Richmond students show off their green thumbs as part of ‘Farmstrong’ program

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A group of students of Richmond are showing off their green thumbs.

High school students from Armstrong High School are cultivating a garden on nearly two acres of land next to their school. They call the program Farmstrong.

“Well, everybody’s got to eat, and unfortunately everyone is not eating well,” said John Lewis with Renew Richmond, one of the organizations that created the program for the students. “It’s a vast amount of people that are living at or below the poverty line are eating garbage.”

“Oh man this is an amazing project, this is Farmstrong!” Lewis added.

On Wednesday, about a dozen students weeded the garden where various vegetables are growing. Students say they like the program for various reasons.

“I do it for the fun of it mostly, because it’s fun,” said Armstrong freshman Darvon Cooper.

10th grader Kenzie Beedles added, “I didn’t know anything about farming until I came to Farmstrong. I learned how to plant seeds and how to water them, it’s positive and fun, it’s a fun experience.”

The program relies on private donations and public grants. Organizers hope to eventually grow enough vegetables to sell them from stands and to take them to people who need healthy food in areas known as ‘food deserts.’

Giles Harnsberger with Groundwork RVA, another group that has helped spearhead the program, said Farmstrong helps the students have a sense of pride.

“We’re across from Fairfield Court, Wickham Court and Creighton Court,” he said. Most of these kids live in one of those areas, so when they look around they don’t always see opportunities to change the environment where they live, but when they see this site Farmstrong they see that.”

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