The East Capitol Urban Farm project is an innovative, temporary use of vacant land, aimed at improving food security and enhancing quality of life for residents of Ward 7. The project provides an inviting community hub in addition to improved food access: programmed education, entrepreneurial and engagement opportunities continually activate the site and create lasting impacts. While the project brings new resources to Ward 7, it was designed to work with and build on existing community capacity in order to connect residents with natural environmental systems and improve access to opportunities for overall wellness.
The design and programming of the facility were developed through a unique collaborative effort among multiple public and private groups. Partners included the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences, DC Housing Authority, DC Building Industry Association, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, DC Arts and Humanities, American Forests and numerous community and faith-based organizations. Community engagement was intensive and included over a dozen meetings, surveys, and information distributed online and in print throughout the neighborhood.
Throughout design, construction and operation, the East Capitol Urban Farm project maximized potential ecological, social, and economic impact. At the close of the construction of the farm BSD produced a report describing the procedure for identification of focus areas, the decision making process for development of the site design and programmatic elements, and a method for evaluating triple bottom line impact.