DC Greens uses the power of partnerships to support food education, food access, and food policy in the nation’s capital.
We’re working toward a city where food education is on the menu in every classroom; where doctors write prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables as a matter of course; where urban agriculture is a valued element of our cityscape; and where zipcode doesn’t determine life expectancy.
By leveraging existing infrastructure, resources and talent, and doing the work of collaboration, we are building a healthy food system that can be a model for the nation.
How We Got Started
In 2009, Lauren Shweder Biel started a farmers’ market in her neighborhood. It was both a response to community demand, and an attempt to create a vibrant community space oriented towards kids. She had a four-month old baby, and wanted to make sure that he would build an early, positive relationship to fresh fruits and vegetables. Through organizing the market, Lauren quickly became involved with the DC Farmers’ Market Collaborative convened by DC Hunger Solutions, where she built relationships with market managers across the city, and heard directly about their shared struggles to increase farmers’ market food access for low-income community members.
At the same time, Sarah Holway was working as an art teacher at Bancroft Elementary. She accompanied her students to the White House to break ground with the First Lady for the White House Kitchen Garden. They returned throughout the year to plant, harvest and cook with the White House chefs. Inspired by this experience, she doubled her efforts to integrate garden and farm to school programming into the curriculum at Bancroft and tried to support the staff in using the garden as a teaching resource. She soon realized this was a full-time job. As she looked around the District’s school garden landscape, she saw other struggling teachers working in isolation and a slew of non-profits providing valuable school garden programming, but working from outside the school system.
Brought together by their mutual involvement in the DC Farm to School Network, their shared ideals and the fact that they lived in the same community, Lauren and Sarah established DC Greens to provide creative solutions to the problems they witnessed firsthand across the city. They felt that the vibrant DC school garden community and the strong DC farmers’ market collaborative could be brought together to create a healthier food system in the District. In six short years, DC Greens has grown exponentially, working with farmers markets, school gardens, and nonprofits across the District.