Community gardens, both official and unofficial have been sprouting up around the city of Richmond for several years. In 2010, Mayor Dwight C. Jones asked City Council to pass an ordinance that would offer neighborhoods and organizations, empty and under-utilized city lots as garden spaces.
The community gardens that sprang up around the city were a direct result of the city’s Green Richmond Initiative. The gardens have not only provided economic benefits, but they have strengthened the community while promoting a greater awareness of the environment.
The community garden in the Chimborazo neighborhood of the city has been an ongoing and rewarding endeavor for over six years, well before the Mayor spearheaded the effort to get more neighborhoods involved in growing their own vegetables.
Today, it looks like the community garden project has taken hold all across the city, and on into the surrounding metro-area. There's the Jefferson Avenue garden, Lakeside Gardens Growing Families in Henrico County, the Uptown and the VCU community gardens, to name just a few.
One of the biggest rewards of community gardening is the impact they have on the attitudes many children have about what constitutes healthy food. It was discovered that many city kids had never planted a garden, or gathered the crops after they were grown and ripe.
Some kids had never eaten snap peas, or zucchini squash, yet once they learned to grow and take care of the vegetables themselves, they discovered they tasted pretty darned good.
Another reward of having a community garden is the way they seem to draw families and neighbors closer together, not only for a common cause, but as a source of pride. Ask any farmer about how they feel in having a good and profitable crop, and the feeling of pride is suddenly understandable.
Take a few minutes to view our slide show of some of the community gardens in and around Richmond. People, friends and neighbors, have turned what used to be a barren desert of a lot into an oasis overflowing with the richness of healthy foods.