‘Resiliency Gardens’ help community grow food during COVID-19 crisis

Updated: Apr. 25, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Leaving to get food is allowed during Governor Northam’s ‘stay-at-home order’, but the organization BeautifulRVA is working to equip the community with tools to grow their own food at home.

“It’s a new beginning, just knowing that after all this is over, you can start over - you can grow something have a little bit of hope," explained Nikiya Ellis with Beautiful RVA. “You can do this yourself, maybe you won’t need to go to the grocery store."

BeautifulRVA is “is a movement to create a healthy and vibrant Richmond community through urban greening and beautification.” The organization maintains several community gardens in the Richmond area.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they want to empower the community and provide for anyone concerned about food security.

“We will build a raised bed for you in your backyard at ZERO cost,” said BeautifulRVA in a press release.

“As local businesses furlough and lay-off employees due to massive shifts in the economy; we understand that it will become harder and harder to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Not to mention many areas already lacked access to a grocery store. The best way for people to ensure that they have access to high-quality food is to grow it themselves.” said BeautifulRVA. “Applicants will receive one 6 x 4 raised bed and soil. With additional philanthropic support, we hope to provide seedlings for folks and seeds to assist in their gardening efforts. BeautifulRVA is also providing online resources to assist people in learning how to grow their own food.”

The beds are called Resiliency Gardens. They are 24 square feet, BeautifulRVA says it is possible to grow something in each square foot.

“We are literally growing community through food access," explained Duron Chavis with BeautifulRVA.

"The struggle is how do people get access to healthy food? What we know
is even before the...
"The struggle is how do people get access to healthy food? What we know is even before the crisis there were community's that didn't have access to healthy food. Our work is how we can get raised bed boxes to individual," said Chavis.(NBC12)

Chavis encourages the community to go to The Natural Festival website to apply for a Resiliency Garden.

“Our work has been to figure out how we can get raised bed boxes directly to individuals in their homes to reduce the need for them to be out and about going to the grocery store, trying to figure out how to get to the food pantry," said Chavis. “We’re really trying to help people determine on their own terms where their food comes from and also help them with the mental health that is necessary during this time to help them feel hopeful and optimistic - nothing says hope like planting a seed.”

He says they are looking for volunteers to help deliver the beds, they are also raising money to provide seedlings and seeds to assist people in their gardening efforts.

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