Our worker-owned cooperative was founded in 2009 to help people grow food in and around the city of Charlottesville. We work with folks of all backgrounds and experience levels to transform their yards into beautiful, abundant, low-maintenance, edible gardens. We are committed to practicing permaculture and helping everyday folks build their capacity both as producers and as stewards of the landscapes we inhabit.
Our worker-owners bring a knowledge and enthusiasm for perennials and permaculture design that we’re excited to share with our community!
Sarah Frazer grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, picking strawberries from her father’s garden and wild raspberries from the roadside. But she developed her interest in food security, food enterprise, and food sovereignty studying alongside grassroots groups in Latin America. Women in remote rural communities taught her the importance of the Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) and the powerful potential of producer cooperatives for economic development. Since then, she has worked with a sustainable development studies program in Costa Rica, a youth-led advocacy network based in Washington, DC, and on organic farms in Albemarle County. She recently received her Permaculture Design Certification via the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network and believes that both gardening and organizing for resilience are key ingredients to our community’s future.
Favorite Vegetable: The Kale
Cake Namdol comes to C’ville Foodscapes from more than six years of environmental and social justice activism. She trains community & student organizers, and has been active in the movement to end mountaintop removal. She was a member of the radical cheer-leading group Boston Sass Attack. Cake comes from a long lineage of Tibetan farmers. She is enthusiastic about re-learning and re-connecting with her farming roots through C’ville Foodscapes. She is an amateur screen-printer and enjoys playing folks songs on her ukulele. Most importantly, she is looking forward to turning all the lawns in Charlottesville into food growing, soul nurturing, beautiful spaces.
Favorite Vegetable: The Radish
Ben Kessler is an artist, four-season gardener, teacher, storyteller, birder, and all-around nature geek. He cut his eyeteeth leading an all-ages community garden science educational program in Yonkers, NY through the Greyston Foundation (now Groundwork Yonkers) while an undergrad at Sarah Lawrence College. Ben has been designing gardens and teaching Permaculture classes since his Permaculture Design Certification with the Cascadia Permaculture Institute in 2008. After an eventful sojourn in the West, which included a stint as an English professor at the University of New Mexico, a winter developing a permacultural homestead in the shadow of the Siskiyou Mountains, and a year tracking eagles for the Navajo Nation, Ben has returned to sink a taproot in the piedmont of the Blue Ridge. He shares his time with Edible Landscaping, the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network, and the Living Earth School, educating people about perennial crops, primitive skills, bird language, and woodland lore.
Favorite Vegetable: The American Chestnut
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