Since the inception of the personal automobile, the way that communities are designed has changed considerably, so much so that many neighborhoods are arranged so that people only interact with each other as they pass in their cars. New Urbanism is a movement to undo this by designing walkable places where people and communities flourish; using the tools of cohousing, traditional neighborhood development, pocket neighborhoods and many others designers seek to make new places that are centered around people, not cars. By addressing more than just the built environment, Cohousing takes it a step further and intentionally seeks to rebuild the social fabric one neighborhood at a time.

Speaker: Peter Lazar has lived in the cohousing community “Shadowlake Village” in Blacksburg for many years and is an advocate for the movement on the national level with the Cohousing Association ( He is currently working on bringing the new 26 home “Emerson Commons” cohousing neighborhood in Crozet to life. Join us this month as Peter highlights the design, benefits, challenges and experiences of living and building neighborhoods centered around people.

Fee: Free for members, $10 nonmembers, Register Here

Lunch will be provided.


Tue, August 8, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT


City Space, 100 5th Street NE

Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902

Maria Cannon

If you are looking for a way to boost your mental and physical health, you may want to take up gardening. It is never too late to immerse yourself in this hobby and gardening can be kept simple or expanded to become quite extensive. If you are a novice at gardening, but you are looking for a great way to get some physical exercise and reduce your stress levels, take some time to learn the basics and throw yourself into the process.

Gardening is a fantastic outlet for improving your overall health

Why embrace the idea of gardening? There are plenty of reasons why this is a great hobby to tackle, from the obvious to the less well-known. As One Green Planet indicates, gardening vegetables or fruits gives you easy access to healthy food and you can save quite a bit of money. It is a great outlet for getting some physical activity and learning how to garden stimulates your brain and gives you a sense of achievement.

However, there are some important benefits that come from gardening related to your mental health too. The process of gardening can provide an outlet for self care and quiet time to reflect and decompress, but there are significant benefits beyond that. NRP details that gardening helps to calm people and reduce stress, and it tends to decrease the stress hormone cortisol in people as well.

Not only can gardening decrease stress, but it has been shown to help people cope with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The process of gardening can help to provide structure and order in one’s life, and that can often help people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Keep things simple as you begin your first garden

Real Simple shares some basic tips for the novice gardener. First, you need to take some time to understand what will and will not grow well in the area you plan to use. Not only is the region where you live important in terms of what you try to grow, but your soil quality and the light your designated space gets are important too.

Before you start digging and planting, step back and plan what you will try out first in your home garden. Flower Gardening Made Easy suggests starting out with some annuals as they are easy to acquire and grow. Cosmos, marigolds, morning glory, and impatiens are some annuals that can work well for novice gardeners, and any garden shops can share additional suggestions that will work for your area.

Some vegetables and herbs can also be great plants for novice gardeners, as many grow quickly and early successes will spark a passion to keep going. Prevention suggests trying bush beans, chives, cilantro, onions, greens, peppers, or peas in a novice vegetable garden, and fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb work well for beginners too.

Garden in whatever space you have available

As a beginning gardener, you may not be ready to work with solar greenhouses or labor-intensive plants, but you can certainly start a small home garden of your own. If you have limited space, consider an urban garden. You can utilize containers on a patio or balcony, or look for a community gardening space where you tend to one portion of a bigger area.

Gardening is a hobby that provides substantial physical and mental health benefits and it appeals to people of all ages and skill levels. Plenty of plants are easy for novices to manage and once you start to reap the benefits of this hobby, you will surely be motivated to tackle more. Not only will you get some physical exercise and brain stimulation via gardening, but your mental health will benefit as your mood brightens and stress and anxiety levels decrease.


[Image via Pixabay]

The motivations and barriers that schools confront in considering green school practices will be discussed. Recent research supports the aims of green schools—reduced environmental impact, positive impact on health and wellness, and increased sustainability and environmental literacy—and is helping to make the case for action. Mrs. Heming will present the most current research alongside examples of successful schools who are making changes to building, operating, and teaching practices.

This luncheon will be held at City Space, 100 5th St. NE, on the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA. Doors open at 11:45 and the Seminar begins at 12:00. Luncheons are open to the public. Lunch is provided, attendance is free for GVGBC members and $10 for non members. Register Here