16th Annual Happily Natural Day this Saturday

8/23/2018, 6 a.m.
Happily Natural Day returns this weekend to the site of a large vegetable and berry garden in South Side. The ...

Happily Natural Day returns this weekend to the site of a large vegetable and berry garden in South Side.

The 16th edition of the event will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the 5th District Mini Farm, 2208 Bainbridge Street, it has been announced. The event is open to the public.


Duron Chavis

Under the theme “Blackness Ascendant,” the event will focus on enabling “people of color to take control of their communities through sustainable agriculture,” stated Duron Chavis, who founded the festival in 2003.

Highlights will include two culinary workshops — “Cooking With Young Folks,” for children 8 and older, offered for $10 per person by Ellen Victoria Lucky of Victoria’s Kitchen and “Black Vegan Soul Culinary Arts Workshop” by Chef Zu of the Atlanta-based Kings Apron.

Mr. Chavis and Mini Farm co-founder Randy Minor also will lead “Urban Farming Intensive,” a workshop on gardening indoors and outdoors.

The event also will feature music, garden tours and a variety of vendors.

Mr. Chavis is manager of community engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where he hosts a community garden training program.

In a Facebook post, Mr. Chavis stated he began Happily Natural Day after coming across a Richmond-produced product, now long defunct, that promised to turn black complexions white and straighten kinky hair.

The first festivals focused on celebrating natural hair and complexions, but urban gardening has become a bigger focus in recent years to enable people to start growing their own food.

Mr. Chavis has a long track record in urban gardening, including serving as the first director of Petersburg’s Harding Street Urban Ag Center, a farming incubator through the Virginia Cooperative Extension project at Virginia State University that showcases methods of indoor growing.

Along with promoting food self-sufficiency, the festival’s larger goal is to enable African-Americans to unite “in the effort to dismantle the inferiority complexes that have developed … due to the ideology of racism/white supremacy,” Mr. Chavis stated.

“Happily Natural Day is a celebration of black consciousness whose main purpose is promoting cultural awareness, holistic health and social change,” he continued.

Details: Mr. Chavis, (804) 393-6357, https://thenaturalfestival.com/ or Facebook.com/HappilyNaturalFestival/.