Join a Community Garden

General Information

Living in an urban setting such as DC certainly presents its challenges to those looking to put their green thumbs to work, and for purchasing local fresh sources of food.  But, countless grassroots organizations and community initiatives can help you nurture a garden or share one with others.  Nothing brings a community together better than growing your own food!  Browse the links and information below to learn more about how we improve our access to fresh and local foods.

Academic References

Academic researchers have studied agricultural extension for over fifty years.  Extension today refers generally to applying scientific, health, and business research to agricultural practices through farmer education—and for community farming, it’s used to teach urban residents how to get started on growing their own food.  These programs and resources are usually informal, and can mean workshops that make you work directly with the dirt!  Other programs include Master Gardener certification.  Universities also offer services such as soil testing, so that you can learn what nutrients and chemicals are in your soil and fed into your plants.

Local and Nonprofit Initiatives

Grassroots organizations and community initiatives also have resources to educate us about using available materials and growing organic food.  From indoor pots to your own plot of dirt, there are countless ways to put your gardening skills—no matter how untested— to use.

  • Join up with Slow Food’s DC Chapter to hear about upcoming events, blog posts, and more
  • Check out DC Greens for local listings, events, and access information for the Glover Park Farmer’s Market
  • Visit DC’s Field to Fork Network to learn about community gardens in your neighborhood and to find local resources for D.I.Y. growing.  View this comprehensive list of community gardens in the DC/MD/VA areas.
  • Don’t really have time to maintain your own plants?  Check out school gardening programs such as the Farm at Walker Jones Elementary for volunteer gardening opportunities.
  • Have extra food or composting materials?  No need to let them go to waste! Donate garden veggies to a food kitchen like DC Central Kitchen and drop off extra materials at a community farm such as Common Good City Farm.
  • Check out Jug Bay Garden Market, Love & Carrots, and KOL foods, headed by 2012 EcoHour speakers Tanya Tolchin, Meredith Shepherd, and Devora Kimmelman-Block
  • AgLocal connects people to their meat products to promote sustainability

Further Afield

Additional Reading

  • Read the 2009 NY Times article on Urban Farming and put your landscape to work by planting edible foods
  • Follow the Ethicurean Blog to “chew on the right thing”
  • Keep up with Civil Eats to learn more about everything from rooftop gardening, slow food initiatives, and kitchen tips for following the local food movement
  • Follow the Whole Foods Whole Story blog for tips on in-season produce, locally-sourced products, and new sustainability initiatives

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