By Kristen Mitchell
The plump tomatoes and leafy kale sprouting in George Washington University’s student-run garden are the fruits and vegetables of months of hard work. Sandwiched between bustling H Street and Ross Hall, the GroW Garden gives students a first-hand agricultural experience in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Izzy Moody, a rising junior studying international affairs and co-manager of the garden, said the garden is a place where GW students have built a community and found a way to give back. The garden, sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, donates its harvest to Miriam’s Kitchen, which provides meals for the homeless. Several hundred pounds of produce are donated every year, Ms. Moody said.
“We’re dedicated to serving our community and promoting access to fresh food,” Ms. Moody said. “Everyone deserves access to fresh produce.”
The garden runs along H Street between 23rd and 24th streets in Foggy Bottom. Its current crop includes tomatoes, string beans, chard, kale, carrots, radishes, peppers and other produce. In addition to providing food for Washington, D.C., residents, since 2009, it has also been a place where students go to learn about where the food they eat comes from.
“Students gain an understanding of the labor required to produce food, which is not something you learn from going to the grocery store and buying a bunch of carrots,” Ms. Moody said. “That’s really valuable for students.”
The garden is committed to sustainable farming practices. Volunteers do not use pesticides or herbicides and rely in part on four rainwater harvesting barrels, funded through a 2016 grant from the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, to water the crops. Students also collect and use compost to nurture the GroW Garden.
Ms. Moody said the GroW Garden has had a huge impact on her GW experience. She started volunteering early in her freshman year and has been an active member of GroW Community, a student organization separate from the physical garden.
“Every since I arrived at GW the garden has really driven my sense of community at GW,” she said.