Skip to main content

Community Solutions

An adult and two young kids kneel in the dirt, gardening tools in hand.
The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve quality of life and economic opportunity for communities in D.C.
Photo courtesy of UDC CAUSES
A man with a black hat, embroidered with the name Chef Herb, and black chef's jacket, embroidered with the name Chef Holden, smiles while holding yellow, orange, and red peppers.
Chef Herb Holden is a nutrition educator at the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Nutrition, Diet, and Health.
Photo courtesy of UDC CAUSES
Nine photos in a grid, each a closeup of a hand holding seeds. Some are dried, some are still attached to the plant, some are in clumps of dirt.
SeedBroadcast, a project based in New Mexico, explores grassroots food and seed sovereignty through collective inquiries and hands-on creative practices.
Photo courtesy of SeedBroadcast
Fourteen people kneel on the ground, working on raised vegetable garden plots within a fenced enclosure.
Global Co Lab Network’s Zero Hunger Hubs empower teens to eliminate hunger and create food sustainability in communities. They currently manage two community gardens in Arlington, Virginia, and Ellicott City, Maryland.
Photo courtesy of Global Co Lab Network

Communities around the United States and the world need clean air, water, and sustainable food. At the 2022 Folklife Festival, we learned from communities that are taking steps to clean up waterways, revive traditions, create green spaces, and reduce their impact for a cleaner, healthier future toward environmental justice for all.

What are some things you can do at home to reduce waste? What can you grow in your own backyard to promote pollinators or provide food for you and your family? How are youth taking a lead on environmental action in their communities?

We joined local organizations including the Anacostia Watershed Society, working to make the Anacostia River swimmable and fishable by reducing pollution, restoring natural systems, and reconnecting the community to the river.

Visitors learned about and help address urban food justice. From planning collaborative spaces like roof gardens to hydroponic greenhouses that grow healthy food, visitors discovered how urban food hubs help prevent “food deserts” to provide healthy choices.

We explored how seed saving helps maintain food sovereignty, or control over local and native food systems. Bring your own heirloom seeds to share and learn how heritage crops can be part of food security and climate solutions.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.