Since planting the first seeds on 7th Street in March 2007, Common Good City Farm has successfully improved community health by starting from the ground up – with the food people put into their bodies. By providing hands-on training in food production, healthy eating and environmental sustainability, they hope to serve as a replicable model of a community-based urban food system.
Unhealthy eating habits and lack of access to fresh food is an acute problem in some district neighborhoods. In the LeDroit Park community where Common Good City Farm is, one third of the residents live in poverty. At least one in five are overweight. Nearly one in 10 has diabetes. A lack of affordable, fresh produce is a factor related to each of these health concerns.
Originally founded as the “7th Street Garden," the project moved to a half-acre abandoned baseball field in the middle of the nation's capital in 2008 - and became "Common Good City Farm." Since 2007, they have taught thousands of DC residents and students in their workshops and food programs, hosted thousands of volunteers and provided thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to low-income DC families.
About the Founders:
Elizabeth Gabriel (formerly Liz Falk) worked to improve food security and strengthen the local food movement in Washington, DC starting in 2003. After months of researching DC's community health and urban farming history and interviewing key stakeholders, Elizabeth and Susan Ellsworth founded Common Good City Farm in 2007 with a simple vision to increase fresh food access to DC's low-income residents in the Shaw neighborhood. Elizabeth has a background in environmental studies and education and a dual master's degree in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. She has worked on organic farms in Virginia, Australia and Costa Rica. Elizabeth received a certification in permaculture design in 2006. She moved back to her roots in the Finger Lakes region of New York in 2009, where she and her husband, Steve, co-own a permaculture farm and homestead called Wellspring Forest Farm and she works part-time with Cornell Cooperative Extension of NYS and the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.
Susan Ellsworth loves working outside, getting to know her neighbors and sharing knowledge about food. Working with community members at the 7th Street Garden and then Common Good City Farm provided just that opportunity. A resident of Washington D.C. since 2003, Susan and co-founder Elizabeth Gabriel were eager to help build a vibrant, fun and educational space that would help to to address some of the food and health disparities within the city. Susan misses Washington, DC from California where she splits her time between agriculture and urban edge planning and working on an olive farm. She has a BA from Colby College and an MS in Community Development from UC Davis.