Fangirl Friday: Ecolocity

Fangirl Friday is going to be a regular feature so this blog is not All About Me.  I’m calling it this because I’m a total eco-nerd (and a regular nerd, too). Anyone who knows me knows that asking me about some ecological issue or another can be as dangerous as asking a comic book fan about her favorite Superman storyline. Although I also love graphic novels, so you may want to be careful about that as well.

In this feature, I’ll be highlighting my favorite non-profit groups (and possibly for-profit businesses), in the Washington D.C. area and beyond.  If you have a favorite group that you would like to see highlighted, let me know!  If I think they’re doing good work, I may write up a summary.

My first Fangirl Friday is devoted to the group I do the most volunteer work with, Ecolocity DC.  Ecolocity was started about 2 ½ years ago in an effort to build a sustainable community movement in the DC area.  As I found out at my first meeting, Larry, the founder, created the group because he had just received his permanent residence as an immigrant and wanted to invest in his neighborhood.  I love that story, and it’s definitely inspired me.

Ecolocity is devoted to empowering people in the Washington D.C. area so that we can together create a sustainable community that is resilient to the impacts of climate change and peak oil.  It’s part of the Transition Towns movement, an international effort that I summarize as “Learning to rely on your neighbors more than you do on fossil fuels.” It’s about localizing everything, from the economy, to food, to transportation, while still sharing knowledge and lessons worldwide.  It’s totally grassroots, with each city or area deciding what will work for them.

Because this is such an overwhelming mission, especially in a major city, we’ve been focusing on food specifically.  Food security and sustainability is a huge issue in cities, where many people do not have access to affordable, fresh, good food.  To address this problem, we’ve been developing a variety of local food resources.  We’ve created a food map of the Metro DC region, share resources on our website, started a new farmers’ market, and taught workshops on growing food and building soil. Our latest project is helping guide/manage the development of a community garden on the former site of Bruce Monroe elementary school.  Community gardens allow people to grow their own fresh produce, even if they live in a food desert with no nearby supermarkets.

If you’re in the D.C. area, I encourage you to attend one of our meetings, which are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.  All of our events are listed on our website.  If you’re not in this area, you’re still free to participate on our site or use any of our resources.

What groups do you volunteer with? Are there any food groups close to your heart?

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