1. A dining hall
2. Land belonging to an entire community
3. Cultural and natural resources that are shared by and accessible to all members of a society.
“Food creates community. Charlottesville is our commons.”
During a flight to New Orleans, Andrea Hubbell and Sarah Cramer Shields conceptualized a project that would highlight the “commons” of Charlottesville, Virginia. This project was named Our Local Commons. What bonds the two photographers beyond their love of photography is their passion for learning and sharing the stories behind the food grown and raised in their community’s fields, pastures, gardens and backyards. As mothers and community advocates, knowing where their food comes from and the story of the people that had a hand in bringing it to their table is something they value. They hope to enrich their community through sharing this information.
Through Our Local Commons, the pair shares the stories that they are told and the skills that they are shown by their readers. This provides a platform where they can better utilize the local food resources that their community has to offer. Andrea and Sarah have captured and shared the stories of local chefs, farmers, growers, bakers, craftspeople and food enthusiasts, that make up the Charlottesville “Commons.”
Something that began as an idea on a flight has blossomed into something greater than either of them imagined. The photographers took an online resource of recipes and story sharing and transformed it to beautifully printed books. The first published book, Charlottesville Commons Volume 1, was released in September 2013. The book furthered the sense of community their online resource was founded upon with a sponsorship model.
The sponsorship model of the Charlottesville Commons Volume 1 allowed businesses to share the stories of someone else. Businesses sponsored who and what they believed in. This model was used again for Charlottesville Commons Volume 2, which officially hit shelves September 8, 2014. The first edition of the book focused on the history and tradition of the Charlottesville food community. Charlottesville Commons Volume 2 focuses on culinary and entrepreneurial innovation. This sponsorship model has allowed Volume 2 to include 21 original feature length stories, 11 brand new sponsors, 4 returning sponsors and 29 tested recipes from the area’s local food community. Two sponsees from volume one even returned as sponsors in volume two.
Jenny Paurys, the lead writer and editor of Charlottesville Commons Volume 2, contributed to Andrea and Sarah’s vision. In this second edition, which took a year to produce, professional tips for home-brewing, pie pairing, cheese plate creation and more are included. This edition is a 160-page, softbound book filled with stories, full-color photographs, and recipes from chefs, farmers, producers, bakers, and food enthusiasts in the Charlottesville local food community. “It seeks to illuminate the collaborative, supportive relationships of this food community, while also sharing knowledge from its experts.” Sarah and Andrea aspire to give real meaning to the idea of local. Readers can expect to come away with an “enriched understanding of the skill and dedication of the farmers, chefs, producers, and artisans in its midst.”
Paintings from local artist, Isabelle Abbot, also make an appearance in this volume; her paintings were sponsored by Worth Higgins & Associates. Scott Hudson, the director of our large-format division, Worth Wide, lead this project. He enjoyed the strong sense of community in the pages of Our Local Commons. “Worth Higgins & Associates is always looking for projects that put the ‘art’ back in our craft- it’s about more than ink on paper,” says Scott. “Sponsoring Isabelle Abbot’s beautiful paintings throughout the book were a natural fit for us; we are proud to partner with so many amazing people on this project.”
In addition to sponsoring Isabelle Abbot, Worth Higgins & Associates had the pleasure of printing Charlottesville Commons Volume 2.
For more information about Our Local Commons and to learn how to purchase Charlottesville Commons Volume 2 please visit: http://www.ourlocalcommons.com/