Posted by / February 21, 2012

Free Urban Gardening Classes in Richmond, Virginia

Last week we received a note from our neighborhood email list alerting us to an upcoming urban organic vegetable gardening class series. Being right up our alley, we made plans to attend the first session over the weekend to find out what it was all about.

The classes are free to the public, every Saturday from 11am - 12:30pm for 6 weeks and are taking place at the 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.

Victoria Campbell from the Department of Public Works helped lead this first class and even brought along one of her own backyard hens named George. Mary and I would still love to try our hands at raising 3 chickens of our own, but alas, the timing still isn't right and unfortunately it's still illegal given the space parameters of our property and the fact Basil would go nutso. We do, however, look forward to learning more about raising urban chickens firsthand in the event all the stars fall into place down the road.

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!


  1. Hi guys! Do you have to sign-up or register before hand or is it first-come..?

    1. Nope you just have to show up. We did show up about 20 minutes early and the room did get quite packed. Hope to see you there!

  2. Oh how fun is that?! We actually have a community garden here in Juneau. We didn't have time to be apart of it last year but I'm hoping we can this coming spring/summer.

    We followed your egg shell planting tip and have sprouts aleady! I have to say it has been such a cool project for my kids. They have loved watching and waiting for sprouts to appear.

    1. Angie, we loved reading of your success with the egg shell planters and doubly excited the kids are as interested!

    2. Lol, yes well now the challenge is keeping them alive:)

  3. Saw this through a retweet on the Twitters. Had NO idea this was going on, and now planning to go tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Carter, please introduce yourself. We look forward to seeing you!


Mary and Tim Vidra, here! Both Richmond natives & do-it-yourselfers by nature, we are continually in search of simple solutions for living more sustainably — sharing ideas, tips and tricks for DIY home decor, urban gardening and cooking.

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