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Congratulations to Spring 2013
People & Planet Award winner Love & Carrots!
Love & Carrots is a home organic gardening service which designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens in DC and the surrounding suburbs. Organic, locally grown food and fruitful green spaces are beautiful, healthy, and better for the soul. Founded by ecologist Meredith Sheperd, the vision of Love & Carrots is to educate people about the importance of local food and environmental stewardship through gardens. We promote the growth of urban agriculture through a home-based garden education service that teaches families, businesses, and organizations how to grow their own food.
In just two growing seasons, Meredith and her team have installed over 120 vegetable gardens and build new gardens at a pace of 1-3 gardens a week. They retain a Garden Coaching clientele of 52 households and rising. The impact of Love & Carrots’ work is showcased throughout DC, in people’s backyards and on their plates!
Meredith founded Love & Carrots because she believes that home gardening is a critical catalyst in the urban agriculture movement. Home gardening converts lawns from biological deserts into productive ecosystems that are beautiful, healthful, tasty, and better for the environment. Our work offers a visible presence for food production in neighborhoods, reduces food miles, and provides a healthy alternative for city residents.
Love & Carrots strives to bring back the knowledge of growing food that used to be passed between generations. Meredith developed a Coaching Service that uses working shoulder-to-shoulder with clients in their own garden to teach best practices. This hands-on approach gets people excited about good, fresh food and helps people understand why it is important. All 120 of our gardens incorporate conservation principles like companion planting, nutrient cycling, and water-saving drip line irrigation that are not only good for the garden, but also the surrounding ecosystem. When possible, we also compost materials on site, converting that “waste” into usable material for next year’s garden.
Recognizing that gardens are only as strong as their pollinator communities, Love & Carrots’ offers beehive installation and management. Our gardens feature native flowering plants, a proven way to foster important pollinator species. In addition, native plants are more adapted to our climate, requiring less water usage and adding year round beauty.
Love & Carrots is also active in the community. By reaching out to other DC organizations involved in urban agriculture, Love & Carrots hopes to extend the impact of home grown food. We often partner with DC non-profits to collaborate on community gardens, contribute to educational workshops, and lead volunteer days. For example, Love & Carrots installed and maintains a vegetable garden for the kids of Shaw Children’s Hospital, which they now feature in nutrition classes.
We are thrilled to be a finalist in the People & Planet Award for Green Business. If we are awarded the prize, we will use it to further our community outreach and home gardening programs.
|Summer veggies harvested from a Love & Carrots garden.||
Owner Meredith Sheperd holds a frame from one of our honeybee hives.
|A panoramic view of a second floor patio transformed by Love & Carrots.|
Keeping out the deer with a beautiful fenced garden.
|BEFORE: A shady backyard with just grass.|
|AFTER: The same yard, transformed with raised beds and a winding stepping stone path.|
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