(RICHMOND, VA)—Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe will join members of Second Baptist Church of South Richmond and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in inaugurating a new garden that will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to Southside Richmond and reduce water pollution entering local waterways. At 2 p.m. on March 24, volunteers will be planting seedlings into the garden beds. The project is a model for what can be done to help both Richmond communities and the environment.
A major initiative has transformed the church's grounds, adding a quarter acre of raised garden beds for growing produce. Rainwater from the church's roof is funneled into a 10,000 gallon cistern that will irrigate the plants. Second Baptist plans to use the garden's bounty to prepare healthy meals for the community and eventually hopes to sell part of the harvest at an urban farm stand.
Additionally, hundreds of square feet of the church's parking lot have been broken up and turned into an enormous rain garden. This captures and filters much of the polluted runoff that flows across the lot, reducing pollution that ends up in local streams and the James River.
It's the culmination of a two-year effort in the Broad Rock Community by Second Baptist, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Virginia State University. The project was largely funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant, with support from REI Outfitters, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, and RBC Blue Water Project
Second Baptist Church of South Richmond is located at 3300 Broad Rock Blvd., Richmond, VA.