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GWHS Gardens

“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale.” – Ron Finley, TED 2013

On Monday October 21, TEDxRVA is embarking on an exciting adventure with spectacular partners to bring the largest edible school garden to the city of Richmond. George Wythe High School, led by visionary Principal Reva Green, will be home to not one, not two, but three courtyard gardens. There will also be ‘living walls’, or vertical gardens, inside a few classrooms.

Renew Richmond and Enrichmond have been working tirelessly over the past several weeks to devise a 3-day plan for landscaping, creating raised beds, planting seedlings, and installing one small hoop house and four vertical gardens. This endeavor is generously supported by community advocate and sponsor, Capital One, who is also providing 120 volunteers over the course of the 3 days to ensure building completion.

On day 4, we will all get together in the school auditorium with members of the school board, city officials, students, and teachers to address the systemic social issue of lack of access to health foods in what is known as an urban ‘food desert’. We will explore how this project could help increase the capacity of a local high school to creatively meet the needs of its student population while being of service to the community at large. We will also have a guest online appearance from the guerrilla gardner himself, Ron Finley, who has a few words of encouragement and wisdom for the GWHS students and faculty. (By the way, if you haven’t already seen his TED talk, you’re missing out!)  We will end this dedication ceremony taking place on October 24 with delicious salad tastings in honor of the 2013 nationwide Food Day, which is not just a day but a grassroots, year-long catalyst for healthier diets and a better food system.

While there will be a lot going on in the coming four days, the scope of the project extends way beyond this limited time. The ultimate dream is to empower the students and teachers to sustain the gardens, feed themselves, and maybe even generate some revenue by selling surplus harvest. Planning for an after-school program is in the works to make all this possible, not to mention periodic workshops for teachers run by Project Wild.

We hope you are as excited and hopeful as we are about this project. If you are interested in getting involved, there are a few ways to do so. After all, this is a TEDxRVA adventure and we would love to see our community come together to support the amazing folks at George Wythe.


You are more than welcome to join the volunteers and help build these gardens. Please email if you are interested.

The 1000-plant challenge

While the soil is settling, which will take a few weeks, we would still like to leave the school with beautiful gardens for the fall and winter. We challenge the RVA community to deliver a total of 1000 seedlings to the school by Wednesday, October 23. We want to see every corner of Richmond represented in these visits to George Wythe High School (4314 Crutchfield Street Richmond, VA 23225 – park on Crutchfield, across the street).

We are looking for perennial flowers (the more the better), fall or winter seedlings, and fruit bushes like raspberries, blackberries, and grapes. Seedlings can be found at the Home Depot, Lowes, etc and if you want to go local there is the Glen Allen Nursery, Sneed’s Nursery, and many others.

Contact or visit our Facebook event page if you have questions about the challenge.

Spread the Word

Let your friends, family, co-workers, clients and everyone you meet from now until Wednesday know about the project and encourage them to contribute to the 1000-plant challenge!

We hope to see you all there.