Latest Newsletter

Read the most recent MEF newsletter here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesdays in the Garden Workshops - Central Library, Arlington

Look for Master Gardeners and volunteers of the Arlington Food Assistance Center in the garden at the Arlington Central Library 1015 N. Quincy St.  Arlington VA 22201, Wednesdays in the Garden Workshops, 7:00 pm.

  • March 27 Seed Starting -  Best Methods for starting seeds and seedlings
  • April 10 Edible Landscaping - incorporating edibles into your ornamentals
  • April 17  Starting the Spring Garden - Transplanting, direct planting, how to ready your garden for spring planting
  • April 24  Container Gardening of all kinds - ideas for growing herbs, vegetables, flowers and more.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Early Childhood Conference – Lens on Outdoor Learning


Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Early Childhood Conference – Lens on Outdoor Learning.
Fairlington Preschool, Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King Street, Alexandria, VA. This event will feature a keynote by Ginny Sullivan, landscape designer and author of Lens on Outdoor Learning. There will also be breakout sessions and hands-on building activities including the creation of a keyhole pollinator garden. More information and registration at
NOTE: Early Bird Registration ends Saturday, March 23rd!

Sustainable Alternative Urban Agriculture Food Systems

Dr. Marcus Comer will present his research in a public program from 7-9 pm at the Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St.  Arlington VA 22206 on indoor food production systems including aquaculture and hydroponics. FREE.  For more information please go to  or call or email the VCE Horticulture Help Desk to reserve a space at 703 228 6414 or . 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gunston Middle School Street 28 Adoption

Gunston Middle School sixth graders in Ms. Chumarro's classes recently adopted a street near their school.
Working with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, students learned the importance of cleaning up litter, beautifying Arlington and keeping streets safe. The project aligned with the students’ environmental curriculum.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Virginia Farm to School Programs

Virginia Farm to School Programs
(click the school division names to learn more)

Alexandria City Public Schools
Food Distribution System: Member of Shenandoah Buying Coop with Merchant's Grocery as prime vendor. All food and supplies are delivered to T.C. Williams HS, which is our central distribution facility...

Appomattox County Public Schools
Our school system has 4 schools with a total student enrollment of approximately 2,300 students. We go through the bidding process, but have no specific bid for produce. At this time, all produce is...

Arlington County Schools
The school system has a produce bid and each school orders for itself, off the system-wide bid. Some of the secondary schools are ordering produce off Prince William Co. bid. School system has 31 deli...

Augusta County Schools
The school system participates in the Blue Ridge Food Coop for purchasing. There are 21 schools & 1 alternative education site in the Augusta County system. A distributor services the system, based ...

Bath County Public Schools
Central purchasing is conducted for three sites (three schools). Each school has dry storage and refrigerated / freezer storage. Purchases are conducted weekly. The school system is not in a coop an...

Botetourt County Public Schools
The school system conducts centralized purchasing, billing, and centralized menus with some managers? choice menus. There are eleven schools in system. The system works with a distributor, including ...

Discovery Woods Garden Project

Floyd County Schools
Total Student Population: 2100 Food Distribution System: Joint bid with New River Valley SNP Cooperative, Montgomery County, Pulaski County, Floyd County and City of Radford. Purchasing from local co...

Goochland County Public Schools
Total Student Population: 2400 Food Distribution System: Our food service department is currently participating in the DOD produce program. We are on a weekly delivery schedule. We do not have a spec...

Hanover County Public Schools
The school system uses a distributor(s) but does not have a specific produce bid. The system conducts some open market purchasing of produce. Each site places its own produce orders, based on need. De...

Harrisonburg City Public Schools
Total Student Population: 4,300 Food Distribution System: We currently purchase the majority of our produce through Standard Produce in Charlottesville. Standard does an excellent job of notifying u...

Henry County Schools
We currently receive produce deliveries 1-2 times per week, depending on the size of the school, and 4 schools will be participating for at least part of the year in the DoD program. Fresh fruits are...

Norfolk Public Schools
Number of Schools: 54 Total Student Population: 34,725 Food Distribution System: We have a central warehouse and that delivers to every school every day. Vendors only need to make one drop at the c...

Orange County Public Schools
Number of Schools: 9 Total Student Population: 5200 Distribution System: Sysco Foods. We also work with a local farmer as a vendor in our system with weekly deliveries to each location. ...

