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 (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

Staff

Chris Bradshaw

Chris Bradshaw

Founder & Executive Director

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.

Chris further developed his skills in social entrepreneurship and innovation as a StartingBloc Fellow and honed his skills in growing techniques through workshops at Growing Power, courses at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, and hands-on experience.
Christopher is a member of the first-ever DC Food Policy Council, was selected as a 2015 Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovator, one of Food Tank’s 20 Leaders Under 40 Who Are Shaping the Future of Our Food System, 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 sovereignty movement.

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.
Starsha Valentine

Starsha Valentine

Consultant, Operations & Resource Development

Starsha has an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a graduate degree in nonprofit management from University of Maryland, University College. She works with DOL to increase the capacity to serve the DC community by creating a new and fair food system. Starsha has a passion for fundraising and helping good organizations thrive. Shefirmly believes that the work of DOL will fundamentally change the food systems landscape in the district and she is excited to be a part of this vital work.
Boe Umar

Muhsin “Boe” BoeLuther Umar

Community Outreach Partner, Hustlerz 2 Harvester

Joanna Williams

Wallace Kirby

Community Outreach Partner, Hustlerz 2 Harvesters