RICHMOND, VA – Some of the best advice you’ve ever received has probably come from your mother or your doctor: “Eat your fruits and vegetables, get some exercise, and take care of yourself.” But, what does that really mean? And what does this look like in a world where commitments are pulling us in numerous directions and being able to decipher just what exactly is in our foods is becoming increasingly challenging? Duron Chavis is tackling these challenges, and introducing the residents of Richmond, VA to a new way of thinking with the upcoming event; ‘Drums in the Garden’.
The idea for ‘Drums in the Garden’ was conceived by two members of the inaugural Lewis Ginter Urban Gardening Program, specifically the need to find culturally responsive ways to introduce urban farming to the community, specifically to those of African ancestry. The event seeks to bring people together in a space where they can begin to delve deeper into the idea of healthy food and access to it, in addition to healthy living. Chavis notes, “It’s deeper than just eating your fruits and vegetables. We’re addressing issues around accessibility, learning how foods are grown using GMOs (genetically modified organisms), pesticides, and herbicides. People should come out, to be immersed in knowledge and experience local food, organically grown without herbicides and pesticides.”
Another focus of the event will be helping participants discover different ways to be physically fit. We’re often reminded that we should be exercising or doing some form of physical activity for 25-30 minutes a day. However, not everyone is fond of going to the gym or is physically able to do rigorous exercise. Chavis and his team have these folks covered! ‘Drums in the Garden’ will feature yogis such as (Kiran Bhagat) who will present yoga techniques and help attendees find ways to integrate yoga into their lives, as an alternative form of exercise. Yoga is not only fun and healthy, but also beneficial for stress reduction and mindfulness.
Proving that the event is truly all-encompassing, Chavis and his team has also planned to include a component related cultural wellness. Chavis invites participants to ask themselves- “who are you as a person of African ancestry?” Recognizing that the drum is a musical element that unites many people and helps to form connections across cultures, regardless of where one is from in the African Diaspora, the drums will also be incorporated into the program. Dr. Ram Bhagat, co-founder and artistic director of ‘Drums No Guns’, along with drummers from all over the city of Richmond, will provide musical ambience for the festivities.
‘Drums in the Garden’ will be held at the 5th District Mini Farm, a location full of history. The farm, a community project started one year ago by Randy Minor [one of the visionaries behind Drums in the Garden], whose family lived on the farm since the 1930s, seeks to show people how they can grow food in small spaces. Individuals who volunteer their time at the farm are able to reap the rewards of their labor literally; they are able to take organically grown produce home with them at the end of their work. Minor and his team also facilitate an urban farm boot camp, known as the Southside Growers Academy, which is designed to increase the number of urban farmers in the city, create economic opportunity, and generate interest in the project.
‘Drums in the Garden’, coined by Dr. Ram Bhagat, will have something for everyone. In addition to workshops, urban faming, yoga, vendors, and music there will also be culinary art and food demos to teach others how to actually prepare healthy foods in a way that is pleasing to their palettes. We are certain that the coming together of different segments will result in people being connected with new opportunities, greater knowledge, and most importantly an increased awareness of easy ways to integrate aspects of healthy living into their everyday lives. This event should not be missed!
By: Natacha Lorius
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