By Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl
As part of the Meet the Met grand-opening celebration on Saturday, June 5, DC Prep Academy Charter School and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy teamed up to add another school garden into the growing rolls of urban agriculture taking place around the country. The 1,000-square-foot garden, set in Northeast D.C.’s Edgewood community, will combine an edible forest of fruit trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, insectary plants and dynamic accumulators with a large space for growing annual crops like collards, corn, squash, tomatoes and more.
The advantage of this garden site is that it is located along the brand-new Metropolitan Branch Trail coming out of Union Station, which provides previously cut-off communities accessibility to the metro and to Union Station and the Capitol. The garden will not only beautify the new trail, it will hopefully connect the charter school to the community in a new way. DC Prep is housed in old industrial buildings that had used the nearby railroad, and even now their middle school campus has no playground to speak of. A true “urban” campus, DC Prep students are absolutely the students that most need to be reconnected to the growing of food and how it affects our lives
Plans are being made for how the garden will be used, but classes and teachers are already lining up to use the garden in their curriculum. Hopefully, the site will be used not only to educate students in genuine food production, but bring a small and steady stream of locally grown produce into the homes of the students and teachers at the school. DC Prep already is at the forefront of school food, using Revolution Foods as their sourcing agent, and we hope next year to collaborate with Revolution Foods in cooking demonstrations using food from the garden.
Crossposted at Center for a Livable Future. Photo by M.V. Jantzen/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
In my experience projects like this garden are very important to promoting trails because I think people look forward to seeing things of interest on their walk or ride, especially a garden where people are cooperating in volunteer mode and clearly accomplishing things. And it's fun to observe the ongoing progress of the plantings. Also I think a garden--even a small one--makes a significant positive statement about the neighborhood and also that specific area of the trail.
Unfortunately there is graffiti in the photo's background although some of it is of the artistic type. In Philadelphia they have (or at least had) a very extensive public mural painting program although I don't believe any of the works are associated with a trail. Those kinds of projects are great positive influences on communities and trails too.
Editor's note: Thanks for your comment. For more about mural programs along this trail, please take a look at our post on the ribbon cutting for D.C.'s largest mural, which is located along the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
Excellent link! Thanks!
This July was the hottest month on record for the Washington, D.C. area! Coincidentally, it was the same
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