The Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center‘s (EDCJCC) Gendler Grapevine Project initiative will develop a family workshop series focused on environmental and food justice. For their first activity, they hosted a successful fall family food justice workshop. They brought together six families (a total 24 participants) on Sunday, September 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. for Apples for Everyone! A Family Food Justice Program. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants of all ages to get their hands dirty and learn about food access with Everybody Grows, a local DC organization that inspires people to grow their own food in home gardens.

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Everybody Grows sustains a large raised bed garden at a fire station in Northeast DC, an area considered to be a food desert. They grow produce and herbs for the volunteer firemen who work at this fire station. The Edlavitch DCJCC families took a tour of the garden and learned about composting, irrigation watering, and companion crops. Participants then broke into groups to harvest tomatoes and peppers, pull out old plants to prepare the beds for the winter, dig up sweet potato, and chop up and compost giant sunflowers. The children were incredibly engaged and excited to learn more about composting, so Jake Ifshin, Executive Director of Everybody Grows, spent more time explaining the steps of composting and the various processes compost goes through in order to become fertilizer.

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After learning through hands-on activities, Sonya Weisburd, Edlavitch DCJCC’s Director of Social Justice and Volunteer Programs, and Darya Watnick, their Director of Jewish Engagement and JOFEE Fellow (Jewish Outdoor, Food/Farming and Environmental Education), led a discussion on food waste and food accessibility in the DC area.

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Edlavitch DCJCC is currently in the planning process for their second family workshop on do-it-yourself (DIY) urban composting and gardening, which is slated for April 15, 2018.