Between the Lines : A Farm to Table Community

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Virginia Tech

What is the experience like for individuals residing in a community solely composed of gas stations and corner stores? How does the constant presence of these establishments, which primarily offer packaged and unhealthy food options, affect the health of the residents? Food deserts are typically defined as urban areas where it is challenging to access affordable and high-quality fresh food. According to the USDA, a food desert is an area where 100 households are located more than half a mile away from a supermarket. In 2010, approximately 19 million people lived in areas with limited supermarket access. While these statistics provide insight into the impact of food deserts, they fail to convey the personal experiences of those affected. In the wake of the pandemic, Washington DC ranks second in the country for food insecurity, with over 75% of food deserts located in Wards 7 and 8.

This thesis explores the pressing need for healthier food options in urban environments and proposes the development of a farm-to-table community in Marshall Heights, a vibrant neighborhood in Washington DC's Ward 7. By incorporating livestock and public garden spaces, this community aims to provide its residents with access to fresh, nutritious food while fostering a deeper connection to the natural world. The design choices implemented in this community will enable individuals to witness the growth of their food and participate in its preparation, thereby promoting healthier lifestyles and sustainable practices within an urban setting. Through a multidisciplinary approach that considers the historical, cultural, and environmental aspects of Marshall Heights, this thesis offers a blueprint for an alternative way of life that prioritizes health and well-being.

Farm to Table, Local, Community, Self-Sustaining