Dreaming Out Loud is rebuilding urban, community-based food systems through social enterprise, helping to increase access to healthy food and improve community health, develop low-income entrepreneurs and cooperatives, and train at-risk adult residents for sustainable, family-supporting wages.

Mission

Dreaming Out Loud’s mission is to create economic opportunities for the DC metro region’s marginalized community members through building a healthy, equitable food system.

Vision

Dreaming Out Loud believes that all communities deserve equal access to fresh, healthy food choices. We envision a world in which individuals and communities are empowered to “dream out loud,” meaning they have the space to think, to imagine and to will their innermost dreams into vibrant reality. We envision resilient communities with equitable economic opportunity, family supporting wages, high quality education for all, and a healthy environment.

Core Values

Dreaming Out Loud’s Adinkra Core Values resurrect cultural and historical memory to strength and resilience to its core values. We use this collection of West African symbols as guideposts for organizational culture, community-building, shaping public policy, and growing social enterprise solutions. While originating from West Africa, these values are universal and intersect with food, academic, sports, and more.

NnkonsonkosnonNnkonsonkonson

Meaning: “Chain link.” This symbol is a reminder to contribute to the community and that in unity lies strength.

Boa Me Na Me Mmoa WoBoa me na me mmoa wo

Meaning “Help me and let me help you.” This symbol represents cooperation and interdependence.

Asase Ye DuruAsase ye duru

Meaning: “The Earth has weight.” This symbol represents the importance of the Earth in sustaining life.

AkomaAkoma

Meaning: “The heart.” The symbol of patience and tolerance.

AyaAya

Meaning: “The fern.” The symbol of endurance and perseverance.

AkofenaAkofena

Meaning: “The sword of war.” This symbol of courage, valor, and heroism stresses how to initiate change.

History

Founded in 2008, Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. was created as a response to the educational and economic disparities in underserved, in low-income communities in Washington, DC. Our work began in Ward 7, a predominantly African-American section of Washington, D.C. where we taught children character and leadership development; developed and implemented a youth (ages 14-21) employment and training program for 72 participants working to implement environmental projects in energy conservation, maintenance of parks and trails for the Mayor’s Office and the District Department of the Environment’s “Green Summer Jobs Corps”.

Along the way, DOL noticed consequential issues surrounding food systems and economics in our partner communities, leading to the founding and launch of a network of farmers markets, working to fight “food deserts” and build health equity.

Board

Nicole Miles
Founder and CEO, Life Long Media

Wil Parker
Assistant Professor, Education Leadership, Bowie State University

Lindsay Smith
Planning and Food Systems Consultant, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Emerald Stewart
Program Manager, Stewardship and Engagement, CityBridge Foundation

Susan “Suji” Sutler
Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Center

JoVita Wells
Director of Sponsored Programs, University of the District of Columbia

Staff

Chris Bradshaw

Chris Bradshaw

Founder & Executive Director

Chris further developed his skills in social entrepreneurship and innovation as a Starting Block Fellow and honed his skills in growing techniques at Growing Power and the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.

His call to social organizing led him to leave Howard to form Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. (DOL), which fully embraces urban agriculture and social enterprise as mechanisms for changing communities. DOL founded and manages Aya Community Markets, a network of farmers markets and mobile farm stands that serve as the organization’s platform for advocacy, improving community health, impacting youth and furthering community economic development.

Chris was selected as a 2015 Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovator, a finalist for Ashoka Changemakers’ Nutrients for All competition, and one of 50 Under 50: Innovative Leaders Transforming Metro DC’s Food System. He is a frequent speaker on social innovation, urban agriculture and regional food systems, and the food justice movement.

Brandy H. M. Brooks

Director of Programs

She was the founding executive director of the Community Design Resource Center of Boston and has worked in senior management roles with the Rudy Bruner Foundation, The Food Project, and the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness. Throughout Brandy’s career, she has been committed to fostering and supporting the right to self-determination of urban communities of color and communities with low income levels, by advocating for equitable representation, meaningful participation, and community-
led decision-making in issues and projects that affect a community’s built and natural environment.

Brandy has served on multiple nonprofit boards and planning committees locally and nationally. She was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Zoning Advisory Committee, and the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for the City of Somerville, MA. She was also a board member for the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, Groundwork Somerville, the Association for Community Design, and the American Institute of Architects Center for Communities by Design. Brandy has been an instructor or guest lecturer at the Boston Architectural College, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, MIT, Suffolk University, and Tufts University. She continues to speak at local and national events on community design, community-based food systems, and cooperative development.

