Lessons Learned from Rooting DC

By: Hannah Cather, Member Support Fellow at Food Recovery Network ….. 

static1.squarespaceI’ve killed a lot of plants. The succulents somehow stay alive, but the herbs, those never last more than a month. It’s disheartening to watch a basil plant shrivel up and die. The cilantro, the rosemary, the parsley — all gone. When someone told me about Rooting DC, I realized that was exactly where me and my anything-but-green thumb needed to be. I even registered to volunteer sorting seeds before the forum, hoping to bring some good luck to my gardening.

DC Greens, the forum’s host, stacked the roster with major players in DC’s urban agriculture world. I could spend three paragraphs listing the awesome presenters, or you could just browse theprogram and find those who stand out to you. Many of the presentation notes will also be posted on the forum’s website, which should be super handy for the garden I’m planning. That’s right: I’m going to GROW THINGS! (I’m laughing a little while writing this because it’s potentially an outlandish goal, but I want to give it a shot.)

I was only able to attend Rooting DC’s morning sessions, but they were insightful and inspiring. The first was lead by Amanda Marino of Capital Area Food Bank, and she shared knowledge on starting and improving your garden game with as little money as possible. I learned where to get free compost and that you can save roughly $30 on 10 pounds of tomatoes if you grow your own.

After that, I went to a presentation by Josh Singer, the community garden specialist at DC Department of Parks and Recreation, on growing vegetables. I learned so much! Like the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants (can you tell I like tomatoes?) and how to organize a garden bed so that it will produce food all year long. He also told me that there are nutrition in some weeds. It turns out that purslane is full of Omega 3 fatty acids and dandelions taste great in salads!

I’m so excited to sow some seeds and watch things grow! Only time will tell if I’ve turned over a new leaf and can keep them alive. Maybe one day I’ll be able to share pictures of the 10 pounds of tomatoes I grew from seed…


See Hannah’s original blog post plus more lessons learned from the Food Recovery Network community here!