Richmond community garden space in high demand as inflation soars

In the City of Richmond, the parks and recreation department is trying to keep up with the community garden land demand.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:18 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At Sankofa Community Orchard on Richmond’s Southside, Duron Chavis shows off just some of the harvest coming in and how a 60-year-old vacant lot can become so much more.

“It’s critical for people to get connected back to gardening,” said Duron Chavis, Happily Natural Day Executive Director.

Chavis runs Happily Natural Day, which manages eight community green spaces across the city. That includes Sankofa Community Orchard, which now houses 80 fruit trees.

The organization also teaches a five-week boot camp on how to garden for those in Black and Brown communities. Chavis says as inflation goes up so has a renewed interest for people to grow their own fruit, herbs and vegetables.

“Not only skip over the high price of food but also have an assurance of the quality of the food that they’re partaking in,” said Chavis.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported that food-at-home prices rose 11.9 percent over the last 12 months, the largest increase since April 1979.

In the City of Richmond, the parks and recreation department is trying to keep up with the land demand. The city has a community gardening program where people can ask for a permit to grow on city land at almost two dozen locations.

Richmond City Council made changes this year to make it easier and now there’s a waitlist at some locations.

“We allow for multi-year permits. A lot of our gardens have been around for a while, so it makes sense to eliminate some of that paperwork,” said Kate Rivara, Community Gardens Coordinator.

The city also eliminated other red tape by allowing those who do grow on city-owned property to now be able to sell what they grow for fundraising efforts on-site.

“Really help the sustainability of these community programs and community gardens,” said Rivara.

For details on how you can get involved with your area community garden, you can click here or email:

You can find out more about Happily Natural Day here.

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