''In just one generation - 20 years - the District of Columbia will be the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States. An international destination for people and investment, the District will be a model of innovative policies and practices that improve quality of life and economic opportunity. We will demonstrate how enhancing our natural and built environments, investing in a diverse clean economy, and reducing disparities among residents can create an educated, equitable and prosperous society.'' Mayor Vincent Gray, Sustainable DC Plan
I was lucky enough to attend the official unveiling of Mayor Vincent Gray’s Sustainable DC plan last week at the Earth Conservation Corps headquarters on the banks of the Anacostia River. Mayor Gray addressed a standing-room only crowd eager to hear the city’s plans that have been 18 months in the making.
The plan offers solutions in the built environment, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste and water. The goal of the plan is to make DC more socially equitable, environmentally responsive, and economically prosperous. As the founder of a marketing and public relations agency with a focus on local food and sustainable agriculture, I was most interested in the Mayor’s plan to tackle the myriad of issues surrounding food. The plan calls for 20 more acres of land in the city growing food; 75% of residents living within a ¼ mile of healthy, local food; and 25% of the District’s food coming from within a 100 mile radius of the city. Ambitious? Sure, but it’s about time these issues were addressed in a far-reaching, aggressive manner. Without access to fresh, healthy local food we are left with all too convenient, processed food devoid of nutritional value, consumers who continue to be disconnected from where their food comes from and how it’s raised and grown, and an ever growing obesity epidemic we cannot afford to allow to continue.
While the Mayor's 23-page plan still needs budgetary support and other details are yet to be determined, there are businesses and organizations already on the ground supporting and creating the positive change called for last week. Values and mission based businesses, non-profits and organizations like FRESHFARM Markets and Power Supply are just two examples of established leaders and enterprising start ups striving to make the DC region a healthier place to live, work, play and thrive.
Best of luck Mayor Gray on making your sustainable dream for DC a reality!