GroW Garden and GroW Community The GroW Community is a student organization that mobilizes GW students and members of the DC community to advocate for a just food system by promoting community, building relationships, and actively improving the urban ecosystem. In addition to advocacy efforts for food justice, the GroW Community also educates students about growing their own food and learning how to organize grassroots coalitions. The on-campus GroW Garden, established in 2009, provides students an opportunity to get their hands in the soil and support people in need. Produce from the GroW Garden is donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization adjacent to campus that is dedicated to ending chronic homelessness in Washington, DC. Miriam’s Kitchen serves the homeless by providing case management work, advocating for the permanent housing, and providing delicious home-cooked meals. The GroW Garden provides a portion of the fresh produce in these meals. The garden is supported by a substantial volunteer base through years of volunteer-coordination by garden managers. The GroW Community, which currently functions as the umbrella organization for the garden and other food justice projects, is one of the main sources of volunteers for the garden. The active membership in the GroW Community consistently provides the labor to physically maintain the garden. In addition to this core group of volunteers, the GroW Garden regularly welcomes large groups of volunteers from other organizations such as fraternities and sororities, service/service-learning organizations, and outside schools. Every week in the spring and fall seasons, GroW Garden hosts meals for their volunteers at the garden. Each week this community grows and strengthens and is able to create a beautiful community based on shared values.
Spoon University is an online food magazine written by college students across the country. They provide recipes, food hacks, and other tips to help students navigate their kitchens. The GW chapter of Spoon University writes about DC restaurants, comfort food on campus, and the best food instagrams to follow among many other topics. Spoon University has over 100 college chapters with 5000+ contributors and nearly 250,000 followers on Facebook. GW students have written many articles for Spoon University, including an article on Chef José Andrés.
The Roosevelt Institute is a student led think-and-do tank with over 10,000 members at colleges around the country. The GW Roosevelt Institute engages students in solutions-based progressive activism in the areas of economic development, education, energy and environment, equal justice, international affairs, and public health. In 2015 the GW Roosevelt Institute partnered with the Fair Food Program. The Fair Food Program was launched by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and is a third-party verified label with compliance standards about fair wages and working conditions.
In 2014, GW became the first DC University to join the Real Food Challenge, a national student-led campaign to improve sustainable dining options. The Real Food Challenge commits the university to strive for 20% “real”- that is, sustainable, local, ethical—by 2020. More than 20 universities have made the Real Food Campus Commitment. GW also committed to the health and wellness programming of the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Healthy Campus Initiative in 2014. The Partnership for a Healthier America includes guidelines about local food procurement, nutrition counselling and assessments, non-academic cooking skills classes, and other initiatives to improve health and wellness across the campus.