WHEREAS, since Colonial times agriculture has been an important part of Arlington County’s economy with today’s growers producing food for themselves and others in an increasingly urban environment; and
WHEREAS, natural events ranging from strong storms and hurricanes to extreme temperatures demonstrate the importance of focusing on sustainable food systems and food security as well as the need for a more coordinated local and regional approach to growing, distributing, and accessing healthy food; and urban agriculture helps strengthen sustainable community food systems locally and regionally and bolster food security while providing entrepreneurs with new opportunities; and
WHEREAS, Arlington County farmers’ markets increased to 11 in 2018 with up to 2,000 people weekly per market and increased availability of SNAP benefits; the County offers 330 community garden plots including a fully ADA compliant plot; organics carts now collect yard waste weekly, school gardens and programs educate our youth; and County libraries offer a Tool Shed lending garden tools, garden book collections, and vegetable, natives plants onsite; and
WHEREAS, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and its Master Gardener and Master Food Volunteer programs and symposiums educate residents on growing, preparing and preserving locally grown foods, and VCE shows that if every family in Virginia spent $10 a week on fresh, local food and farm-based Virginia products, more than $1.65 billion in economic impact would be generated to strengthen more localized food production; and
WHEREAS citizen urban agriculture activities provide programs such as the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Plot Against Hunger, which collects fresh foods for, and educates client families on using these foods; the volunteer Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA) supports a healthy food system through community outreach programs on forward-thinking topics and collaboration such as a basil distribution event with Marymount University students, and Reevesland Learning Center’s Lawns2Lettuce4Lunches program which engages the community for two annual Fiesta Salad celebrations for 700 school children and others;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Katie Cristol, Chair of the County Board of Arlington, Virginia, do hereby proclaim October 2018 as
URBAN AGRICULTURE MONTH
in Arlington County to promote and educate residents as to the benefit and importance of urban agriculture programs in our community to promote healthy and sustainable food systems.