Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Randolph hosts kickoff for Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit

Randolph will help launch the first Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit with a screening of the documentary Growing Cities on Monday, April 14.

The summit will bring more than 100 people from around Virginia to Lynchburg to learn about ways to foster sustainable urban farms. Michael Van Ness, the executive director of the local, nonprofit farm Lynchburg Grows, asked Randolph College to host a viewing of Growing Cities to provide a national perspective on the issues the summit will address.

The College’s ongoing work in the field of sustainable food—including the growth of the Randolph College Organic Garden and student/faculty research on the topic—made him want to hold the film viewing here, Van Ness said. “Randolph has been going in this direction for a number of years, and we just thought it was a natural fit,” he said.

Growing Cities is a documentary about urban farming across the United States. It follows two filmmakers around the country as they interview people and show the ways urban agriculture promotes economic development and improves nutrition.

“It’s an inspiring film,” said John Abell, a Randolph College economics professor whose research focuses on the economics of sustainable food supplies. “It lets you know what the possibilities are. It shows lots of youthful enthusiasm for the whole farm-to-table movement.”

The screening will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Smith Hall Theatre. Hor d’oeuvres, including some local produce, will be served in the Alice Ashley Jack Room on the second floor of Smith Memorial Building beginning at 5:30 p.m. Abell will lead a discussion about the documentary.

For more information about the Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit, visit