St. Joseph’s Villa Garden Installation

On October 3rd, Greater Richmond Fit4Kids and the Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children partnered to install an 8,000 square foot garden at St. Joseph’s Villa in partnership with Hands On Greater Richmond. The Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children andFit4Kids received funding for the garden from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. The learning garden at St. Joseph’s Villa will engage the students and residents in a variety of outdoor learning, garden maintenance, food production, nutrition education, and therapeutic activities.

Backyard Farmer was an integral partner in the garden installation and the design. The garden contains food production raised beds, a sensory garden, more than 30 fruit trees, wheelchair accessible paths, and some wheelchair accessible raised beds.

“Learning gardens are an effective way to expose children and youth to nutritious fruits and veggies while teaching them the importance of a healthy, balanced diet,” says Heidi Hertz, Obesity Prevention Coordinator with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.

“The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation is thrilled to support such an impressive, educational garden at St. Joseph’s Villa,” says Scott Golden with Anthem. “In our efforts to improve the health and wellness of members of our community, we strive to support such creative strategies that engage families to make better nutritional choices.”

So how did we choose St. Joseph’s Villa to be the site for our second community garden? St. Joseph’s Villa is one of the United States’ oldest and largest nonprofit organizations dedicated to children and their families, marking its 178th year of continuous operation in 2012.  The Villa provides educational, residential and therapeutic services to more than 2,100 children with special needs and their families each year.

We are looking forward to seeing the progress the garden will make over the winter months and what is in store for spring plantings at the garden. Our staff was thrilled to help out with the garden install and to see the actual garden come to life after almost a year of planning. Check out our Facebook page to see pictures of the garden installation!