Karen Washington: Fighting for Food Justice


Morgan welcomes farmer and community gardener Karen Washington, who has spent decades working to bring New Yorkers fresh, locally grown food. She began by working with neighborhoods in her home, the Bronx, to turn empty lots into community gardens. In 2014, she co-founded Rise and Root Farm in Chester, New York. By engaging communities through farming, her farm is committed to food justice: “increasing the number of people growing and eating good food.”

On what motivates her:

It doesn’t make sense that in a country with so much wealth and resources we have so much [poverty, diet-related diseases, and waste]. We need to wake up and realize that we have a chance of [changing] the system so that everyone has the right to have food that is fresh, that is local, and that is affordable. That’s what keeps me up and going each and every day.

On her grassroots strategy:

The two things that really slow down a movement or shut things down are silence and complacency. So as long as I have a voice I am going to shout out and stand up against injustice.

On why it matters:

To grow your own food gives you power and dignity. You know exactly what you’re eating because you grew it. It’s good, it’s nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community.

Morgan Whitten is a member of the News department. Listen to News every Sunday at 12:30 on WHRB, or on iTunes via our biweekly podcast.