The Wandering 08 // Food Future Reflections
There’s no shortage of impressive young people in DC. In fact, I'm surrounded by so many, that I feel that one of the reasons I’ve been able to kickstart my creative pursuits is the pure inspiration and excitement I feel when I exchange ideas with such impactful and ambitious people. Kathleen, Jeff and Kristoff play this role in my life, and they are perfect examples of hard working, visionaries, working tirelessly to create a better world. They're the founding team of Up Top Acres; a rooftop farm enterprise, transforming the DC food culture and making agriculture a fixture of city life. The Wandering 08 sparked conversation around a revolution in DC’s food future. And Aley and I did so by showcasing businesses that are transforming our food community, and the possibilities for the future.
The vibe of this gathering felt like a blend of connection, inspiration, learning and growing. Our guests trickled in, visibly dazzled by the greenspace and energized by the potential of growing food on the concrete landscape overhead. It’s estimated that around 30% of vacant growing space in cities is occupied by rooftops. The possibility of cultivating unused space to grow food can solve a huge problem- the challenge of finding space in cities for agriculture. And so we were able to use the rooftop as a platform to talk about what was possible.
We kicked off the gathering with light bites featuring the early summer harvest - a bounty of radishes, carrots, strawberries, herbs; savory lentil hummus, and toasted sourdough with ricotta, honey, black pepper and mint (recipe below!).
In addition to highlighting Up Top’s efforts, we hosted True Syrups, a DC and women owned small-batch cocktail mixer company, to talk about the next link in the local food system chain- processing local food into consumer products. She spoke about the impact of working with local producers, and the integral role that small businesses play in propagating a local food economy. Her herby cocktail recipe was pretty delicious, too ;)
Their was a palpable energy from the group as we sat down for dinner, wrapped in the warm sunset glow on the horizon. As the wanderers settled around the table, Whole Foods talked about their local food program, and the impact that supermarkets and larger distributors can have on scaling the vital work of ethical farmers. And this all helped me understand that while our original intention was to create a nourishing summery cookout, what we found along the way was that the real story of our menu reflected the journey of our food community and how far we’ve come in creating a healthier and more sustainable system.
Working with partners like Up Top, True Syrups and Whole Foods made me appreciate that being a part of a system means that we all have a role to play. Up Top produces the food. Whole Foods sells the food. True Syrups processes the food. The Wandering creates accessible experiences to celebrate the food. And only together can we create a better food reality for each stakeholder along the way. There’s so much opportunity, and it’s ours to lose. And despite tricky times for our environmental policies, I’m optimistic that with grassroots efforts and unrelenting passion, we can create the future we seek for our world and community.
- Sourdough, sliced and toasted
- Whole milk ricotta
- Black pepper
- Mint, chopped
- Olive oil
Toast your bread. Top with ricotta, followed by olive oil, honey, black pepper and mint.