Today, we’re looking at a member of the Black community who is working today to provide others with fresh food and get involved in community gardening. Karen Washington is a lifelong New York City native, and she began her work in activism in 1985. After moving to the Bronx, she worked to create community gardens throughout the borough and involve the neighborhood in creating a more beautiful, healthier home. She’s worked with a variety of gardening and agricultural programs throughout the state to create new gardens and farms and promote the importance of growing local, fresh foods to give to the community. Some of the groups she’s worked with are New York Botanical Garden, New York City Community Garden Coalition, and La Familia Verde Garden Coalition.
Washington also works with organizations to promote the efforts of Black farmers and create equity and inclusion throughout the farming industry. She is the co-founder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization that supports Black farmers throughout the country. She has also served on the board for organizations such as Farm School NYC, Greenworker Cooperatives, and Soul Fire Farm.
Washington’s efforts to promote gardening in urban areas and encourage the community to get involved have not gone unrecognized. In 2012, she was named one of the most influential African Americans in the country by Ebony Magazine. She also received the James Beard Leadership Award in 2014. Today, Washington works with Rise & Root Farm and continues to speak about the disparities Black farmers face in the industry today.
To learn more about Washington’s work, visit https://www.karenthefarmer.com/
Last updated February 22, 2022