University students and staff representing the Food Justice Alliance, Green GW, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the GW Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service and community members from the Deanwood Civic Association filled produce bags, handed out literature on nutrition and local social services and talked with community members at the market.
“This event is really important,” said Agustin Pedrazzoli, a student-volunteer and member of Green GW. “It’s great to see that the produce market really responds to a need in the community.”
Ward 7 is one of many areas in Washington that have struggled with access to nutritious food, an issue that Ms. Alexander said they are working to improve.
“I think this event fantastic,” Ms. Alexander said. “Here in Ward 7, we have a lot of ‘food deserts,’ but this event shows that when you provide access to healthy fruits and vegetables, the community will use them.”
Ms. Knapp added that community members were essential in providing support and organizing details for the event.
“The community was a great resource in planning the event because they are already supporting one another through their churches and other organizations,” she said.
In addition to receiving a produce bag, each family also received a recipe sheet that offered guidance for cooking the produce. Mr. Donis demonstrated the three recipes and answered questions about preparation, nutritional benefits and portion sizes.
“I wanted to show people how easy it is to cook food from the market,” Mr. Donis said. “The recipes are simple and really focus on how anyone can cook a meal quickly and in a way that preserves the natural goodness of the local produce.”
Co-chair of the Urban Food Task Force Dawnita Altieri hopes the event will also raise awareness about food security and hunger in Washington, D.C.
“Our mission is to educate the GW community about nutrition and healthy food and to provide opportunities to learn about food and nutrition with our Civic Engagement team beyond the confines of campus,” Ms. Altieri said. “This year with Food Day, we have expanded our reach to other parts of Washington and hope to shed light on issues surrounding access to healthy food and nutrition.”