Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has hired Duron Chavis as its first Community Engagement Coordinator. This new position is chiefly responsible for the Garden’s outreach and relationship-building across a diverse community, expressly to foster greater collaboration and facilitate neighborhood-based urban greening and beautiful place-making initiatives.  The position supports the Garden’s strategic goal (2016) to strengthen and enhance the Garden’s community engagement through leadership, partnerships, projects,

communications, and events.

Duron Chavis, a native of Richmond, graduated from Virginia State University, where over the past two years he has served as project director of the Harding Street Urban Ag Center, an indoor farming incubator funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Chavis is known nationally for his leadership in urban agriculture and is an advocate for community-designed solutions to local challenges.  He is a graduate of Hope in the Cities’ Community Trustbuilding Fellowship program (2015) and Leadership Metro Richmond (2011); and is a certified Alternatives to Violence Project conflict resolution trainer.  He has served on numerous public advisory councils, including the Citizens Advisory Board to the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty (2013-14); the Capital Region Collaborative Social Stability committee; and the Richmond Food Policy Task Force.  He is the founder of the McDonough Community Garden, and has served as project coordinator for Renew Richmond’s community garden start-ups.

“Duron was selected from a field of over 30 applicants, and emerged as the strongest candidate with his combination of professional achievements and passion for community building through urban greening,” Shane Tippett, the Garden’s Executive Director, stated.  “We know that Duron’s natural ability to build, nurture, and maintain relationships that connect people and plants to improve our community will be a great asset and help us achieve our goal of making Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden everyone’s garden.”

The non-profit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has a mission focused on education and a passion for connecting people and plants to improve the community. The Garden is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Va.; to learn more, visit lewisginter.org.