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.
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.
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.
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.
Meaning: “Chain link.” This symbol is a reminder to contribute to the community and that in unity lies strength.
Meaning “Help me and let me help you.” This symbol represents cooperation and interdependence.
Meaning: “The Earth has weight.” This symbol represents the importance of the Earth in sustaining life.
Meaning: “The heart.” The symbol of patience and tolerance.
Meaning: “The fern.” The symbol of endurance and perseverance.
Meaning: “The sword of war.” This symbol of courage, valor, and heroism stresses how to initiate change.
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.
Founder and CEO, Life Long Media
Wil Parker (Chairperson)
Assistant Professor, Education Leadership, Bowie State University
Emerald Stewart (Treasurer)
Director of Development, Communities in Schools of the National Capital Region
Susan “Suji” Sutler
Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Center
JoVita Wells (Vice Chairperson)
Director of Sponsored Programs, University of the District of Columbia