Brandy’s civic and professional leadership have been recognized through numerous awards and fellowships. She is an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow (Chesapeake Regional Network 2015), a 2016 New Economy Maryland Fellow, and a 2009 Next American Vanguard alumna. In 2010, she received a Summer Public Policy Fellowship with the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston and a Moakley Public Policy and Public Management Fellowship with the Center for Public Management at Suffolk University. Brandy holds a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Suffolk University, and a Bachelor of Design Studies with a concentration in Design Computing from the Boston Architectural College. She is also an alumna of Harvard College.

Brandy lives with her family in Silver Spring, MD. Her current projects focus on building community economic power through the development of cooperative enterprises. Her long-term goal is the development of ecumenical intentional communities led by people of color that model sustainable self production, radical economic equality, and radical democratic governance. Her vision is the creation of just and restorative neighborhoods, economies, and ecologies in cities across the United States.

Chris Bradshaw

Mary Alice Reilly

Farmer’s Market Manager

Their respective backgrounds in food policy, public health, labor studies, immigration reform and more brought complex, interdisciplinary thought to Mary Alice’s growth as a student and activist. od policy, public health, labor studies, immigration reform and more brought complex, interdisciplinary thought to Mary Alice’s growth as a student and activist. Mary Alice always leaned towards working at the community level, connecting Brown resources and students to area food & farming communities. For her Senior research project, she partnered with a Providence community center to manage a food justice school garden program for kiddos in their preschool and after school programs. She later moved on to coordinate the World PEAS Food Hub with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a program that supports beginning, immigrant and refugee farmers in eastern Massachusetts. Today, she continues to be motivated by work that builds meaningful connections between people, place and food, and is excited to contribute to Dreaming Out Loud’s food justice efforts in the DC area!

If not managing markets or scheming with Chris, you can find Mary Alice biking around town, thinking about intersectionality, lounging in Malcolm X Park, drinking cappucinos and laughing loudly. Come say hi!

Kyle Machicado

Kyle Machicado

Emerson National Hunger Fellow

This interest was further deepened once he started having to work as a cleaner, cleaning houses, restaurants, and office buildings after school to help support his family financially.

Kyle graduated from Stanford University in 2016 with a degree in human biology with a concentration in public health and sustainable development. At Stanford, Kyle was involved in anti-human trafficking advocacy work, sustainable agriculture initiatives, and environmental justice work in collaboration with local non-profits. He also spent some time working as a Youth Care Worker at the Beth Uriel Youth Center in Cape Town, South Africa.

Kyle is involved with Dreaming Out Loud due to his work as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. Much of his time is spent helping out at the farmers’ markets, doing micro-enterprise market research, and developing new market evaluation metrics to help DOL accomplish its goals. When not working Kyle is generally cooking, baking, drinking coffee, painting with coffee, or stuck waiting in a metro station for a train that never comes.

Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams

Emerson National Hunger Fellow

Her interest in food justice was sparked after taking an agriculture class in college on a whim. In the class, she learned more about domestic hunger in the United States and its intersections with race and class. It reframed her thinking around food justice as part of the larger social justice sphere.

Joanna up in Clarksville, TN, and graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. While there, she worked for four years at her school’s independent student newspaper, the College Heights Herald serving as editor-in-chief her final semester. A former Bonner Leader, she worked as a Program Assistant at the ALIVE Center for Community partnerships, assisting in furthering the development of programs such as The $100 Solution and the Student Ambassadors of Service. Prior to coming to Dreaming Out Loud, she has worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama.

Some of her favorite past times include cheering for the Portland Trail Blazers, writing, and re-watching old Living Single episodes.

Sumayyah Muhammad

Garden Assistant

She joined DOL because she’d seen Chris at a few events and wanted to learn how she could help change social injustices.You can find Sumayyah at the Blind Whino Garden on Thursday evenings, or at the SW Farmer’s Market on Saturdays where she sells fresh herbs, herbed butters, herbed salt mixtures and spice mixes.
Molly McFarland

Molly McFarland

2016 Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow

However, collaborating with DOL as the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow has allowed her to bring her passions for community development and social entrepreneurship back home and put them to work with the organization. She has previous experience leading, organizing or volunteering for various human rights, political and educational organizations.

Molly is currently pursuing degree in Development Management at the American University School of International Service. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Western China from 2012-2014, where she taught university English and led a women’s group. She now works in training design for an international microfinance organization and is continuously inspired by the opportunities for financial inclusion and gender equality microloans can offer. She is excited to help bring these benefits back to the D.C. community by assisting Dreaming Out Loud with microloan and cooperative support.

David & Daniel

Youth Farmer & Farmers Market Assistants

When they first started, they could hardly carry the tables, chairs, and other equipment to set up the farmers market. Now they’ve progressed through our Summer Youth Development Programs, learning to grow healthy food, the skills to sell it, and the ability to run a farmers market on their own.