Aldo Sainati

On one side of 7th St NW, new apartments are being built. Construction workers are adding story after story to buildings in the heart of DC’s Shaw neighborhood.

On the other side of 7th Street another type of growth is underway. It’s the type of growth that brings visitors back to their roots.

In Bread for the City’s rooftop garden, seeds are sprouting, young plants are blossoming. Bees are at work in their hive. The fresh herbs, vegetables and honey produced here in the garden will soon nourish low-income families and food pantry clients. Just as importantly, this green space helps foster reflection and encourages volunteers and participants to rethink their dietary habits and how they affect the health of their everyday lives.

Man working in rooftop garden.

A volunteer plants seed in the garden at Bread for the City’s Northwest Center. Photo by Aldo Sainati

“Doing a better job addressing health, nutrition, and our diets is crucial in order to help low-
income families strive,” explained Dennis Smith, a garden volunteer. He believes that without this strong foundation, it is impossible for a person to reach his or her potential.

In fact, this sums up Bread for the City’s main long-term goal: to offer a wide range of services to the community to bring stability, which in turn will allow low-income families to be successful.

“Our goal is to be a safety net for low-income families,” said George Jones, executive director of Bread for the City.

The rooftop garden and the distribution of healthy food are just two of Bread for the City’s many services. On the floors below, while clients get medical care at the clinic, and hone their computer skills in a classroom, garden volunteers stay busy, weeding and tilling the summer crops.