Love and Carrots
Jun 30, 2015 11:10PM
Love & Carrots was founded in May 2011, with a big mission: to encourage as many D.C. residents and organizations as possible to grow gardens and produce food; to provide support and education to make growing possible, beautiful and productive and to enable the next generation of farmers to make a healthy living in this career of growing food. Since then, Love & Carrots has been helping to grow organic vegetable gardens in backyards, front yards, patios, balconies and even in bay windows throughout the District. While the city has many community garden plots, many have a long waiting list.
Founder Meredith Shepherd had been working in traditional agriculture and environmental conservation for some time. She was interested in how the daily food choices created an avalanche of impacts—from growing methods, to how food is transported to dinner tables, which impacts not only our bodies but the areas from which we draw food --- even as far as the Amazon rainforest. For that reason, she wanted to take her knowledge of agriculture and apply it to growing, thoughtfully, where people live. Love & Carrots sprouted out of that motivation.
Shepherd realized that Washington, D.C. is uniquely suited to have productive gardens on just about every block. Building height restrictions and yard space allows for creative, unique and productive garden designs. Over the years she has witnessed the countless benefits that urban agriculture projects provide to the communities in which they grow. She notes,” Anyone can have a garden and I recommend taking the plunge to try it out in any capacity you can—whether that's a pot of basil on your kitchen sink or a full front yard farm.”
Since the beginning, Shepherd and her growing crew has installed close to 300 gardens. They’ve completed thousands of seasonal plantings and offer two unique flagship services, garden coach and care, for approximately 100 gardens per season.
Love & Carrots has seen tremendous growth in the past few years—now working with a team of 15 committed and dedicated people. They bring to the enterprise the business background that Shepherd didn’t have, and it has turned into a glorious collaboration. She notes, “My team is comprised of people who are incredibly passionate and hardworking; they are endlessly adaptive, patient and inspirational. This is all a grand experiment. We are inventing every system and process as it becomes necessary and they are the willing tools that make it happen.”
The growth of this D.C.-centered business could, itself, be called as organic---meeting the needs of the community as they emerged and in a way that has allowed them to thrive. According to Shepherd, “I believe that our economic sustainability is part of how we've made this urban agricultural experiment last and grow over the years. Additionally, associating a value and charging for our skills and products has allowed us to work with community-centric gardens including schools, low-income housing communities, community gardens, health centers and more.”
To learn more, visit LoveAndCarrots.com.