Rose Williams Testimony at March 2, 2022, Council Education Oversight Hearing
Ward 8 Resident and FRESHFARM Community Food Educator
Testimony to the DC Committee on the Whole
Education Agencies Performance Hearing, March 2, 2022
Greetings. I am Rose Williams, an actively engaged Ward 8 resident and a native Washingtonian with an admiration of the city that goes beyond measurable words.
As parents, my husband and I chose DCPS – the same system that we attended – to educate our now two young adult children. During my son’s elementary school years at Watkins, I experienced firsthand the phenomenal exposure that the FoodPrints program had on my son. To witness the pure joy of a six year old child unearth a sweet potato the size of a football that grows in the garden at their school’s vision will never fade away. My 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, I am a Community Food Educator working with the Simon Elementary community in this special program getting the children interested in fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, gardening and exploring the food system from a hands-on lens. I get to engage with the community as we both share parallel paths of lives, and demonstrate my passion and journey with foods both familiar and new.
My personal interest in gardening is a deep entrenched part of my DNA as the granddaughter of a tobacco farming sharecropper in North Carolina where I would spend my summers barefoot and consuming only those items that were in our yards.
After moving to our forever home in Ward 8 and experiencing the “food desert “ on the ground level, my energy was led to support the Produce Plus and Prescription Produce Plus Programs throughout the ward.
The area of Simon and surroundings have ample green space that is bellowing to be cultivated and planted upon as the installation to The Well nears completion – that is scheduled to be used for invaluable outdoor education for our young children and families. I feel fortunate to have witnessed the direct support that the Ward 8 Councilmember and native Trayon White has made to greatly improve the food insecurity and health challenges that has plagued this area for far too long. Thank you to other Council Members for supporting solutions to these challenges as well.
Today I share with you this plea: please make a collective decision to continually fund FoodPrints with equity across the city so our young children and families at Simon, Garfield and other ward 8 schools will have opportunities to be exposed to and enjoy fresh, nutritious food from our food system and in their lives.