April 30, 2007 -- As part of an ongoing investigation of Charlottesville's community food system, students from the University of Virginia School of Architecture's Department of Urban and Environmental Planning will present their research on issues and programs that help build community by fostering better linkages between local farms and community schools, food stores, restaurants and residents.
The student projects will be presented in a public forum on May 1, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the City Hall auditorium. Their research includes two studies of the feasibility of farm-to-school programs that would bring fresh, locally grown products from area farms to school cafeterias at local schools as well as the University; ways that Virginia wineries can remain economically viable in light of new regulations on direct sales to the public; an investigation of access to locally grown food in lower income neighborhoods; identification of sites for urban agriculture projects; ways to overcome barriers to local distribution; and incentives that could encourage new farmers and farms.
The meeting is intended to encourage dialogue and explore collaboration among the community groups and with faculty experts and students.
The U.Va. class, "Planning for a Sustainable and Secure Community Food System," is taught by Timothy Beatley, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, and Tanya Denckla Cobb, a senior associate at the Institute for Environmental Negotiation. Graduate and undergraduate students are expanding on research by students last spring that assessed Charlottesville's regional food system. The class incorporates ideas of food as part of the city and region’s infrastructure, an emerging field in urban planning that touches on questions that range from public health to economic impact.