Sign of spring: The garden tools everyone should have handy

Friends of Urban Agriculture and Virginia Cooperative Extension are partnering with Arlington Public Schools to turn the classroom gardens at local schools into “victory gardens” to grow fresh vegetables during the period that schools are closed.

The effort at Wakefield High School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Hoffman-Boston Elementary School and Tuckahoe Elementary School is designed to maximize the gardens’ capacities in an effort to reap 2,500 pounds of fresh produce.

“The community response has been amazing,” said Emily Landsman, a board member of Friends of Urban Agriculture. “To date, we have recruited over 70 volunteers and several Master Gardeners to assist the Arlington Public Schools garden coordinators.”

“We’ve been able to donate over 145 pounds of fresh vegetables to food pantries here in our own community,” said Ilana Rea, school-garden coordinator at Hoffman-Boston. “We are looking forward to donating much more in coming months.”

 Funding to support the initiative came from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, channeled to the initiative by the Healthy Communities Action Team of the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.

“Victory Garden” was a term used during World War I and World War II for vegetable and herb gardens planted on private land and public parks across the nation to provide nutrition for the public while freeing up other food sources to feed for U.S. military personnel.

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