Pittsylvania County Public Schools
Central purchasing is conducted for 18 schools with deliveries made to each to each site. Each school has dry storage and refrigerated / freezer storage. The school system is purchasing fresh produce...

Prince William County Public School District
Number of Schools: 88 Total Student Population: 73,657 Food Distribution System: We are a centralized system that uses centralize menus and conducts centralized purchasing and billing. We have 1...

QCC Farms! is an Urban Agriculture Project designed to engage low-wealth city residents in raising organically grown vegetables in underutilized green spaces, while providing nutritional and environme...

Richmond County Public Schools
Number of Schools: 3 schools Total Student Population: approximately 1200 Food Distribution System: Receive produce once a weekly from our regular distributor. Distributor is selected through a bid...

Roanoke County Public Schools
Number of Schools: 28 Total Student Population: 15,300 Food Distribution System: We are a centralized system that services 29 schools and 15,300 students. We bid using an ?all or nothing? approach...

Rockbridge County Public Schools
Number of Schools: 8 Total Student Population: 2798 Distribution System: Normally deliveries are made to individual schools by supplier. Other means are available by our maintenance department....

The Farm-to-Table Program at Rappahannock County Public Schools
The mission of the Rappahannock County Public Schools Farm to Table Program is to cultivate students who are good stewards of the earth and productive community members through classroom study of hort...

The House of Restoration
There is a central delivery site. The schools receives bulk of food from USDA with some outside purchasing of produce items, as need ed. The school provides breakfast and lunch to between 275-450 pu...

Virginia’s Farm to School program is in the exploratory phase. By passing SJR 347 during the 2007 legislative session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of ...

Virginia Beach City Public Schools
The school system has a total attendance of 70,000 students. The system uses a main distributor but is permitted to make purchases outside of their main distributor. General food, snacks and beverages...

Westmoreland County Public Schools
As a part of our Wellness Policy and to support local growers and businesses we purchase locally grown produce in season whenever the cost of the produce is close to or the same as prices from our ven...

Williamsburg-James City County Schools
The school system has 14 schools with a total student enrollment of approximately 11,000 students. The system uses a main distributor, but has no specific bid for produce. Produce is purchased from ...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lawn Care Seminar - March 14, 7pm

To reserve a spot for the lawn care class contact the VCE Horticulture Help Desk at 228 6414 or by email at 

Who:  Residents of Arlington and Alexandria, anyone who wants to know how to take care of lawns in a smarter way.

What:    ‘TURF’ is not a Four Letter Word”, will be presented by Dr. Mike Goatley, Turf Specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and faculty member at Va Tech.

Where:  Fairlington Community Center 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington VA 22206

When: 7:00 – 8:30   Thursday March 14, 2013

Co-sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.  For more information about spring gardening programs go to:

Compare Solar Panels and Prices

Compare Solar Panels Before You Buy

BP Solar
Canadian Solar
Evergreen Solar
ET Solar Industry On Sale!
GE Electric
Helios Solar Works Made in USA

LG Solar
Mitsubishi Electric
REC Solar
Schott Solar Made in USA
Made in USA
SolarWorld Made in USA
Made in USA
Trina Solar
Yingli Solar
Solar Panels by the Pallet
Solar Panels on the Roof
Wholesale Solar offers all brands of solar panels at the best prices
. Compare solar panels below by brand and price, or by wattage, amps, volts, power tolerances, and weight. If you want American-made, don't forget Sharp, or SolarWorld. And, be sure to comparison shop our solar panels by the pallet.

Our best deals come when you buy our complete systems. We carry both grid-tie and off-grid systems. The image on your right is an installation of one of Wholesale Solar's Solar Sky Grid-tie Systems with Astronergy solar panels.    

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Virginia Farming Magazine

Keep up with the latest news on VA Agriculture: Farms, Food and Forestry - with both this new online magazine site and Facebook page.

Virginia Poultry

Virginia Horticulture

Virginia Wine

Virginia Founding Farmers
<< >>

Sunday, March 10, 2013

USDA's Farms to Schools features local farms and Nottingham Elementary

Reposted from 

In the photos you'll see products from Maple Avenue Market and Farm (Sara and Chris Guerre).

Farm to School

Across the country, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. This nationwide movement to enrich children’s bodies and minds while supporting local economies is often referred to as “farm to school.” The term encompasses efforts that bring local or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias; hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and the integration of food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports such efforts through its Farm to School Program, which includes research, training, technical assistance, and grants.

