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Richmond's 'Tale of Two Cities' Highlighted by Walking Tour

On September 29, 2017 the American Heart Association (AHA), Tricycle, community representatives, volunteers, and elected officials participated in First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe’s Feed Virginia Day of Action.

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Senior Director of Government Relations, Robin Gahan, addressed the group of community members, organizations, and elected officials at the Bon Secours Sarah Garland Jones Center.

Senior Director of Government Relations, Robin Gahan, addressed the group of community members, organizations, and elected officials at the Bon Secours Sarah Garland Jones Center.

Participants began the morning with remarks from Christopher Rashad Green with the Richmond Food Justice Alliance, Elizabeth Theriault with the Richmond City Health Department, Isabel Eljaiek with Tricycle, Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille, and Richmond Mayor, Levar Stoney in the community room at the new Bon Secours Sarah Garland Jones Center. The group then walked to a series of sites in the East End including, the proposed grocery store at 25th Street and 9 Mile Road, Tricycle’s Corner Farm at 25th Street Market and the 31st Street Baptist Church Urban Farm. At the proposed grocery store site, AHA discussed our campaign for the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney addressed the group.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney addressed the group.

The need for increased access to healthy food in Richmond’s East End is vital to the health of the community. Isabel Eljaiek with Tricycle addressed the disparities that exist in Richmond in her remarks,

“Richmond is a “Tale of two Cities”. A child born in the East End has a life expectancy that is 20 years shorter than one born in the West End. Forbes has rated Richmond as one of the 10 best cities for finding employment, while the US census reports a 19% unemployment rate in our most distressed areas. Meanwhile, National Geographic named Richmond a top spot to travel for food, while Feeding America reports that 22% of residents are food insecure. With the growing demand for local food, the aging out of farmers, and increasing urban populations urban agriculture bridges “the two cities” while engaging and supporting underserved communities. As our gathering here today shows, urban agriculture’s most significant benefits center around its ability to increase access and social capital, community well-being, and civic engagement in the food system. The strong values surrounding FOOD growing, cooking and sharing help support Richmond communities in maintaining and appreciating cultural traditions with food while serving as a social bridge between communities.” 

Participants learn about urban farming at the 31st Street Baptist Church Urban Farm.

Participants learn about urban farming at the 31st Street Baptist Church Urban Farm.

To learn more about how you can engage in our efforts around food access in the East End, contact Karen Wells, Community Impact Manager at karen.wells@heart.org.

Participants learn about the proposed grocery story and the campaign for the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund.

Participants learn about the proposed grocery story and the campaign for the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund.

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