Attending Rooting DC is enough to make a person want to dig under the snow to get started gardening! The 8th annual gardening forum took place on Saturday, February 28 at the sparkling new Wilson High School in Tenleytown. Its tagline is: “An annual forum. A perennial movement.” With 1200 attending this day packed full with workshops and an exhibit area filled with experts, the event hosted by DC Greens was a huge success.
Attendees looking to start or ramp up a gardening project are likely to have left Rooting DC bursting with ideas. The vast program of dozens of workshops included four one-hour sessions; each hour offered several choices on topics ranging from composting to beekeeping to herbal healing to irrigation. Many of the session handouts are available online.
Throughout the day-long event, businesses and organizations – including a long list of partnering organizations – exhibited in the information fair in the spacious, naturally-lit atrium, sharing information about their products and services.
A free annual event, Rooting DC is open to anyone with any level of interested in gardening and sustainable living, but there was plenty to offer parents and families. Throughout the day, children could work on pollinator-related crafts in a room staffed and organized by FoodCorps. Sessions specifically targeted toward working with children were led by Jen Mendez of PERMIE KIDs, Katie Harvey, director of Veggie Time with Kid Power, and Morgan Maloney of Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, and Charla Wanta of Washington Youth Garden. Sam Ullery, School Garden Specialist with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) gave a School Garden 101 talk for those in D.C. Public Schools.
FoodPrints, Kid Power, and City Blossoms are among the many organizations that run or support gardening and nutrition programs in DCPS. The soda tax funds many of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act staff positions and grant programs at OSSE. For more information on school gardening in DC, check out OSSE and its Resources for School Garden Coordinators page.
During Rooting DC, lunch was available from several sustainable-minded food trucks including The Randy Radish, The Big Cheese, Chatpat, Lemongrass and Chaia.
Rooting DC is hosted by DC Greens. The event is collaboratively designed with representatives from Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, Capital Area Food Bank, City Blossoms, Department of Parks and Recreation, Neighborhood Farm Initiative, and Washington Gardener Magazine. Sponsors are Kaiser Permanente and The JBG Companies.
A date has not yet been set for Rooting DC 2016, but it’s traditionally been the last weekend in February or first weekend in March.
For ongoing education, Rooting DC has put together “DC’s Foodscape: A Short Course” that will take place over the weekends of April 11-12 and 18-29. There are only 30 slots for this intensive 30-hour, four-day course, so check out the details to register.
Other upcoming gardening-related events in the Metro DC area include:
Saturday, March 28: Grow Your Health gardening, health and wellness festival including screening of GMO OMG, Woodson H.S., Fairfax, VA, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday, April 6: Growing Green Schools in Arlington, Fairlington Community Center, Arlington, VA, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 9: School Environmental Action Showcase, George Mason University Center for the Arts, Fairfax, VA, 9:00 a.m. -2:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 21: “Real Food with Nina Planck: Talk and Book-Signing,” Holistic Moms Network Arlington/Alexandria Chapter, UUCA, Arlington, VA, 7-9 p.m.
June 5, 6, 7: DC Green Festival, DC Convention Center