Next Gen Leadership With the People

“The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption.” Paulo Friere

Chavis creates synergy between corporate social responsibility; public policy and traditional grassroots activism that builds community capacity for transformation. Transforming communities is an act that must take place through the community itself. By crafting collaborative approaches to collective impact; community work and personal evolution merge for sustainable systemic impact.

From Happily Natural Day; to poverty mitigation; to urban agriculture; to racial equity; Chavis articulates the role of cultural identity plays in sustainable community wellness. He challenges organizations and institutions to think outside of silos and to confront conversations of race and class courageously and authentically.


Creating A Culture of Change

Through the fusion of dialogical pedagogy and experiential learning; Chavis utilizes urban agriculture to transform low-income and marginalized communities from the inside out. Through the transformation of vacant lots or the revitalization of municipal buildings; Chavis uses local food as a tool to build equity and community resiliency.


Chavis started his career in community advocacy as first a volunteer then an employee of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VA. While there founded the highly acclaimed Happily Natural Day festival as a grassroots effort to supplement the summer jazz concert that was held annually at the institution. The festival is a weekend long experience that focuses on cultural awareness, health, wellness and social change.

Chavis engages in coordinating innovative and dynamic initiatives around the topics of urban agriculture and local food systems in a culturally relevant way. In 2009 Chavis launched the Richmond Noir Market, a Saturday farmer’s market targeting low-income communities located in what the USDA has designated as food deserts in Richmond Virginia. 2012 marked the development his first community garden; which subsequently led to the development of urban farms, urban orchards, urban vineyards and work in poverty mitigation, workforce development, health and racial equity.

Chavis has received numerable accolades for his work. He served in 2011 as a Clean Air Ambassador on behalf of Earthjustice and the Hip Hop Caucus. He is an alumni of Leadership Metro Richmond’s class of 2011, received Style Weekly’s Top 40 under 40 award in 2010, and the Style Weekly Power List in 2014 & 2015. Chavis served as the inaugural director of the Harding Street Urban Ag Center; a recreation center repurposed into an indoor farm by VSU. Chavis served as the first Community Engagement Manager for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Currently, Chavis serves as director of The Happily Natural Day.

Ted Talk