Ward 8 residents are on the verge of new opportunities for food security, wellness and economic sustainability in the community. DC Greens is creating a new urban farm and garden space called The Well at Oxon Run Park to address this topic and build a legacy of sustainable health.
The Well sprawls over 50,000 square feet at Oxon Run Park, 20,000 square feet of which will be used for farming. The food grown in this space will be sold to local restaurants and caterers. The goal is to generate systemic change and circulate money and resources within a community.
The urban farm marks a new stage in the evolution of the 100-acre stream valley. The farm, planned to be fully functioning next spring, is the latest step in an urban park that dates from 1971.
Right in the center of the park stands a sycamore tree that is regarded by DC Greens as a symbol of hope and resilience for the community.
“I was immediately drawn to this space because this is our center…we coined this tree the memory tree because it holds the same value and the same weight here in Southeast…Even after it has been claimed as a tree that is dying, it’s symbolic of the resilience in this community,” said Kenneth Bridges, farm manager.
Every detail of The Well was carefully thought out and holds a significant meaning linked to the farm’s purpose and culture within the community.
DC Greens officials say they mounted this project because they saw a need to solve a problem that Ward 8 experienced. Claiming and owning their power, the community is optimistic that these food and nutritional programs will take off to bridge the gap of food and health systems within the city.
Residents can also expect outdoor classrooms where children will be able to learn the basics of agriculture and the techniques that go into sustaining the environment and produce. This will also act as an outreach program for the youth to be more involved in building their community. Jaren Hill Lockridge, director of The Well also known as “The Woman at the Well” says this initiative is created “in an effort to make ‘green the new cool.”
“We will have a youth garden as the backdrop as to the outdoor classroom to give kids a hands-on experience in urban agriculture, introducing them to environmental wellness,” said Hill Lockridge.
The Well is also a host of other programs produced by DC Greens. Every Wednesday, The Well acts as a produce plus pickup site where 50 bags of produce are available to distribute to the community. The food that is not distributed on site, is given to other partnered food programs so that the food isn’t wasted. The Well also hosts an event called “Yoga at The Well” where people can come together and practice fitness and relaxation.