about the knapps
President Knapp chose this photo of sheep grazing in front of the White House from the Library of Congress collection.
President Steven Knapp and his wife Diane Robinson Knapp are not just supporters of agriculture but also practitioners. The Knapps tend a 6.5 acre farm in Sparks, Maryland, where they keep a variety of sheep, chickens, rabbits, and (to protect the sheep from coyotes) one opinionated donkey.
The Knapps’ commitment to healthy food and sustainable agriculture reflects their experience and background. Diane Knapp received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human nutrition and education from Cornell University. She worked for 25 years as a Registered Dietitian in clinical dietetics and food service management at prominent hospitals in New York and California. In 1994, she and President Knapp bought the farm in Maryland, where she discovered her passion for raising sheep and being a steward of the land. At GW, she chairs the Urban Food Task Force, which partners with community organizations and political leaders who are committed to addressing the issues of food access, nutrition, and hunger. President Knapp shares these passions and announced as one of his first priorities when he arrived in 2007 the transformation of GW into a model of urban sustainability.
The Knapps’ farm is never far from their minds, even though they now live on campus in the heart of Washington DC. As they enter the President’s house, visitors are greeted by a photo of sheep grazing on the White House lawn in 1918. Although the sheep were there to symbolize the importance of family farming to the support of American troops in World War I, they are a reminder that our capital city is linked to the land, and they inspire, perhaps, a vision of the city’s sustainable future.