We began in 2014 with a tiny market garden at Fairfield Middle School and the beginnings of our Grow On! youth development program. Middle schoolers applied to be interns in our program to learn how to manage a market garden, run a farm stand, and develop cooking skills and nutrition literacy. We have experienced tremendous support from parents, teachers, students, and community members who shop at our youth-run farm stands. It is only with this support that we have been able to expand to two other middle schools, further develop our educational programming, and now endeavor on our biggest venture yet: Cornerstone Community Farm.
We are excited to announce that with the help of Henrico County Public Schools, the Henrico Board of Supervisors, and the Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation District, we are installing 5.5 acre farm site at Fairfield Middle School! Cornerstone Community Farm (CCF) is an economic and agricultural collaboration that supports neighborhood vitality through sustainable food production, job creation, and environmental stewardship. The farm is a living laboratory where education and entrepreneurial opportunity intersect to create proud young farmers, scholars and business leaders. The site will combat two critical local challenges – food insecurity and stormwater runoff – in a setting that promotes education about both. Cornerstone Community Farm will be a farm-to-cafeteria production site for the students at Fairfield Middle as well as a learning and discovery site, featuring:
- one and a half acres of food forest,
- annual and perennial food production for both market and school consumption,
- perennial pollinator habitats with an environmental conservation laboratory,
- designated learning spaces including living classrooms and an open-air amphitheater, and
- a greenhouse and food processing site in support of large-scale production.