On March 7, the Plot against Hunger Program welcomed over 100 gardeners to its 2020 garden kickoff at Arlington Central Library. The program opened with welcomes from master of ceremonies and Plot gardener Becky Halbe, new AFAC Director of Programs Stephanie Hopkins, and Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey.
The keynote presentation featured Hugo Mogollon, executive director of FreshFarm Markets, a nonprofit that supports sustainable agriculture and food equity in the mid-Atlantic region and sponsors many of our local farmers markets. As part of a panel on running faith-based gardens, Mark Schnarr from Clarendon Presbyterian offered his tips for raising potatoes in buckets and joined gardeners from St. Andrews Episcopal, Rock Spring UCC, and Marymount University in offering insights into organizing and sustaining successful gardens. Master Gardener Colleen Kennedy finished out the program with her "Tomato Love" presentation, focused on best practices for growing America's best-loved vegetable.
Particularly popular with attendees were free seeds and free seedlings--basil grown by Susan Agolini from Marymount and collards, kale, and cabbage from Dave Smith at St. Andrews. Patricia West, adult services librarian, reminded gardeners about the tools for checkout from the garden shed and provided a selection of gardening books from the Arlington Central collection.
Much valuable advice was dispensed at tables sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture, Plant NOVA Natives, Master Food Volunteers, and others. Looks like the 2020 gardening season is off to a good start!