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On Friday, June 20th, Tricycle Gardens celebrated the launch of their new healthy corner store partners, Song’s Market and Fine Foods Market.
Richmond, VA is rated the country’s worst food desert for a city our size and Tricycle Gardens, in partnership with public and private partners, is working to change this through our Healthy Corner Store Program. A citywide expansion is underway.
As a participating healthy corner store, storeowners commit to offering fresh, local produce grown by Tricycle Gardens and other local farmers as well as in-store tasting and food skills education programming. Tricycle Gardens celebrated the store owners’ commitment to improve access to healthy foods and provide skills needed to buy, prepare and enjoy delicious, healthy and affordable meals with the company of community members, customers, store owners and program partners like the Richmond City Health District, Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille, VDH, Bon Secours Health System
, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, CarMax Foundation and more.
The Executive Chef of the Governor’s Mansion Chris Blain prepared and demoed a Veggie and Black Bean Burrito Bowl in Bon Secours Virginia Health System’s Class-A-Roll with the help of youth from the Family Resource Center’s Youth Health Equity Leadership Institute and the Neighborhood Resource Center’s Food Landscape program. The recipe used only ingredients found in the corner stores and highlighted how to use seasonal produce to prepare affordable, healthy meals.
The events were free and open to the public. Families and individuals came out to learn about eating healthy on a budget and the expanded healthy food choices offered at the corner stores and celebrated the movement toward a healthier East End. Kids’ activities emphasizing physical activity and healthy food choices engaged the young people and community leaders talked to the adults to create an open line of communication.
Tricycle Gardens has several upcoming community-based food skills education programs including cooking demonstrations at the Robinson Theater on July 2nd, July 16th and July 30th from 6 – 7 PM and an in-store tasting at Fine Foods on July 9th from 3 – 4 PM.
In 2012, Delegate Dolores McQuinn requested the Virginia General Assembly review the issue of food deserts in Virginia. The Honorable William Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly, then commissioned Dr. Jewel Hairston, Dean of Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture, and Dr. Alan Grant, Dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, to conduct to a study of food deserts in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The deans led a broad-based task force to conduct the study, and last week the Food Desert Task Force pubished the “Food Desert Study Report” identifying challenges and strategies to address food deserts in Virginia.
The report also includes eight recommendations for the General Assembly’s consideration.These recommendations closely align with the work and mission of Tricycle Gardens to eradicate food deserts in our community.
On Tuesday, January 14th, Sally Schwitters, Tricycle Gardens’ Executive Director, joined fellow Food Desert Task Force members to support Dr. Jewel Hairston as she presented the report and recommendations at our state’s capital.
Read the full report here: Food Deserts in Virginia Study.
July 18th 12:00pm – 1:30 pm
Clay Street Market, 501 N 30th Street, Richmond, VA 23223
Come celebrate our official launch of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative! There will be food tastings, information on healthy eating, an unveiling of the logo, a ribbon cutting, and wonderful people to get to know. Clay Street Market, located in Richmond’s historic Church Hill, is hosting the launch of a healthy foods initiative designed to eradicate food deserts. Clay Street Market is one of two pilot corner stores participating in this initiative.
“Richmond’s East End is one of the largest urban food deserts in the United States.” Sally Schwitters, Executive Director of Tricycle Gardens, explains, “Get Fresh eats away at this problem by getting fresh, healthy foods right where people do their daily shopping.”
Studies have shown that 53% of the youth in an urban food desert stop into a corner store at least once per day and 42% shop there more than once. The average caloric intake of each purchase, mostly from processed foods high in fat and refined sugars, is 356 calories.
Richmond’s 7th District Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille stated, “Health outcomes are directly and negatively impacted by a lack of regular access to healthy foods. However, healthy choices can only be made in communities where there are healthy options. Having access to wholesome, local foods can help people eat better, feel better and have better health outcomes.”
The Healthy Corner Store Initiative will increase community access to fresh, affordable, locally grown produce through neighborhood corner stores. Store owners, in partnership with public?private stakeholders, are assisted in expanding their customer base with the implementation of this program.
Our friends at Urban Farmhouse believe in and try to support local efforts, especially when it involves growing fresh healthy produce. That’s why our new partnership with Urban Farmhouse is a match made in local heaven. We love Urban Farmhouse and the delicious products they carry and from the beginning they’ve been on of our strongest compost partners.
So we’ve partnered for an exciting fundraiser for these groovy t-shirts and all proceeds from these t-shirts go straight to Tricycle Gardens so we can continue to thrive and grow!
If you are local you can take advantage of the Shared Shipping option. If you use ourFree Shipping/Handling Coupon, your shirt and receipt will be shipped directly to our urban Farmhouse downtown location. 1217 E. Cary Street. By choosing this option, you will reduce the trash and fuel used to ship your shirt individually. Plus, we will give you a free coffee when you come in to pick up your shirt! We are planning a shirt distribution day on Saturday, April 13th. Free Shipping/Handling Coupon =bzsob1119
As always, your support is appreciated!
Thank you for helping us celebrate this the season of growing. We were thrilled to have such tremendous support, and we extend a special thank you to our Down on the Farm Party sponsors – Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Relay Foods, and Ellwood Thompson.
We also thank Grow RVA and the food trucks for being with us. We challenged each truck to incorporate our collard greens into their menus! They did a great (and delicious) job!
Our Farm serves as a working educational model of urban agriculture using sustainable growing methods, while also inspirational space for children, teachers and families, and a source of local food production. Our produce is distributed to Relay Food customers across the region, restaurants in the city, at our Farm Stand in Church Hill and now through our new “Healthy Corner Stores” Get Fresh! East End Program. Through this program, we are directly addressing food deserts and food access in our community by growing and distributing our local, healthy produce to corner and neighborhood markets in the East End. Our Farm Expansion will help feed this important program that we hope to extend across our region.
Take a look at all the fun! Hope to see you next time!
On November 18th, Tricycle Gardens hosted a volunteer group from HandsOn! Our volunteers were from Army Logistics University Quartermaster Class 12-012 and were directed by Scotty Dilworth. Just by looking at the pictures below, you can tell how helpful this group was! Thank you, ALU, for helping beautify the Bon Secours healing garden and making this world a better place.
Hi everyone, I’m Jessica Overcash! I’ve been working with Tricycle Gardens to produce a documentary about the organization for one of my classes at VCU. The Celebration at Main Street Station last Friday night was amazing! It was wonderful to see so many people coming out in support of Tricycle Gardens and the ideas of bringing agriculture, nutrition education and healthy food access to the urban core of Richmond, Virginia.
There were delicious beers, wines, and even beet martinis! The food from local vendors was oh so yummy, and the deserts were to die for! Decorations and music perfected the night while everyone mingled. Below are some pictures from the evening!
We had a lovely time at the SlowFoodRVA Food Day event at Pasture! The energy in the room was palpable and it was great to see so many groups and citizens rallying for good, clean, local food! The Mayor arrived shortly after the event began and discussed the Food Day proclamation he had signed while also addressing some of the priority recommendations of the Food Policy Task Force. Short discussions were held on the topics of: Hunger/Food Access, Safe + Healthy Diets for Kids, Support for Sustainable Small Farms, and Urban Agriculture. It was a great event and we look forward to seeing it grow for next years Food Day!
Sally Schwitters with Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Dr. Carolyn N. Graham