Life moves so quickly often that it is easy for one to miss out on the stories, the history that informs the new developments that materialize before one every day. For instance, the corner of New Jersey Avenue and K Street here in Washington, D.C. has been a grassy and vacant piece of potential for quite some time, but if you happened by that corner this past Thursday or this morning or tomorrow or any series of tomorrows, you will have the good fortune of seeing something magical develop – an emerging urban farm that will serve the great kids, families, and neighbors of Walker Jones Education Campus, a DC public school.
This is not a project that has developed overnight but one that has been gestating a full year now ever since a group of preschool age summer school students from Scott Montgomery Elementary stopped and knocked on the door of Sidra Forman and John Cochran. They just wanted to see their garden, and they soon had the experience of not only working in that space but eating from it as well and departing with a flower in hand. The reactions of the wee ones were so enthusiastic that it was not long before a friendship was forged between the school and these uber-neighbors. Montgomery’s front yard soon boasted a pumpkin patch in addition to other plantings, and John and Sidra had acquired about sixty new 3 and 4-year old friends through their weekly gardening visits with the preschool classes.
The energy these gardening projects generated drove a dream and a design process for an entire urban farm on the Montgomery campus. When it was announced later that fall that Montgomery would close at the end of the school year, the plans fell by the wayside for one campus and shifted direction to the projected new home for Montgomery’s students – Walker Jones Education Campus.
What you see developing on our small corner in the city is a marriage between practical action to nourish, educate and inspire a community, and a pure act of dreamy and impractical love for both the endeavor and the wonderful children served. You may see stops and starts in the project, times of great action followed by slower paced developments. We are just taking time to write our story carefully, purposefully, and with the help of the community we serve.