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Our online registration is now closed. There is still space available and you can register in person at the event on Saturday October 1st.

Registration opens at 8:30am

Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S Stafford St. Arlington VA 22206

Directions to Fairlington Community Center for the symposium

Registration fee of $25 includes lunch and event schedule listed below. You will be asked to select one of each of the 3 breakout sessions during registration. The registration fee is payable by credit card, check or cash.


8:30 - 9:15 - Registration opens, coffee, tea, snacks, view displays

9:15 - 9:45 - Welcome to Urban Agriculture Month - kickoff and opening remarks

9:50 - 10:50 Breakout Session I

Urban Soil Properties and Remediation Strategies

Presenter: Dr. Greg Evanylo, Virginia Tech

Urban soils are often drastically impaired due to removal of topsoil, compaction and (sometimes) excessive amounts of acidity, alkalinity, or heavy metals. The purpose of this session will be to describe the causes and results of poor management on disturbed urban soil physical and chemical properties. Solutions for remediating such soils will be provided.

Dr. Evanylo conducts extension programming and research at Virginia Tech on the beneficial recycling of agricultural, municipal and industrial by-products for the enhancement of soil, water and air quality. He specifically works with agricultural and urban nutrient management and composting and compost use to promote environmentally and economically sound by-product recycling. Dr. Evanylo  provides research-based information to state regulatory agency staff, local government decision makers, farmers and other agricultural and urban land managers, extension educators, and citizens. The purpose of these activities is to elicit change in practices that will reduce the impairment of our environment, viz. soil, water, and air quality, while improving economic returns. He is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the Water Environment Federation, and the U.S. Composting Council

Urban Community Agriculture Models

Presenter: Joanna Winkler, Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA)

Joanna Winkler Future Harvest CASA will talk about urban community gardening building efforts in Washington and Baltimore.

Perennial and Tree Crops for the Urban Gardener

Presenter: Vincent Verweij, Arlington County Parks

Learn how to successfully incorporate fruit and nut-producing trees into your landscape and garden for lower maintenance and more environmentally friendly approach to land use management and urban agriculture.

Vincent Verweij has been an urban forester with the Department of Parks and Recreation for five years. He has experience in topics beyond urban forestry, with geographic information systems, stormwater, flood management, urban agriculture, beekeeping, and engineering. His current work with Arlington ranges from tree inspections to plan review to restoration of natural areas. One of the goals of Vincent’s work is to maintain the County’s 40 percent tree canopy target in the long term. Previously, Vincent worked with a federal contractor, performing tree canopy assessments and creating flood maps with GIS. Prior to that he worked at an arboretum mapping trees, and he has a long history working with nonprofit tree planting organizations. Vincent has an undergraduate degree in geography from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in natural resources management from Virginia Tech.

11:00 - 11:50 Breakout Session II

Biosolids Tailored for Use in Urban Agriculture

Presenter: Odiney Alvarez-Campos, Virginia Tech

Exceptional Quality (EQ) biosolids products have the potential to improve properties of urban degraded soils for agricultural use. The purpose of this session is to explain how EQ biosolids are made and show the results from a preliminary greenhouse study that aimed to quantify plant available nitrogen and phosphorus of various EQ biosolids products, and identify their capability to support germination and plant growth. In progress field experiments will also be described briefly.

Odiney Alvarez-Campos is a PhD student working with Dr. Evanylo in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences (CSES) at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. She received her BS degree in Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Management from EARTH University, Costa Rica and completed her MS degree in Soil and Water Sciences with a Hydrologic Sciences Concentration at University of Florida in May 2015, where she was also recognized by the Gamma Sigma Delta, Honor Society of Agriculture for outstanding academic achievement. Since the beginning of her career, Odiney has studied the use of organic amendments to improve soil properties and increase crop yield in agricultural systems such as pineapple and sugarcane production. Her current work involves the evaluation of various Exceptional Quality biosolids products tailored for their use in urban agriculture with the purpose of improving properties of urban degraded soils and growing vegetable crops.

Gotta Get Your Greens: High Value, Nutrient Dense, Low Maintenance Vegetables for the Northern VA Gardener

Presenter: Jennifer Abel, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteers with Extension Agent, Jennifer Abel educate the public about nutrition, diet, and cost saving approaches to eating fresh.  Come share in this program that will give you new ideas about preparing your home grown produce.

Aeroponic Containerized Farming for Urban Agriculture

Presenter: Alice Soulek, Village Greens, LLC

The future of soil-less, space-less, urban food production depends on a new way of thinking about how we grow the food we eat.  Come see some ideas and discuss the future of small space farming.

12:15 - 1:15 Lunchtime Keynote

Eating Your Way to Better Health: Cancer Prevention and Gardening, Speaker Dr. Carlin Rafie

Dr Carlin Rafie is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech and adult nutrition specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension. She received her Ph.D. in dietetics and nutrition from Florida International University, and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. Dr Rafie's work focuses on community engagement in resource and need assessment and community programming for prevention of chronic disease and improvement of health; methods of community engagement in research; impacts of diet, physical activity, and sleep quality on inflammation and quality of life of cancer survivors; and community educator training models to affect health behavior change.

1:30 - 2:20 Breakout Session III

Hydroponics and Virginia State University:  An Update from the Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center

Presenter: Dr. Marcus Comer, Virginia State University

Over several years, Virginia State University staff have been developing “The Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center” in Petersburg VA to create a center for teaching and research into indoor urban agriculture management practices. Come get an update on this important demonstration facility.

Teaching the Next Generation of Gardeners: 4-H Resources and the Junior Master Gardener Curriculum

Presenter: Caitlin Verdu, Virginia Cooperative Extension

A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Caitlin received her B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy & Hispanic Studies from The College of William and Mary in May 2014. Caitlin has worked with natural resource management programs throughout the state and as Arlington County 4-H Extension Agent, Caitlin is responsible for developing opportunities for youth to learn citizenship, leadership, and life skills.

Microgreens and Sprouts: Home Grown Nutrition for the Winter

Presenter: Puwen Lee, AFAC

Puwen Lee coordinates the Plot Against Hunger program at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), Arlington County’s main food pantry.  The “Plot” program seeks donations of fresh fruits and vegetables to AFAC from local gardeners and farmers and educates AFAC clients about healthy diets.

Join her in this hands-on session and make a container for growing microgreens and a sprout jar, for year-round harvesting on your kitchen counter.

2:30 - 3:20 George Mason University Community Gardens Oral History Project

3:20 - 3:30 Closing remarks

A special thank you to our sponsors and program participants for their support.

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