Shared Roots was created to encourage District residents to grow food by connecting them to new food growing opportunities in schools, community gardens, and backyards while caring for and building community in the garden. The Shared Roots site application is now open here for schools only.
We are using this application to gauge interest in the program. If we receive fewer than 10 applications, we will not move forward with the program this year. If we receive 10 or more applications, we will open it up to community gardens and backyards. The program start date is mid-June.
Why should my school garden participate?
- Keeping a school garden open for community members gardeners in a time of crisis and uncertainty is one of the greatest services a school can offer to the community.
- Gardening outdoors can be done safely when health guidance is followed.
- Access to nutrient-dense fresh food is unequitable across the District. This program provides DC residents with access to growing spaces, where they also receive support from an experienced gardener to help them learn to grow their own food.
- Community involvement in schools contributes to, among many things, academic success among students. This program connects DC residents to schools through gardening.
- This program will increase the number of schools that will have school gardens ready for students on the first day of school. Summer maintenance for school garden programs is an ongoing challenge, especially during this time when school gardens are underused due to limited in-person instruction.
- Through this program, community members not only help with garden maintenance, but also bring in their own experiences, backgrounds, and skills that add richness and a sense of place to the school garden.
What are the site requirements?
- Attend a mandatory training webinar online.
- Select participants based on site capacity.
- Ensure that the site coordinator and participants are following all relevant Mayor’s Orders and health guidance posted on: coronavirus.dc.gov.
- Host a mandatory training session for members at the beginning of the program for all participants. The orientation must outline access, communication norms, usage, and responsibilities of both site coordinators and members.
- Create a participant/site coordinator agreement.
- Sign a District government waiver which must be received before members can start gardening.
- Send out at least one weekly email to participants detailing garden work that needs to be done.
- Be available consistently throughout the summer to visit the garden and mentor participants in person.
- Offer consistent access to the site, water, and tools for all participants.
- Maintain an open line of communication with participants.
- Practice 100 percent organic gardening methods.
- Serve as a point of contact to facilitate the program.
- Obtain a letter of support from the school’s principal or another member of the school’s leadership team that has the authority to support this program.
- Ensure each participant is vetted through the school’s volunteer process.
What are the health and safety considerations?
- A limit of 12 participants will be allowed in the garden at a time (note that most sites typically only request 3-4 community members).
- Participants will maintain a distance of 6 feet between each individual using the garden.
- Participants will bring their own tools and gardening gloves. In the case where shared tools are used (wheelbarrows, hoses, shovels) these tools will be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
- Non-medical face coverings or face masks will be provided by participants and worn at all times.
- The site coordinator or school staff will conduct a health screening before each Shared Roots participant begins working in the garden.
- A hand-washing station will be available to participants in the garden.
- Site coordinator and members will follow all relevant Mayor’s Orders and health guidance posted on: coronavirus.dc.gov.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Sam Ullery at [email protected] with questions.