IofC Alumni Grow Green Communities as Facilitators of the Ginter Urban Gardeners Program

Our goal is for folks to be trained in how to work with community but they may not be from the neighborhoods they are actually working in. By creating this microcosm in the Ginter Urban Gardener classroom, we are able to practice in real time what it looks like to build community.
— Duron Chavis

The Ginter Urban Gardeners Program (GUGP) welcomes a 4th cohort on April 10th. This 12-week program, created by Duron Chavis, the Manager of Community Engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and an urban farm activist with Beautiful RVA, has graduated nearly 50 diverse emerging gardeners who are transforming green spaces, farms, gardens, and parks in neighborhoods throughout the city. 

A combination of classroom instruction, workshops, facilitated discussion and practical learning exercises, the intent is that Ginter Gardeners will take what they've learned, create and/or work in green spaces within the city to amplify sustainable gardening, wellness, beautification, community development, and creative cooperative action. In this effort, Duron has enlisted fellow CTF alumni since the inception of GUGP to facilitate half of the 12-week sessions with expert methods and tools learned from the IofC program.

CTF facilitators for the latest round of the gardening program included Dr. Kelly Merrill, Elaine Genise Williams, Joshua Ballew and Dr. Ram Bhagat. For GUGP, the facilitators lead sessions on self-reflection, honest accountability, placemaking, authenticity, inclusion, trustbuilding, cultural humility, building teams, and sustaining change. Connecting the ecosystem of the garden to the ecosystem of the self and the community, the Ginter Urban Gardener Program is shifting how Richmond citizens understand and demonstrate their capacity to make critical change in their environments.

To see a gallery of the Ginter Urban Gardeners program click here.