30 June 2010
It is almost problematic how much there is to delve into in Washington D.C. Now reflecting on our day at midnight we are amazed at what we managed to experience in just one long day in the capital.
When we decided to bring our road bikes along on this trip, it was cities like D.C that we were keeping in mind. Wide streets, quality bike lanes (Boston please take note) and relative flatness allow for some very straight-forward getting around. With no further ado than a cup of tea and some rice cakes this morning we headed out on our trusty steeds, reaching the National Gallery in just about 15 minutes and $0.00 including parking. First exhibit to our right was Allen Ginsberg’s personal photo collection, documenting with snap shot portraits the vibrant souls of the Beats, San Francisco poets and other friends of Ginsberg over the course of several decades. Between his photos and handwritten notes and then a stroll through the Chester Dale gallery of Impressionism to Modernism we felt fulfilled, inspired and ready for lunch (which we ate on the steps of the capital building). Our cultural luck was only beginning, for upon reaching the Library of Congress we happened upon another hero and bookshelf mainstay of ours. At the moment Carl G. Jung’s long-overdue Red Book in on display along with related history and art work. The library itself of course is fabulous too.
We took a break for some yerba mate outside the library and then dove into the National Botanic Garden. Currently hosting a THRIVE campaign, the gardens outside were so beautiful we never even made it inside the building. Like a playground for pollinating bees, moths and butterflies, the garden is already laden with edible fruits, veggies and herbs, along with some fantastic space maximizing installations. We took mental note of all that we could (and will be installing herb hammocks in our own garden asap!) and then ran across the street to a brand new farmer’s market, located behind the garden (and still in view of the capital).
In the market, a short shopping trip turned into over an hour of interview time, when we decided to go ahead and get right into collecting footage for our project. Long, long story short we are hoping to make sustainable and community-based agriculture the focal point of this journey, collecting footage, photographs and field notes that will eventually become a project/thesis when we go back to school. Soon the blog will explain this more thoroughly. Here in the market, we spoke with a few farmers and interviewed one, Jim from SnowBear Vegetable Farm in Virginia, extensively. Tomorrow we will visit his farm, as well as the famed Polyface Farm, on our way to Shenandoah National Park. Please read more about SnowBear farm and Jim’s mission here.
Excited to have made headway on our project so soon into our trip, we decided to stop at a new community garden down the street from Paul’s house. Luckily the co-founders of the City Blossoms project were there and also agreed to speak with us on camera (so, lots of fun pictures and film to come). In brief, Rebecca and Lola, both born and raised in D.C, have worked in community gardening since their high school years and started this garden, their 8th, on newly donated property just this spring. They talked to us about their organization, the merits of using recycled cardboard in place of weed barrier cloth, and even sent us home with some freshly cut basil.
Paul met us there and with haste we had our new basil and heirloom goodies from the market chopped into a salad, which we packed along with some sausage and German beer into our backpacks. Back on the bikes, we sped down to the riverside and ate beside the Potomac and beneath some of the most pleasant weather D.C has experienced recently (we even felt the feeling of coolness, a rare luxury these days). After a nice meal, we decided to end the night with a long ride back through the National Mall, past the White House, through Georgetown and then to Paul’s home in the Shaw neighborhood.
One big day down, with many more to come! Pictures up soon and more news as we head out to some farms tomorrow morning. I didn’t even have a chance to write about The Big Green Bus team from Dartmouth College that we met and interviewed yesterday, but we promise to share more about their project soon. We can already see that it is going to be tough to recognize all the amazing people and projects that we meet on this journey. We will do our best! Thanks for reading!