Early days: Shaw EcoVillage
From 1998 – 2006 Shaw EcoVillage (SEV) trained youth to be leaders of sustainable change in our urban neighborhoods. Through SEV’s EcoDesign Corps program, over 500 youth were engaged in hands-on community based projects, gaining the design and organizational skills necessary to create sustainable economic, environmental, and social change in DC. The EcoDesign Corps program included building and sustaining an urban food garden at 1523 Seventh Street, NW in DC’s Shaw neighborhood. Sadly, SEV closed in early 2007.
7th Street Garden
With hopes to continue engaging youth and adults in sustainability education and food production, before closing, SEV and partner Bread for the City gave Common Good City Farm permission to direct garden programs at the 7th street site. The garden on 7th Street, aptly named the “7th Street Garden” from 2007-2009, was organized by Co-Directors Elizabeth Gabriel and Susan Ellsworth, both committing to the project as volunteers. Elizabeth and Susan, along with other weekly volunteers, administered programs that engaged neighborhood kids and adults who took home weekly shares of the garden’s produce including everything from lettuce to peaches.
Our Budding Business
Since planting the first seeds on 7th Street in March 2007, Common Good City Farm has successfully improved community health by starting from the ground up – with the food people put into their bodies. Each year, we have expanded our programs to feed more people, educate DC residents of all ages, and contribute to the sustainability of the organization. Our success is in strong part because of our partnerships that have shaped our programs to appropriately meet dynamic community needs and desires. Our partners are non-profit organizations, community associations, and neighborhood businesses whose work is related to ours.
In response to our successful work and close relationship with the LeDroit Park Civic Association and residents of the area, the 7th Street Garden was invited to move to its new and larger home in LeDroit Park – on the grounds of the old Gage-Eckington Elementary School, a DC Public School that closed in June 2008. In October 2008 we moved to the abandoned baseball field on the school's grounds and changed our name to Common Good City Farm. Now, after 10 plus years of farming on almost half an acre in the middle of the nation’s capital, Common Good City Farm can feed more people through our CSA and farm market, engage more students in our Seed to Table Workshops and Youth programs, and serve more community members at our events.