Common Good City Farm
DescriptionSixteen teenagers. Four iPads. Two days. One summer on an urban farm in Washington, D.C. Lots of questions.
Every summer Common Good City Farm welcomes a group of local teens as part of their Summer Youth Program. The teens in this employment program spend six weeks weeding, selling produce from the garden, learning to farm, harvesting, turning the compost, and participating in educational and leadership activities.
Located in the historic LeDroit Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Common Good City Farm is the current incarnation of two previous community farms, the Shaw EcoVillage and the 7th Street Garden. Common Good's mission is to support low-income members of the DC community by providing access to fresh, nutritious food and educational opportunities. Common Good has been in its current home on the former baseball field on the grounds of the old Gage-Eckington Elementary School since 2008. The farm boasts a CSA, an Herbal Aprrenticeship Program, and an outdoor shelter to host numerous free workshops throughout the seasons. All year children ages 6-12 can learn about farming through the LEAF program.
In the summer of 2013, Smithsonian Gardens and Common Good City Farm partnered to investigate the story of the farm for the soon-to-be-released Community of Gardens digital archive. The teens divided into groups and each group set out to answer a different question about Common Good City Farm and learn more about its history and role in the local community:
"What is the future of Common Good City Farm?"
"How does the farm make the community a healthier place?
"How does Common Good City Farm play a role in the food justice movement in Washington, D.C.?"
"What are the roots of Common Good City Farm?"
They spent two days in July 2013 interviewing staff, volunteers, and board members about the farm. iPads brought technology into the garden, allowing the teens to edit their stories on-site at the farm. Many of the summer participants knew little about farming or gardening at the start of the summer, but by the time Smithsonian Gardens arrived on the scene for the storytelling workshop we were impressed with their knowledge of plants, pollinators, composting, common garden pests, and cooking. Through the act of gathering and sharing stories the teens learned more about the history of Common Good and the importance of preserving community stories for the future. Asked about what they learned over the summer, the teens replied "our favorite things about Common Good City Farm are weeding, harvesting, and the people that are here" and "a garden with fresh food is good for everyone in the community."
Let the teens tell you about about their experience at Common Good City Farm in their own words through their videos and photos.