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Bowser Administration Provides District Residents New Food Growing Opportunities that Will Keep Gardens Thriving All Year Long

Monday, April 8, 2019

Media Contacts: Fred Lewis, OSSE, (202) 412-2167; Fred.Lewis@dc.gov
Michael Tucker, Jr., DPR,  (202) 717-4242; Michael.Tucker@dc.gov

The Bowser Administration announced today that beginning today, April 8, District residents can apply to become a member gardener with Shared Roots, a summer program designed to connect community members with underused food growing spaces in schools, community gardens, and backyards. In its second year, Shared Roots is a partnership between the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
 
“Through this innovative partnership between OSSE and DPR, Shared Roots helps ensure that our school gardens are viable throughout the summer months and ready for students and teachers when school resumes in the fall,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “I am excited to connect the community with our schools in meaningful ways that benefit students, teachers and urban gardeners throughout the District.”  
 
Community and school gardens can play an important role in increasing equitable access to healthy food and offer individuals with mobility limitations an opportunity to grow their own food. However, demand for growing spaces far exceeds available community gardens throughout the city. Furthermore, there is an ongoing challenge for schools to keep up with summer maintenance and increase community involvement, an essential element to a successful school garden program.
 
“In pairing community gardeners with gardens at schools in neighborhoods throughout the District, we are ensuring that gardeners can engage their passions and school gardens can thrive all year long,” said DPR Director Delano Hunter.

Shared Roots offers an opportunity to create meaningful experiences between schools and the communities in which they are located. One of the program’s long-term goals is to enable residents to grow their own food and promote lasting community involvement in school garden programs throughout the academic year.
 
Though registration is now closed for this year’s site coordinators, applications for member gardeners will be open from April 8-30. Member gardeners are asked to allocate at least three hours per week to tend to their assigned garden space and, in return, will be able to gain gardening experience and take fresh produce home with them.
 
For more information about Shared Roots, visit the OSSE website. Those interested in participating as member gardeners can apply online or contact Katarina Yang at Kbyang@umd.edu beginning today, April 8.