EPA digs into Charlottesville Urban Garden during National Agriculture Week | US EPA – U.S. EPA.gov

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PHILADELPHIA (March 19, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz and Charlottesville Mayor Juandiego Wade marked National Agriculture Week by visiting Charlottesville High School’s urban garden to learn from students about their sustainable agriculture practices and impact on the Charlottesville, Virginia community.  
During this visit, Ortiz and Wade engaged with students, CHS staff, and community members to explore the garden and learn about its impact on promoting environmental sustainability and addressing food equity in the local community. 
“The Charlottesville High School urban garden exemplifies the strength of aligning education, community involvement and environmental stewardship for a brighter, cleaner future,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Witnessing the students’ passion and commitment to building a resilient, sustainable and equitable community highlights the power these initiatives have in inspiring the next generation of leaders in agriculture and environmental conservation.” 
Ortiz spoke with the students about the agriculture community’s vital role as the backbone of the nation. He shared that local initiatives like the urban garden help contribute to clean air and water, while also helping farmers overcome extreme weather challenges for stronger food systems and healthier, more resilient communities. 
The leaders also recognized the students and the Urban Farming Program faculty for their focus on entrepreneurship, environmentally friendly practices and food security, as evidenced by their annual contributions ofup to 2,000 pounds of produce to the community. 
“It was such an incredible opportunity to have Adam Ortiz visit CHS’s urban garden and witness the students’ commitment to the protection and success of urban agriculture as an important climate adaptation and resilience strategy,” said Charlottesville Mayor Juandiego Wade. “A sustainable and food-secure future starts with our youth and that is evident based on the involvement and hard work of the students right here in Charlottesville.” 
This visit also allowed Ortiz and Wade to meet with leaders from Cultivate Charlottesville, a non-profit organization that helps manage the urban gardens, to talk about their role in using the garden’s produce to increase accessibility to healthy foods and create environmental resilience in underserved sections of the Charlottesville community. 
“We are honored to welcome the EPA and Mayor Wade to our school to witness firsthand the incredible work being done in our urban garden,” said Charlottesville High School Interim Principal Kenneth Leatherwood. “Our staff and students are doing great work, and we want our students to fully understand what the EPA does to help the agriculture community.”  
The EPA is committed to raising awareness about sustainable agriculture practices for continued environmental stewardship through continued environmental education and outreach engagements.  
Visit the EPA’s website for more information on Urban Agriculture 
Visit the Charlottesville High School Urban Farming website for more information.  


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