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Homeschool student wins grant for community garden - Times Virginian: News

Homeschool student wins grant for community garden

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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2018 8:52 am

Faith Novak, a local home schooler, is not yet even 16 years old but already has a burgeoning passion for sustainable living, youth, and entrepreneurship. In 2017, Novak found an opportunity to realize those passions in the form of a grant application from Dominos and AdCap. The grant asked the applicants “what do you want to strive for?” On her own accord, Novak applied for the grant. “I never thought I would win it,” she said, but in the end, Novak was one of only seven selected to be flown to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Dominos Headquarters to both receive the grant money and mentorship from various members of the Dominos Corporate team, as well as former Fox News Anchor Alexis Glick. The trip to Anne Arbor was fully paid for by dominoes, and Novak’s father accompanied her. There, she learned about entrepreneurship, business practices, and the importance of a mission statement.

“Dominos really cares and strives to make their food good for everyone. They believe in sustainability and they know where all their food comes from, so it was incredible for me to learn from them. Like something out of a book, really,” she said.

The seven finalists were chosen to have a one on one experience with the Dominos team, and Novak shared that they are all still in contact with each other. “The CEOs  really want to hear how we’re doing, which is why this project is so important to us. Even though we live in a farming community, we still have a lot to learn, I’m learning along with everyone else.”


Novak received the grant, officially, last October, but due to unforeseen circumstances, had not yet put it to use.

“Things just didn’t work out as quickly as we had expected. We had a place picked out to set up the garden, but it just wasn’t working,” she explained.

Help came in the form of Nancy and Don Wilk, the founders and co-owners of The APX Local Market.

“We are a small event space and marketplace. Our plan is to add an inspected kitchen and upgraded restrooms this summer. We will plan a big event to reintroduce the space after this next renovation phase is complete. In the meantime, we have a community potluck on the 2nd Tuesday of each month co-hosted with Land and Table, a Lynchburg area local food group. We are gathering to the space local and regional food, farm and Artisan vendors. Some of the current vendors you may recognize include Stone Spice, Blackwater Bitters, Grains of Sense Coffee and Teas, ABCahall Ceramics and Jason Benkendorf's wooden bowls. We are on the new Lynchburg Region Artisan Trail and would love to hear from vendors interested in coming to market. We are working toward a small cafe with indoor and outdoor dining serving local and healthy food,” Nanci Wilk explained.

Novak’s vision for the final product is a great example of civic responsibility. The APX Local Market will host a garden space where citizens- particularly students, can experience farming and understand where food comes from. They can plant, cultivate, and harvest the crops that grow there. Then, they can take the harvest into the kitchen and learn delicious and nutritionally balanced meals. Garden members also have the option to take their crops to the APX farmers market to be sold. Membership will be open to all who are interested. For more information, please contact the APX Local Market.