North Avenue Richmond Library. While we are most interested in learning techniques to make our personal urban space thrive as a garden, we were pleasantly surprised at how much information was given on the topic of community gardens and their overall benefits to the city.
We got there about 10 minutes early which was great since the class filled up so quickly there weren't enough seats for everyone. Upon arrival, we were instructed to take one of the provided large buckets and begin collecting compost for a project we'll later undertake in the class.
Duron Chavis of Richmond's Noir Market in Battery Park also helped lead this first class, really laying out the social benefits of eating healthy and coming together as a community to build something from the ground up. For example, other than lowering pollutants in the air, did you know statistics show that neighborhoods who have participated in maintaining a community garden actually see lower crime rates?
This first class provided a good overview of things to come: composting, soil testing, benefits of using and saving heirloom seeds, keeping bees, making rain barrels, and learning techniques for contained gardening — like bulk potatoes. We learned where Richmond's "food deserts" are and how to become involved in organizing a new city community garden. It was also interesting to see that food deserts also follow high crime areas.
The class was a great way to meet others in the city with similar interests to ours and we're looking forward to learning more as the class progresses. For those of you in the RVA area, we hope to see you there next week!