Forum discusses local food justice and growing your own food

Want to get dirty in the District? Then the place to be is at Rooting DC.

by Tambra Stevenson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the District’s largest annual gathering of urban food advocates, plant lovers and meal healers, Rooting DC has become a staple fixture in all things urban gardening locally. Marking its 5th anniversary, the DC’s Field to Fork Network hosts its free public educational event this Saturday at Calvin Coolidge High School.

Participants can attend interactive workshops, cooking and food preservation demos, and the information fair. Plus a panel discussion focuses on food justice and gardens in schools and the community.

Workshop presenters include culinary historian Michael W. Twitty, a devotee in preserving African American food traditions as well as ethnic crop specialist Yao Afantchao from the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences.

“Every year I am excited to join this caring community of food and eco-activists,” says nutrition educator Tambra Stevenson, who is doing a cooking demo with herbs and speaking about their health benefits at 10:45am in the cafeteria.

Creating self-sufficiency like in the era of victory gardens and home economics, Rooting DC empowers the community members with information and resources to grow, preserve, and prepare their own food.

“Concerns about access to healthy food, limiting our environmental impact, and supporting local economies are coming together to create a powerful new interest in growing your own food here in the District,” says event organizer, Bea Trickett of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative.

The Network is made of the local area groups addressing issues across the food system pipeline from community gardening, food preparation to nutritional outreach.

Showing partnerships in action, Rooting DC teamed up with the Coolidge High School Alumni Association to restore the greenhouse at their school.

The 5th annual Rooting DC Forum runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 at

Coolidge High School, located at 6315 5th St., NW. Participants register online at or call (202) 638-1649.

DC Food Justice Workshop Picks


  • Cooking Today with Tambra Raye: Healing with Herbs (Cafeteria)                                                                                                                                                                                                          

In this workshop, look no further than your yard for creating healing meals and drinks for stress and anxiety. We’ll taste and explore easy-to-grow garden herbs that can easily be transformed into delicious teas and dishes. You’ll want to add them to your garden this spring!  Bring your note pad, your taste buds and your appetite to this healing with herbs demonstration-class. You will sample all of the recipes that will be prepared.

  • Ethnic Foods in Washington, DC: The impact on immigrant and indigenous Populations(Classroom B116)                                                                                                                       

A farmer from Togo now living in America, Yao Afantchao will share insight and experience in west African and specialty food crops. He started this program at the Small Farm Institute, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. Now he serves as an Extension Educator managing ethnic gardens throughout the District with the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at the University of the District of Columbia.

  • DC Area Historic Heirlooms: Growing and Eating and Healing With History (Classroom B111)                                                                                                                                                 

Join culinary historian Michael W. Twitty for a presentation on local and regional heirloom varieties including those important to African American and other ethnic culinary and medicinal traditions. As a recognized culinary historian of African American food and folk culture,  he writes about preservation of historic African American foods and food and its relationship to cultures of African descent around the world of  He has conducted classes and workshops, written curricula and educational programs, given lectures and performed cooking demonstrations for over 100 groups including the Smithsonian, Colonial Williamsburg, Jefferson’s Monticello, Library of Congress, and the Oxford University Symposium on Food and Cookery.  His other blog is, a project tracing his family history along with the story of African American foodways.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: