U.Va. to Present Assessment Measures of the Charlottesville Food System

April 14, 2009

April 13, 2009 — The University of Virginia's Food Systems Planning course, offered by the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture, will offer its fourth annual community presentation of its research results and conclusions on April 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., in the McIntire Meeting Room at the Jefferson-Madison Central Branch Library, 201 E. Market St.

The class is taught by Timothy Beatley, a professor of urban and environmental planning, and Tanya Denckla Cobb, associate director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, and is composed of graduate and undergraduate students.

A reception will be held from 2 to 2:30 p.m. where food will be provided, along with displays of student projects, including:
• Local food heritage videos;
• Podcasts highlighting different parts of the food system compiled by a Science, Technology and Society class taught by associate professor Ben Cohen; and
• Studio designs of an "Edible Charlottesville" – an exploration of how Charlottesville would appear if the city produced its own food. The research was compiled by a landscape architecture studio taught by lecturer Lucia Phinney.

The class will present their findings of indicators and benchmarks for a sustainable food system for the Charlottesville region at 2:30 p.m. Building on the preliminary regional food assessment conducted by the 2006 class, the 2009 class will develop indicators and benchmarks for assessing a community's food sustainability and security. Students will consider the question: How can we measure a community's progress in creating a sustainable and secure food system? What specific conditions, activities and programs in the community enable us to determine the sustainability of a community's food system?

Working in teams, students undertook semester-long projects to understand and develop meaningful indicators and benchmarks for a particular aspect of the local food system. The four team projects include:
•    Low-Income Access to Food
•    Regional Land for Food
•    Emergency Food System
•    Sustainable Farm Labor Force

They worked closely with a variety of community organizations and members to develop conclusions. The public presentation of their work is an effort to increase community input and collaboration.
The Jefferson-Madison Central Branch Library is accessible by public transportation and parking is available around the building and in the downtown parking garages.

— By Jane Ford