The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Big Night For Neighborhood Farm Initiative

August 28th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in food news, urban agriculture

Cintia Cabib filming at the Washington Youth Garden

Cintia Cabib filming at the Washington Youth Garden

More than 120 people jammed Georgetown’s Letelier Theater last night for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a film screening to benefit the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, the novel urban agriculture program started by Bea Trickett and Joshua Wenz designed to teach people how to grow food.

The event was brilliantly organized, with help from Katie Rehwaldt of Rooting D.C. and the American the Beautiful Fund, which acts as fiscal sponsor for the farm initiative. Volunteers (more than 20 of them) were pouring local wines and home-brewed beers and dishing up a buffet of salads, cheeses and canapes groaning with fresh vegetables from local farms.

Looking at so many young, eager faces, it’s clear there is gathering interest and momentum behind the local food movement here in the District of Columbia. Bea Trickett announced that the intiative has received federal grant funds through the University of the District of Columbia to develop outreach programs aimed at teaching food gardening to people across the city. Now that’s a jolt of encouragement, to hear that federal funding for urban agriculture has actually reached our precincts. (Latest news: the USDA’s Kathleen Merrigan has circulated a memo describing available federal funding for school gardens, urban food programs and the like. Plus, President Obama has suggested starting a farmers market outside the White House.)

The draw for last night’s event was a screening of Cintia Cabib’s documentary in progress: “A Community of Gardeners.” It’s a love note to community gardeners everywhere, but especially here in the District of Columbia. What a delight to see so many of our local gardens and the people who make them happen on the screen. There are some hilarious moments, as when a young woman explains why she grows such huge amounts of lettuce in her community garden plot. It’s to feed her pet rabbit. Another woman who travels frequently for her job laments the notices she receives for weeds in her plot, but rejoices when a couple who are waiting for a plot of their own volunteer to do the weeding for her. Now she has “mixed emotions” about the couple eventually getting a plot of their own.

We are anxious for Cintia’s film to be available to the broader public. Perhaps on a public television station near you? Meanwhile, send all the encouragement you can to the Neighborhood Farm Initiative. Or perhaps you’d like to volunteer? I’m sure they’d find some work for you in the garden.

For more great stories about how we are taking back our food system, be sure to check out Fight Back Fridays.

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