You may not know it, but RVA is full of “food deserts”—areas with high rates of poverty and long distances to grocery stores.
There are more than 40 neighborhoods in RVA that fall mostly or completely within a food desert. More than half of those neighborhoods are in the Southside. This lack of access to healthy food is keeping many of Richmond’s low-income communities from getting stronger. It’s making their residents sick.
Without nutritious food,people suffer from chronic illnesses and conditions.
That’s why urban agriculture is so important. It creates direct, localized and inexpensive sources of nutritious food for thousands of people. It helps to prevent maladies like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It also spreads the word about healthy living and inspires systemic empowerment.
Government programs, grocery stores, and even farmers markets require large investments from outside sources. Community gardens come from within. They become a driver for larger community action and overall capacity building.
Schools, students, parents, church groups, community organizations and their members can come together over growing healthy food to build greater community strength.