Justice. It’s literal definition by the Oxford English Dictionary means “Judicial administration of law or equity, Exercise of authority or power in maintenance of right”. In political town such as DC, one can see justice being served in a number of areas – crime, equality rights, unions, etc. But justice can also be seen even in the smallest of DC neighborhoods. In Foggy Bottom, home of the George Washington University, a small group of students coalesced as the Food Justice Alliance works to bring healthy, locally grown food to low income individuals at Miriam’s Kitchen, less than five blocks away.
Jesse Schaffer, the president of the Food Justice Alliance, coordinates seasonal growing right on the GWU’s urban campus, on the corners of H St. and 23rd St. NW. Just a few blocks away from the State Department, World Bank, and Watergate, not many would think this would be a prime area for urban agriculture. But the Food Justice Alliance proves doubters wrong. By incorporating the Alliance with other enviromentally sound communities in DC – such as the Georgetown Day School – the H St. Garden is able to maximize and meet local needs by producting many vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, beans, okra, tomatoes, thyme, raspberries and chard – all to be donated to the homeless at Miriam’s Kitchen. Aside from community building, locally grown foods helps battle the 6.1 tons of CO2 food related emissions in the US per year (21% of total emissions).
The Food Justice Alliance focuses not only on utilizing space in the city to grow local vegetables in an otherwise cement jungle, but also to provide the fruits of these labors to those less fortunate – exercising the maintenance of the right of healthy food to all, not only those who can afford it. Others interested in participating in a similar movement can check out the Common Good City Farm – “an urban farm and education center growing food with and for low-income residents in Washington, DC and providing educational opportunities for all people that increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability” – or check out Planet Forward for more information on sustainability. Communities around the world are experiencing the benefits of urban agriculture as we inch towards rapid urbanization, and a rapid increase in urban poverty and urban food insecurity. Learn how you can move our planet forward today.