News / USA

US City Dwellers Look to Grow Their Own Food

Recent urban gardening forum in Washington, DC draws hundreds

Hundreds gathered at Rooting DC to learn about urban gardening and urban agriculture.
Hundreds gathered at Rooting DC to learn about urban gardening and urban agriculture.
June Soh

As more Americans try to adopt healthy lifestyles and environmentally friendly practices, the idea of growing their own food has become increasingly popular among city dwellers.  That interest was evident at a recent urban gardening forum in Washington, D.C. Dozens of organizations and hundreds of residents got together to advance the local food movement.

Katie Rehwaldt, a coordinator for Rooting DC, says getting free seeds is one of the benefits of participating in the day-long urban gardening forum.  

“These are the seeds.  We get about 36,000 pounds (16 metric tons ) of seeds packets a year donated to us, which otherwise are thrown away or destroyed.  We distribute them to the civic garden projects all over the country.”

According to Rehwaldt, the purpose of Rooting D.C. is to bring community members together to learn about urban gardening and urban agriculture and to strengthen the community and develop more gardens all across the city.”

More than 550 people attended the 4th annual event.  

“I think they recognize gardening as a way to bring fresh, local, organic foods into their lives, into their communities, into their schools," says Rehwaldt. "So I think the interest in gardening has spiked because of that.”

She says growing concern about the environment has also boosted interest. “Because we do not just grow food, but we protect the environment through sustainable gardening practices.”

A cooking demonstration of simple but healthy meals using fresh vegetables was one of the highlights of the various workshops offered by more than 30 local non-profit organizations.

“I am really interested in environment and sort of reconnecting with food and nature," says Scott Verman, a student of the American University in Washington, who came with his friends.   
"Certainly how to find local food and how to cook it well, and maybe sort of hopefully to get involved on my own with gardening or inspire others to do so.”

Verman says his school has a community garden on campus.  And for those who don’t have access to a large space, Dennis Chestnut of the urban gardening group, Groundwork Anacostia, says you don’t really need one.

“We can grow our food in as small a space as a flower pot, but we work with residents to use spaces as small as three feet by three feet (0.9 meter)," he says. "So that is what we consider an ideal size for a small space garden.”

Several organizations that encourage school children to grow fruits and vegetables in creative and healthy ways also ran workshops at Rooting DC.  

“We are making newspaper flowerpots," says Erin Gordon, who is with an after-school program called Kids Power. "And newspapers are biodegradable material, so students can make the pot and then either put it directly into the ground, or they can put it into another flower pot. Any vessel can be a vessel for growing vegetables.”  

Alexis Baden-Mayer came to get information for her six-year-old daughter. “Two years ago we started a garden together at her school. So I need to figure out what resources there are in DC to support school gardens and helping us learn how to put one together.”  

Brian Stewart, a data base administrator, says gardening is a hobby that he can enjoy with friends. “I got some great tips from the seeds saving workshop for saving seeds for next year. I am looking forward to having some seeds and being able to trade with friends”

The organizers hope to launch a movement that will grow into a sustainable local food system for healthy communities in Washington, around the country and across the globe.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs