Jan. 2019 Leah Penniman visited Richmond VA to present at the Virginia Association of Biological Farming. Prior to the conference; Beautiful RVA was able to host a dinner for a small room of local food system advocates of color and allies. The result was a beautiful conversation on farming, land, legacy and heritage.

Leah Penniman was raised in Massachusetts and began farming as a teenager when she worked with The Food Project in Boston. Penniman holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. She has worked at the Food Project, Farm School, Many Hands Organic Farm, Youth Grow and with farmers internationally in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission of ending racism and injustice in the food system and reclaiming the inherent right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people.

As Manager of Community Engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Duron Chavis coordinates innovative and dynamic initiatives around the topics of urban agriculture and food security in a culturally relevant way. Duron administrates the Ginter Urban Gardener program, a 12-week, neighborhood-centric community greening training and cultivates collaboration and partnership for the creation and sustainability of public greenspaces through Beautiful RVA, a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary social movement dedicated to creating a more beautiful Richmond Region.

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