Full Circle with FoodPrints: Rose Williams, Ward 8 Resident and Community Food Educator
Rose Williams is an actively engaged Ward 8 resident and a native Washingtonian with an admiration of the city that goes beyond measurable words. We recently welcomed Rose onto the FoodPrints team as a Community Food Educator. But Rose’s story with FoodPrints did not start last month. Rose began her journey about 10 years ago with FoodPrints when her own kids were in school at Watkins Elementary.
As parents, Rose and her husband chose DCPS – the same system that they attended – to educate their two now young adult children. During her son’s elementary school years at Watkins, Rose says, “I experienced firsthand the phenomenal exposure that the FoodPrints program had.” Rose continues, “To witness the pure joy of a six year old child unearthing a sweet potato the size of a football that grows in the garden at their school — that vision will never fade away.” Rose’s son learned his love of Brussels sprouts at FoodPrints and to this day Brussels sprouts remain a regular rotation item at the Williams family dinner table.
Now, many years later, Rose is a Community Food Educator working with the Simon Elementary community in getting children interested in fresh fruit and vegetables, gardening and exploring the food system in a hands-on way. Rose explains, “I get to engage with the community as we share parallel paths of life, and demonstrate my passion and journey with foods both familiar and new.”
Rose’s personal interest in gardening is a deep entrenched part of her DNA. As the granddaughter of a tobacco farming sharecropper in North Carolina, she would spend “summers barefoot and consuming only those items that grew in our yards.” After moving to her forever home in Ward 8 and experiencing the ‘food desert’ on the ground level, Rose’s energy led her to work with DC Greens to support the Produce Plus and Prescription Rx Programs in her community.
In the full circle of Rose’s journey with FoodPrints, she now works as a Community Food Educator with FRESHFARM so that young children and families at Simon, Garfield and the other Ward 8 schools have opportunities to be exposed to and enjoy fresh, nutritious food. After her first couple of months, Rose reflects, “I have been very inspired by the children and families’ willingness to broaden their tasting palettes at the weekly tasting samplings. FoodPrints is truly impacting the lives of our city’s young residents.”