking demos
·       Food waste/recovery
·       Food safety
·       Increasing EBT/SNAP acceptance at Farmers’ Markets, corner stores, etc.
·       Hosting meetings, conferences, listening sessions, etc. around collaboration, food access issues, etc.
·       Stretching your food dollars
·       Gleaning
·       Prescription produce
·       Food security at the household and community level
·       Food and agriculture policy
·       Institutional food procurement and preparation (e.g., farm-to-school, -university, and -hospital)
·       Nutrition education and health promotion
·       Others?

Virginia Cooperative Extension needs your stories and input! The goal would be to have 8 to 10 good solid stories by February 1, but certainly the more, the merrier!

As you may know, close to 1.5 million individuals in Virginia struggle with limited food access. Hence, the Virginia General Assembly commissioned Virginia Cooperative Extension in 2013 to study the issue of limited food access and food deserts in Virginia. A report was developed and submitted to the General Assembly in 2014. The full Food Deserts in Virginia report can be accessed at: .  

Crystal and I know many of you are working and collaborating to address improve and enhance food access in the communities and localities you serve. Such a complex issue requires input and collaboration across all of our programming areas (i.e., 4-H, ANR, CV, FCS and FNP) and with our local partners.

The story also needs to be shared more widely. It’s time to capture the good work happening across the state and share those stories with our stakeholders!

Recently, on a work trip to Ohio, Crystal came across an Ohio State University publication that inspired this idea and effort. The publication shared how the university and its Extension programs are addressing and working to alleviate hunger. .

We know Virginia has similar good programs and collaborations working to address such a serious issue. Therefore, we would like to showcase and share some of your stories and our organization’s efforts. 

Please share your stories and ideas of programs that should be highlighted here:

From these stories and ideas, CALS Communications and Marketing will follow-up up and refine the stories to show how we are working to address food access/food security in Virginia.

Again, we need your stories and input to tell our overall story!

Best regards,

Eric Bendfeldt and Crystal Tyler-Mackey

Educational Day at Battlefield Farms – Rapidan, Virginia, March 28, 2017

Hi All,

Please save the date of March 28, 2017 on your calendar if you would like to join us for an educational day at Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, Virginia!

The focus of the day will be bulbs, as Battlefield is one of the largest producers of potted bulbs in the United States.  Join us to hear Cole Burrell and others as they discuss bulb production, the history of bulbs, and learn about what they do at Battlefield Farms.  Cole's keynote, titled: Bulbs and Corms and Tubers, Oh My! will cover a environmental stresses and how dormancy allows plants all they need to survive below ground until the good times return.  An exciting smaller breakout will be on Native American Bulbs.  Stay tuned for more information!

Registration (opening in February) will be limited to 100 people with a registration fee of $25.00, lunch provided. 

Bulbs and Corms and Tubers, Oh My!