Local what?
Regional offerings (and therefore economic opportunities for local food producers) can span the school meal tray and include everything from fresh fruit and vegetable servings to the wheat in the pizza crust, beans in the chili, rice in the stir fry, turkey in the sandwiches, and cheese in the quesadillas. Thus, farm to school includes of all types of producers and food businesses including farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, as well as food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. Schools can define “local” however they choose, and definitions vary widely depending on the unique geography and climate where the school is located, and on the abundance of local food producers.

The Farm to School Grant Program
Every year, USDA awards up to $5 million in grants to help schools connect with local producers and teach kids where their food comes from. These funds support activities ranging from training, planning, and developing partnerships, to purchasing equipment, planting school gardens, and organizing field trips. Grantees include schools and districts (large and small, rural and urban), Indian tribal organizations, producers and producer groups, non-profit entities, and state and local agencies.

We’re here to help!

The USDA Farm to School Program is operated by the Department’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which has seven regional offices around the country; in each is a Farm to School Regional Lead who is available to provide farm to school related support to state agencies and other entities in their region. A list of regions, along with the names and contact information for regional and national USDA Farm to School Program staff, can be found here. To receive information and updates about USDA’s Farm to School Program, please sign up for our Farm to School E-letter.
Farm to School Home
Fact Sheets
Farm to School Grants
Local Procurement
State Contacts
USDA Farm to School Staff
Know Your Farmer,
Know Your Food
Agricultural Marketing Service
Cooperative Extension Offices
USDA Food Hubs
Food Environment Atlas
Email Update Subscriptions


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Potomac Overlook Improvement Plan 2.0

reposted from ARLnow:

Rock Wall, Zip Line Removed from Potomac Overlook Plan

by | March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 553 views | 16 Comments and 1 Reaction
Treetop shelter similar to one proposed for Potomac Overlook Regional Park (photo via NVRPA)An ambitious plan to add amenities to Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 N Marcey Road) has been scaled back as a result of negative feedback from residents.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has released a “Version 2.0” of its Potomac Overlook improvement plan. Officials say they made changes to the plan after receiving concerns and criticism at a community meeting last week and in the 46 Comments and 4 Reactions of an article.
Site plan for Potomac Regional Overlook ParkThe new plan removes a proposed zip line, rock wall and paved parking lot from “near-term consideration.” It also establishes a “Natural Resources Advisory Committee” to study some elements of the original plan prior to any implementation. Plan elements selected for further study are the signature “tree house overlook,” a small urban farm, and any removal of healthy trees.
Elements of the plan that the park authority intends to move forward with over the next few years include:
  • New programming and interpretive signage
  • Tearing down an aging performance stage and replacing it with a new stage/shelter
  • Renovating the Bird of Prey structure
  • New kiosk/signage at park entrance
  • New scout camping area near a fire circle in the back of the park
  • Historic Donaldson barn site interpretation
  • Adding more wood chips to trails
“We are calling this Potomac Overlook Improvement Plan Version 2.0, and I think it will please many who have shared their views with us,” said Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Executive Director Paul Gilbert.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Free Workshop on Growing Food in the City: Vegetable Gardening 101

Contact:  Kirsten Buhls, Virginia Cooperative Extension
704-228-6414  or

Growing Food in the City:  Vegetable Gardening 101

Learn the basic principles of food production at this free workshop offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension, with the support of Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.  Topics to be covered include soil preparation, what and when to plant, and space-saving techniques.  

Saturday, March 23, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street (off Quaker Lane), Arlington.

The workshop is free but registration is requested.  Call the Horticulture Help Desk at 703-228-6414 weekday mornings or visit, click on 'Events Calendar' and then click on listing for the workshop. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

4MR Cleanup on Saturday

Four Mile Run Watershed Cleanup

On Saturday, March 9, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Arlington County will be organizing its annual cleanup of the Four Mile Run watershed. This free event will take place at designated sites including Madison Manor, Bon Air, Bluemont, Glencarlyn, Barcroft, and Shirlington Parks to help clean up stream banks and park areas along Four Mile Run. Four Mile Run is Arlington’s largest watershed draining to the Potomac River.

All are welome to participate including individuals, families, and groups. Several sites have areas that are easily accessible and safe for young children.

The Arlington County Park Rangers are organizing this watershed cleanup. For more information, contact them at 703-525-0168. ACE is pleased to partner with the County and will be coordinating the cleanup sites at Barcroft Park and Shirlington Park.