Agrarian Trust

Press Release: Announcing New Land Acquisition Project for the Central Virginia Agrarian Commons

June 16, 2022 – Richmond, Virginia – The Central Virginia Agrarian Commons (AC) is announcing its first land acquisition project. The Central VA AC needs to raise $145,000 through a fundraising campaign to acquire the 5.12-acre urban farm that sits right next door to an elementary school in Petersburg, Virginia. The Central VA AC is a collaboration between Agrarian Trust, Virginia Foodshed Capital, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, the Petersburg Healthy Opportunities Project, Petersburg League of Urban Growers, and Sankofa Community Orchard to support urban food production and habitat diversity, and to counter high rates of food insecurity. 

This 5.12-acre urban farm will be named Petersburg Oasis CommUNITY Farm, and once acquired, the Central Virginia AC will convey an equitable 99-year lease to Black farmers to use the land for chemical-free food production agriculture. The farm will immediately begin working to provide public elementary and middle schools with nutrient-dense local food access, provide farm education for K-5 students, work with Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to teach and engage students in agriculture, and become an incubator farm for beginning farmers. The farm will also have an on-site produce stand next door to an elementary school that serves over 500 students, 90 percent of whom are BIPOC, and within walking distance of many residential homes which are currently located within a food desert. 

Duron Chavis

Duron Chavis launched the Richmond Noir Market, a Saturday farmers market targeting low-income communities located in what the United States Department of Agriculture has designated as food deserts in Richmond, Virginia, and various urban farms, orchards, and vineyards. Chavis works in poverty mitigation, workforce development, health and racial equity, and continues teaching and leading new and beginning farmers.

Tyrone Cherry III has taught at the neighboring elementary school while being a public educator of over 20 years, and is the founder of Petersburg League of Urban Growers, Project Assistant of the farmers market, and is co-coordinator of the Power of Produce hub through the Petersburg Healthy Opportunities. 

Tyrone Cherry III

The Agrarian Commons model addresses two of the primary obstacles for contemporary farmers: the high cost of land and high debt burden of modern agriculture. With 400 million acres of farmland currently changing hands, now is the time for transformation in how land is owned, accessed, valued, and tended.

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