Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What a great week to be a Steward of the Land and a Community Gardener.....

I had to reach back into my garden library to refresh and renew my garden spirit since the snow just lingers in my landscape.  I pass the District Heights Community Garden every morning on my way to work and I can't wait for it to come alive again.  Remembering the perfect square foot garden example, planted by the Garden Chair, Deborah Turner, as well as the other plots of assorted vegetables and flowers tended by members of the District Heights community.  I remind myself that sooner than later Spring will be upon us.

Until that time, I am brushing up on my garden skill set, learning new and exciting things, as well as deciding which technique I will attempt to try this year - pallets, straw bale, assorted containers or eclectic vertical gardening.  It was brought to my attention that an exciting development was coming to the area --while not in District Washington, DC.  I get emotional when I find new and exciting things happening - particularly in under served neighborhoods.  As a Native Washingtonian, I honestly sat at my desk and cried as I read an article referencing a partnership with the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation and BrightFarms. If you have never heard of BrightFarms, check out their website to see the good they are doing in other areas (

BrightFarms is building a 1000,000 square foot, state of the art greenhouse farm.  This will be in Ward 8 - a definitely under served community.  This will be the largest urban greenhouse of it's kind in the WORLD.....IN WARD 8...GO FIGURE.  I am smiling as I write this.  It will provide jobs to the area and construction is set to start in May of this year.  Think of the educational opportunities as well as the economic opportunities Ward 8 will achieve.   Producing an estimated one million pounds of food a year the partnership between DC Department of General Services, Anacostia Development Corporation and Giant Foods promises to bring a much needed boost to Ward 8 and to the Sustainable Communities effort.  My question is- if this can be achieved in Ward 8 - why not a successful Community Garden effort in District Heights? Why not a Farmers Market in district Heights???    We have a substantial Senior demographic that I am sure would appreciate fresh and locally grown produce.  We also would attract the Middle Age demographic that is more than ever concerned about what is going in our bodies and our children's bodies.  Gardening has proven to bring together cultures, families and grow communities - especially now as people become more and more busy.  If we reconnect with the soil, I strongly feel that we would reconnect with each other.  I am sure that Ward 8 will develop a stronger sense of community.

After speaking briefly with Mr. Stanley Jackson, CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation, I am more excited than ever about the possibilities of the District Heights Community Garden effort, under the leadership of Ms. Deborah Turner becoming a leader in demonstrating the need for our community, to develop a strategy for emphasizing the need to grow and buy local as much as possible.  If we could show how much a 4x4 plot can grow for a single person  or a 4 x 8 plot could grow for a small family, it would empower others to try it - if not in the garden, in their own yards.  As Mr. Jackson shared with me, the ability to take ownership of what goes into your body, as well as the skill of growing your own foods - as our ancestors did in years past can pull a community together on so many levels.  I cannot wait to continue the conversation with Mr. Jackson's  and discuss his perspective on what the impact will be to a more than deserving Ward 8.

If you are a current plot renter in the District Heights Community Garden, consider renewing your plot for this growing season.  Effective March 1, the District Heights Community Garden Program will begin accepting new patrons who want to try their hand at gardening and enjoy a sense of community.  Interested, call 301-336-1402...we would love to have a full house this season so we can share in the spirit of sustainability - TOGETHER..

Let us (lettuce...:) ) learn, grow and garden together so that it can reflect our efforts on becoming a more sustainable community.

28 days....14 hours...40 minutes til Spring.......

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