The community Project EDEN serves, Ward 8 of Southeast Washington, D.C., has the lowest median income, fewest healthy food options, and highest rates of obesity in the District.

The predominately Black ward is a stark example of the life-threatening implications of disparities in race across junctions of economic opportunity, health and wellness, and access to nutritious food.

Challenges

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Ward 8 is home to some of the most neglected communities in DC, with the highest unemployment rate of any ward in the nation’s capital. 1 in 3 residents in this ward lives at or below the poverty line. Thirty percent of Ward 8 residents are children; that’s the largest population of children in the District. Almost half of these children live in poverty

Although Wards 7 and 8 make up 1 in 7 of the District’s total population, they are home to only 3 fully-equipped grocery stores, compared to 46 stores between Wards 1-6. Until the rates of violent crimes within this area are reduced, businesses and grocery stores have even less incentive to open their doors in a community in dire need of access to affordable and healthy foods. For the time being, 78,686 residents in Ward 8 share one full-equipped grocery store.

Although the Washington, D.C. ranks in the top 5 fittest metropolitan areas, Ward 8 has a reported obesity rate of 44%, compared to a 7.5% obesity rate across the river in Ward 3 of Northwest D.C.

Our Role

Engaging youth and adults in urban agriculture through hands-on training in a safe, welcoming community.

  • VolunteeringBuilding community and providing community service credits for hundreds of volunteers
  • Green TeamTraining youth volunteers in urban farming, small business development, cooking classes, and nutrition
  • Summer Youth EmploymentEmploying youth from underserved communities in Southeast DC in partnership with the District of Columbia’s MBSYEP

Improving community health by increasing access to healthy foods and spaces.

  • Healthy Food: Donating over 2 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables per year to neighbors and seniors. With your help, we plan to expand our programming to increase our crop yield in order to engage farmer’s markets in addition to the food we give away to the community.
  • Health Education: Providing food demonstrations and health presentations on topics like diabetes and obesity. Attendees learn creative ways to take fresh organic food from the soil to the kitchen.
  • Community Transformation: Our garden serves as a safe place for socializing and physical activity. The value of working with our hands is almost a lost art in today’s digital age. There is a one-of-a-kind gratification that results from being able to see the success of a hard day’s toiling.

Youth Focus

Ward 8’s has the largest percentage population of children of any ward in the nation’s capital, 30%, and close to half, 48%, of those children live in poverty, compared to a 3.1% child poverty rate in Ward 3. Ward 8’s youth are in immediate need of services that mitigate the ever-widening gaps in wealth, access to education and employment, access to healthy and affordable foods, and robust healthcare that low-income Black communities face.