In observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day and in alignment with this month’s theme of Environment & Sustainability, on June 16, the Qatar America Institute for Culture team visited the Common Good City Farm, an urban farm located in Washington, DC, to celebrate and learn about sustainable practices on a local level. Located in the LeDroit Park neighborhood of Washington, DC, Common Good City Farm uses sustainable urban agricultural practices. It encompasses all parts of the food system, including food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management. Since 2007 their goal has been to create and model best practices that are replicable for the environment.
On arrival, Common Good City Farm’s Program Manager Marc James led the QAIC team on a tour of the farm, where we discovered what they were growing, the sustainable practices they use to enrich the farm, and how they have expanded their programs to feed more people in the city. Taking a break from the heat, the QAIC team heard from two special guests that joined us at the farm, Bill Grant of QAIC’s Board of Directors and Nate Mook of World Central Kitchen.
Bill Grant is the former Chargé D’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, where he most notably assisted with bolstering Qatar’s food security in 2017. To fill the gap with dairy products, he helped import thousands of cows from the U.S. to Qatar’s dairy farm, Baladna. In less than six months, Qatar developed relations mostly with Turkey and Iran to alleviate the issue, primarily by importing milk and dairy products to the country.
Nate Mook is currently the CEO of World Central Kitchen, an initiative founded by world-renowned chef José Andrés and one of the world’s most innovative food companies that provides thousands of meals to communities in response to humanitarian and climate crises. Currently, Mook is back and forth between the U.S. and Ukraine, where his team provides over a million meals daily to Ukrainians engulfed in the ongoing war.
As our guests shared their stories on food security and the importance of agricultural infrastructure, Common Good City Farm’s Deputy Director Josephine Chu provided everyone with produce and other ingredients for us to prepare lunch. After chopping up an assortment of fresh, locally grown vegetables, mixing some tahini and miso dressing, and cooking noodles, everyone could enjoy a healthy and sustainably grown meal sourced almost entirely from the surrounding grounds of the farm.
As part of QAIC’s Environment & Sustainability focus for June, we thanked our friends at Common Good City Farm with a donation to their farm in support of their efforts and by adopting a fig tree on their plot as a symbol of our friendship for many bountiful seasons to come. To learn more about the Common Good City Farm, visit their website at www.commongoodcityfarm.org.