A 2010 report by D.C. Hunger Solutions called “Grocery Gap” showed that the store-to- resident ratio and access to fresh, affordable, nutritious produce options in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 were lower than the District average. On average, residents of Wards 4, 5, and 7 must travel longer distances than residents in other wards to reach the closest full-service grocery store. Ward 7 had four-full-service grocery stores for 73,856 residents and Ward 8 had three full- service grocery stores for 60,047 District residents. Meanwhile, Ward 3 boasted 11 grocery stores for its 80,775 District residents. It’s now 2017, and very little has changed in those parts of D.C. People in those same D.C. wards still face inadequate access to fresh, affordable, nutritious produce. But now, using new STEM agriculture advancements, viable technological breakthroughs and solution-based approaches can help provide better access for Washingtonians living in D.C.’s most underserved communities.
A 45-year D.C. veteran of public service, the Honorable George Brown was born and raised in Barry Farms Southeast D.C. neighborhood and served as former Deputy Mayor of the District of Columbia. He is now empowered with empirical knowledge and innovative information on solutions to D.C.’s food insecurity issues initially targeting Washington D.C.’s hardest hit communities in Wards 7 and 8. The Honorable George Brown, a Senior Advisor to Fresh Community Holding Corporation (FCHC), reached out to an old friend, colleague, and member of an elite, highly selective brotherhood made up of former Deputy Mayors of the District of Columbia (an elite fraternity, per se), Stanley Jackson, President and CEO of Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) to get something done.
They both were familiar with the growing concern regarding food insecurity in D.C. and shared ideas on innovative urban agricultural strategies, urban farming, and localized commercial food production. They also discussed complimentary joint efforts and ways to collaborate that could bring effective solutions to the food insecurity issues plaguing Washington D.C. “FCHC is excited about the collaboration with AEDC and I look forward to making ‘#HomeGrownDC’ a reality in our neighborhoods,” said George.
The plan, driven by the use of STEM agriculture technology and urban channel distribution, could result in creating better accessible channels for D,C, residents to higher quality, fresh, affordable, diverse selection of produce literally growing in their backyards, operating 24/7, 365 days per year. These innovative solutions are designed to build economic and social impact opportunities that would empower residents through the development of STEM-skilled, agriculturally focused workers; access to new entrepreneurship opportunities in an emerging industry; and non-traditional community distribution access points working together to build and establish strong healthy sustainable urban D.C. communities.
And within moments of the two former D.C.’s Deputy Mayors reuniting, a collaboration formed.
The FCHC and AEDC, both Washington D.C. -based corporations, will focus their combined efforts on exploring, collaborating and implementing STEM agriculture growing methods and urban distribution strategies aimed to totally change the landscape of urban food production and the positive economic impact it will have on those communities and community shareholders. “It’s time for us to change the narrative and time for local communities with the opportunity of using STEM agriculture methods to take the bull by the horns to create a change for a better healthier community both physically and economically,” exclaimed Stan.
Michael Jones, CEO at FCHC expressed, “Having been born and raised in Washington D.C. and Prince Georges County, Maryland, I have a real affinity and love for this area, and I know with hard work and use of smart, innovative thinking, we can solve our own communities’ food insecurity issues.”
The FCHC’s mission is to end food insecurity and improve food access through an integrative ecosystem of education, distribution, marketing, and innovative technology to reduce food cost and increase food access while also providing new avenues for economic development. The FCHC believes the improvement of food security will stem from a diversified food system that will include urban communities as locations of food production, preparation and distribution.
For more information on the FCHC’s programs and services, interviews with the Honorable George Brown and/or Honorable Stanley Jackson, strategic partnership opportunities and/or information on our STEM agricultural technology, please contact The Foster-Jones Group at 202-600-7793 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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