Rooting DC is an annual urban gardening conference held in a big, light-filled high school in Northwest Washington. The day-long event always leaves me awash with information and floating on good urban ag vibes. The 2018 conference, held on March 3, was no different. Here are a few lessons I learned in and out of workshops.
From “Garden Maintenance A-Z”
I’m honored and thrilled to see my short story, “Digging to Switzerland,” in print. It appears in the anthology Abundant Grace: Fiction by DC Area Women (Paycock Press), edited by Richard Peabody.
A field at the University of DC’s Muirkirk Research Farm sprouts clover between rows of last year’s rice crop during a visit in April. Photo by Rhea.
I’ve been talking about my rice article for The Washington Post since…. well, April! And my interest in small-scale grain growing dates back to at least 2012. No, make that 2009!
I’m excited to share that at last, “Rice” is up. You can read it here:
I so appreciate the people who you see quoted in the story. They were generous with their time and ideas.
Some of my geekier and historical references didn’t make the final cut. If you’re interested in the history of rice in the U.S., check out Black Rice by Judith A. Carney. Che Axum recommended it to me, and I will pass that along to you.
I have a piece this week in the online magazine Elevation DC. The upside: I got to know four of the most vibrant personalities on the DC culinary scene. Downside: I have a long list of restaurants I need to visit. Come to think of it, is that really so bad?
Filed under DC, Local food
I have a piece in the fine publication Civil Eats! I’m proud to bring news of DC’s urban agriculture boom to a national audience.
Filed under Blog, DC, Gardening
New perspectives, spoken word, and beer recommendations. These aren’t your average DC hotels–or your average hosts–in my latest piece for Elevation DC:
Participants in the Jews and Muslims DC event prepare to leave the DC Jewish Community Center with food and gifts for homeless people on Christmas Day. Photo by Rhea.
I started off Christmas Day by returning a lost wallet. Then I headed to a volunteer event at the DC Jewish Community Center, where I gave blood and joined a project of Jews and Muslims DC that distributed food, holiday cards, and toiletries to poor and homeless people. The Washington Post and local news station WJLA covered efforts that day.
Yep, it all looked pretty virtuous. But it takes more than a day of service to bring about change.
That afternoon, just outside a Metro entrance that provided some warmth, we met a man who had a job as a bike mechanic but was living in a tent because rent is so high. For the Post article, reporter Michelle Boorstein spoke to a father and his adult son who had both been struggling for years. These are ongoing and systemic problems.
Edward Johnson, Sr., says it best in Boorstein’s article:
“I’d like to be the one here giving things out to them, but now I’m the one on this side. I want to be an overcomer,” said Johnson. “I’m grateful for the thought, but it would do more to take one person in this park and say: ‘I want to help you do better, I’m going to help you do better.’ ”
Here are 10 organizations I see helping people to overcome and do better, both on an individual and systemic level. With efficient use of funds, these nonprofits bolster access to good food, health, faith, community, and overall human well being. Continue reading
A woman stands in Judiciary Square at the endpoint of the Justice for All March in Washington, DC.
That’s the term I see often now. It attempts an objective tone, a tone I tried to evoke with my classes following our first discussions of Ferguson and my recent post. I wanted to shine a light on this issue dwelling in our minds.
As I light the Hanukkah candles this week, I’m reminded how every light casts shadows. I have opinions and bias. And more observations. I want to follow up on those now.
Talking in class
In the week following the grand jury decision not to indict then-police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Ferguson resident Michael Brown, I talked to my students and tried to listen. I was impressed with their knowledge of the case. They had been following the news, not just Facebook rantings or snippets on CNN. Continue reading
This sign inspired the lede of my article. Photo by moi.
My article in this week’s Washington Post Food section opens:
A sign on the door of Best Kitchen Supply on Morse Street NE asks patrons to press a buzzer to get in, but regulars know the truth: The door is rarely locked. Within, they find more insider secrets in the form of kitchen treasures of every kind, their prices as inviting as the open door….
You can read the full article online now and catch it in tomorrow’s print edition.
What a fun process this was–really an excuse to bum around some of my favorite shops in D.C. and pick the minds and hearts of the people in them. I focused on three places: Best Kitchen Supply, A. Litteri, and Afrik International Market. I both hope and worry that these morsels on Morse won’t stay a secret for long.
My reporting, as well as my 11-year history as a shopper of Florida Avenue Market businesses, all come together in this piece, and will be tested by readers in the online chat. Tune in to Free Range on Food on Wednesday, 7/23, at noon. I’ll share the virtual Q&A with, among others, a 10-year-old chef-to-be.
Thanks, as always, for reading!
Filed under Blog, DC, History
Zucchini by Rhea
Today, 5 percent of all grocery bills at Whole Foods in Silver Spring will go toward empowerment. That is because those dimes and dollars will support the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Shared Use Community Kitchen.
Not all 85 subscribers to this blog live in the D.C./Maryland area, so I won’t go into detail about the 5 percent day (though if you are in the area, you should go!) Instead, I’ll tell you about this kitchen. According to the project site:
For the past three years, a group of dedicated individuals have been working hard to renovate and reopen the commercial kitchen located in the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.
Once completed, the kitchen will be available as:
1. an incubator for entrepreneurs to start small food-based businesses,
2. a classroom for teens, seniors, and anyone to learn about healthy eating, and
3. a production space where donated food can be prepared to be sent to local food banks and homeless shelters.
I’m proud to be a part of this kitchen as a board member of the Crossroads Community Food Network, one of the partners in launching the new space. Crossroads is all about food access and empowerment — empowerment to eat healthier food (through the Crossroads Farmers Market and Healthy Eating Program), to earn a living wage from preparing food (the Community Kitchen and Microenterprise Program), and to embrace the cultural foods of your own community and others’ (all of the above).
I look forward to the funds and attention this day can bring, and appreciate the community contributions and support we receive. By reading this post, you’re already part of the empowerment. So thank you!
Filed under Blog, DC, Events