Non-Profit Spotlight: Dreaming Out Loud
Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) is a non-profit organization located in the DC region and aims to rebuild community-based food systems and sustainable food practices in urban and at-risk communities. The organization was founded in 2008 by Christopher Bradshaw in response to the educational and socioeconomic disparities in DC communities.
DREAM Black Food Fund
The DREAM Black Food Fund is a partnership between multiple foundations and individual donors which provides direct support to the infrastructure of farmers and food providers. Dreaming Out Loud founded this initiative to help these farmers and food providers sustain and grow their operations to make food more accessible in their communities. As a result, the DREAM Black Food Fund has secured 1200 cubic square feet of cold storage, irrigated 100 acres of farmland, and supported the purchase of 6 acres of farmland. The program also provided produce to 267 families and distributed $120,000 in awards to mutual groups providing food to urban and rural farmers.
Dreaming Out Loud Community Supported Agriculture Program
The Dreaming Out Loud CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program features farm-fresh produce from their network of black and brown farmers in the DMV, and offers delivery throughout the DC area. In addition, Dreaming Out Loud works with under-served farmers to provide them with market access and revenue-generating opportunities they wouldn’t usually have access to.
Dreaming Out Loud Farm and Food Hub
The CSA also helped create the DOL Farm at Kelly Miller Middle School, a 2-acre farm and food hub that teaches youth to grow and cook food that celebrates cultural traditions. The farm aims to inspire healthy lifestyles and promote creativity and civic engagement in classrooms and the community. The farm also allowed school instructors to create a culinary curriculum that supports and enhances the school’s core subject curriculum. Thanks to the Kelly Miller Middle School cafeteria, Dreaming Out Loud can distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to students at the school.
Dreaming Out Loud’s Fall Festival will be held on October 8th, 2022, on the Farm at Kelly Miller Middle School. The Fall Festival celebrates the coming of Fall and another completed growing season.
DC Sustainability Awards
Dreaming Out Loud won the 2022 DC Sustainability Award by DOEE for its work in the community. The District Sustainability Awards highlight businesses, individuals, and organizations that work towards a more sustainable DC.
Dreaming Out Loud operates within the complex-food system on the grassroots level. They are vocal in the legislative process and serve as a conduit for advocacy efforts across the DC region. DOL’s leadership makes a conscious effort to represent themselves and their network on the DC Food Policy Council, where they can channel advocacy efforts by helping draft, propose, and comment on legislation that directly affects DC neighborhoods.
Are you a restaurant, university, institution, or other food organization looking for a more equitable food procurement partner? Then, join Dreaming Out Loud’s listserv to access their regional network of Black and value-aligned farmers.
Dreaming Out Loud offers many volunteer opportunities, including at the 2-acre farm at Kelly Miller Middle School, their food hub during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months, and set-up for the transition to winter following their Fall Festival. To sign-up for any of Dreaming Out Loud’s volunteer opportunities, click here to join the Black Farm CSA, or create a volunteer group by emailing [email protected].
You can donate here to help Dreaming Out Loud create more equitable access to food in DC communities.
Are you interested in working with Dreaming Out Loud? Are you looking to make a donation or volunteer? If you have any questions, you can contact Dreaming Out Loud by checking out their contact page.