Read About Our Grants
Come to the March 22, 2018 Festival of the Book!
"Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future"
Thu. March 22, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Letters to a Young Farmer is an anthology. Its contributors Eliot Coleman, Barbara Damrosch, Karen Washington, and Jill Isenbarger discuss the the highs and lows of farming life—as well as larger questions of how our food is produced and consumed—in vivid and personal detail. Proudly sponsored by the Ballyshannon Fund
The Ballyshannon Fund Forum at PVCC
A occasional series of lectures
at the Piedmont Virginia Community College in central Virginia.
All are open to the public, with no charge for attendance.
Thursday, March 20th, 2014 Seeing Flowers! The Ballyshannon Fund Forum presented a third sequel to the gorgeous “Remarkable Trees of Virginia" book and its followup Seeing Trees! The photographer, Robert Llewellyn, presented his new images to us during the Virginia Festival of the Book at Piedmont Virginia Community College
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Cultivating Community: A Dialogue of Farms, Health and Food. A panel comprised of diverse local farmers, growers and food-sourcers discussed growing and our community. We aimed to address all of the reasons you may be interested in farming, from your own home’s food supply, the ecological impact of farming, the business side, nutrition, or strengthening local food networks. There are deep traditions and of country and family, plus new innovations that are transforming the industry. The discussiuon was Moderated by Christine Muehlman Gyovai. She is the Principal of Dialogue and Design Associates and an Associate at the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia. Ms. Gyovai holds certificates in mediation and permaculture design, and has over twelve years of experience in facilitation and training with a focus on increasing community and environmental sustainability. She teaches permaculture in central Virginia with the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network. She holds a M.P. in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Burlington College. Christine lives in a straw bale home she designed and built with her husband and two small children near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
March 17, 2012 Seeing Trees! The Ballyshannon Fund Forum presented a sequel to the gorgeous “Remarkable Trees of Virginia" book. Photographer Bob Llewellyn and Author Nancy Ross Hugo spoke during the Virginia Festival of the Book about their new photo-essay Seeing Trees! Photography as you have surely never seen it. Few have ever thought of a tree as they show it ... with tiny details and huge images. To a layman, it's simply stunning! To professional photographers, it's a fascinating technique that keeps the multi-distance macro images in sharp-as-razor focus.
March 18. 2010, Matt Crawford, the author of “Shop Class is Soul Craft,” spoke during the Festival of the Book, Matt earned a PhD in Philosophy; he now prefers to work in his motorcycle repair shop. His book honors our skilled workers...without whom our society simply cannot function. His brilliant and important book discusses the logical thinking and intellectual ability required to fix engines, motorcycles, plumbing, electrical systems, etc. He wonders, wisely, why our society so often diminishes these "manual trades"...which are anything but "unskilled labor". This book is for sale in the PVCC bookstore.
In November 2009, our own Steve Murray, a Ballyshannon Fund Advisor, was interviewed on WVTF (NPR) about his Panorama Farm composting project: "Pay Dirt" That was shortly followed by another piece on rural culture and conflicts with newcomers moving to the countryside.
November 11. “Public Trees, Private Trees” focused on the urban tree preservation program underway in Charlottesville and offered help for homeowners who want to be good stewards of existing trees or ones they are thinking of planting. Chris Gensic, park and trails planner for the City of Charlottesville, and Phil Stokes, vice president for the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards looked at: 1) the importance of trees in the urban landscape and the City’s commitment to healthy trees and a thriving tree canopy, and 2) what property owners should consider when making decisions about existing trees (especially ones that aren’t thriving) and planting new trees.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 “Vintage Apples: Bringing the Taste to Life.” Among Virginia’s founders, the production of fruit trees was praised as the highest form of horticulture. From the Albemarle Pippin, grown locally by Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Beauty and the Willow Twig, apple varieties multiplied across the Commonwealth. Today, thanks to the passion and devotion of historians, orchardists and horticulturists, vintage applies are enjoying another golden age. The Ballyshannon Fund Forum brought together historian and orchard consultant Tom Burford, Vintage Virginia Apples founder Charlotte Shelton and horticulturist Chris Hill for an evening devoted to vintage apples. We learned about the story of apples in Virginia, about how vintage apples became the centerpiece of an Albemarle farm, and about how we might participate in the “highest form of horticulture” by growing our own vintage apples.
May 13, 2009 When Michelle Obama began planting her vegetable
garden at the White House, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II victory garden, she gave new visibility to a national trend—the return of the home garden. Who better to help Central Virginia gardeners than members of the Piedmont Master Gardeners Association? These men and women who are passionate about gardening shared tips gathered from their experience and the questions they receive at their phone-in help desk. Irene Burke, Bunyan Fortune. and Dorothy Tompkins discussed vegetable gardening in raised beds, composting to create your own fertilizer, and mulching to prevent weeds and protect your plants.
March 19, 2009.
Remarkable Trees of Virginia was presented to a capacity crowd with book sales and the authors signing books and chatting with attendees. Just Published!
A stunningly beautiful photo-essay on some of the truly remarkable individual trees of Virginia. Nancy Ross Hugo & Jeff Kirwan, authors. Robert Llewellyn, photographer.
Click here to order this remarkable book.
November 18, 2008. A panel of experts from
President James Madison's "Montpelier" talked about how commercial forestry practices, Civil War archealogical sites, history, and tourism can co-exist in a
working forest that helps pay for the restoration and upkeep of this important Presidential Home. See the Demonstration Forest Trail they are planning to construct.
“Welcome to the Country”Oct. 21, 2008.... a book discussion by the author and attendees. [Listen a similar WINA radio podcast here]. The first shipment of Frank Levering’s new book. Commissioned by the BallyshannonFund, the idea is to introduce urbanites to "country culture"...the unwritten rules by which rural people live. (Take a peek at Chapter One, here.) This charming new book is by the Virginia author Frank Levering, who runs a Patrick County cherry orchard (now 100 years, still a family business). Frank's new book introduces urbanites to "country culture"... with Frank's warm welcoming style, sharing the unwritten rules by which rural people live and get along. Our local NPR station WVTF interviewed Frank about conflicts than can - but don't have to - occur with new residents moving to the countryside.
Order a copy from Amazon Books or Barnes & Noble.
"Where are our Bees Going?" David Hackenberg, beekeeper, March 11, 2008
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley. November 15, 2007
“Welcome to the neighborhood! Now Leave." -- James D. Petersen, Executive Director, the Evergreen Foundation, October 11, 2007
"Urban Gardening" -- Will Allen from Growing Power, May 31, 2007. Shortly after this Forum, Will opened an urban garden which still thrives in Charlottesville, and he was later awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award) by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.