All communities deserve equal access to fresh, healthy food choices.
In the District of Columbia, issues surrounding generational poverty and food access run deep. Over 34,000 residents, primarily African Americans living in Wards 7 and 8, live in “food deserts,” with homes more than a mile away from a supermarket. Many of these same families also live on incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line, with 31% of households with children reporting they are unable to afford enough food. Combating both food insecurity and alleviating poverty is a significant challenge, as more than 50,000 residents in DC lack a high school diploma and an additional 81,000 residents have a high school education, but nothing beyond that. We are working to bridge the gaps.
Through our programs and social enterprise, we are building community, growing opportunity, and working towards food justice.
In the District of Columbia over 34,000 residents live in “food deserts,” with homes more than a mile away from a supermarket.
We are rebuilding community-based food systems centered around collaborative infrastructure and growing food closer to where people live.
In communities that lack access to healthy, fresh, and affordable food rates of diabetes, negative health impacts soar above national averages.
By providing increased access to healthy food and nutrition education, we are improving community health.
More than 50,000 DC residents do not have a high school diploma, youth face unemployment rates more than twice the national average, and the African-American unemployment rate stands above 14%.
We help to open opportunity by growing good jobs, supporting community economic development, and building human capacity through training.
Seeing the nexus between education, health and economics, Dreaming Out Loud has developed an innovative approach that rebuilds urban, community-based food systems. We grow human capacity through workforce development and entrepreneurship training. We create physical infrastructure that supports urban food production and distribution. And we integrate opportunities in food production, processing, and distribution to connect community members to family-supporting livelihoods through cooperative social enterprise.
Our program model combines (1) intensive urban farming using sustainable practices, (2) food access via farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer sales, and (3) food hub infrastructure to aggregate, store, process and distribute local food. Each component provides an opportunity to build and utilize community knowledge about the food system to create and sustain a healthy food culture and successful food businesses. And by connecting with a strong network of food leaders and advocates in the DC metro area, we develop the resources, infrastructure and policies that help all our communities to thrive.
Meet the people that give our work meaning
Earnest, a Summer Youth Employment Program participant, tells us how he became involved with Dreaming Out Loud.
A 10 year-old boy. We met him at our first farmers market while hitting one of our yard-signs. When I gently approached him, I jokingly asked if he had something against vegetables; he blushed with embarrassment, as his friends laughed.