RICHMOND, Va. -- Two acres on Richmond’s Southside is Duron Chavis’ therapy.
“I spend a lot of time here working, doing things in the space," Chavis said. "It helps soothes the pain to know that we are doing stuff in her remembrance.”
His non-profit, Happily Natural Day, operates the Sankofa Community Garden Orchard in the Westover neighborhood.
His team has transformed the green space against the banks of the Reedy Creek in just 10 months.
“Our work here is to demonstrate the many ways you can grow your own produce, increase your own access to healthy food,” Chavis said.
Much of his work in Richmond was inspired by his mother, Pamela Tyler. She died in June after battling breast cancer.
“I took some of the funds from that inheritance and invested in a tractor. My mother really believed in the work we were doing and the community,” Chavis said.
On Tuesday, he discovered someone had stolen the John Deere tractor from the garden. Chavis and his team only had the tractor for two months.
“It was really a blow to the heart,” he replied. “We had been putting into so much work here and people have been watching the revolution of the space.”
He planned to put the tractor to use at six other community gardens he manages in the city. He even would’ve let a stranger borrow his tools.
“If someone just reached out it would be no reason just to take it,” Chavis said. “We would’ve been more than happy to share.”
Chavis said he remained optimistic as Richmond Police investigated the theft.
“Maybe they’ll feel guilty and have a change of heart and decide to bring it back. We can only be so hopeful,” he said.
He said his mother would tell him this is just another obstacle in life to overcome.
“She would probably say it’s just a test and there’s something greater coming,” Chavis said.
His non-profit is raising funds to purchase a new tractor if the old one doesn’t show up.
If you have any information about the tractor’s whereabouts, you’re urged to contact the Richmond Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.