Bloomingdale Bites – August 2017

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Common Good City Farm Makes the Most of Summer
At Common Good City Farm (CGCF), summer is the busy season both for the growing goodies and for those to tend to them. This month, the members of the Summer Youth Program at Common Good City Farm hosted a multicourse meal to showcase what they have learned while tending to the farm over the summer. The event was held to celebrate the students, all between the ages of 14 and 18, who have spent the season building social, personal, and professional skills while learning how to grow and prepare their own food.

Before the meal, the students gave tours of the farm, showing off their hard work and knowledge of the crops. For lunch, they made a pesto pasta with squash and zucchini, arugula salad with homemade dressing, chicken with a light tzatziki, and wraps to start. Lemonade infused with mint and lavender was a refreshing highlight.

“With our Summer Youth Program, we know our participants probably aren’t going to grow up to be urban farmers, but they are going to eat, they are going to be consumers, so we are here to provide them with the foundation to make informed decisions about their food,” explains Rachael Callahan, executive director of CGCF.

Participating students are part of the DC Department of Employment Services Summer Youth Employment Program. After one summer, they can apply for one of CGCF’s fall or spring paid internships. The internships take the knowledge and skill learned during the summer and expand on them, teaching students how to develop the idea of local farming through community outreach and advocacy.

Summer also marks the height of the farm’s educational programming, which spans from a farm-to-table cooking workshop to an herbalism series. “Connecting people with their food is really important to us,” says Callahan. “We want people of all ages, backgrounds, and economic levels to feel empowered to make choices about what they eat, where they buy it, and how they cook it.”

At El Camino Kids Eat Free (on Wednesdays)
Restaurants that are open until 1 a.m. usually are the same as the ones that promote their children’s menu. El Camino is breaking the mold and appealing to people of all ages and all life’s stages. Every Wednesday is Familia Night, where children who are accompanied by paying adults eat free from the children’s menu. Parents can indulge in hearty entrees that can serve a family of four for $30. The restaurant was recently featured in Washingtonian’s “10 Awesome Kid-Friendly Restaurants Around DC” (https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/07/15/10-awesome-kid-friendly-restaurants-around-dc/).

El Camino, located on Rhode Island Avenue between Boundary Stone and Sylvan Bakery, has been serving tacos and tequila for almost three years. Owners Tony Lucca and Phil Rodriguez of 1905 opened the spot, named after the famous Chevy car that was a fixture in the Chicano neighborhoods of East Los Angeles. The restaurant is known for an eclectic style. “Imagine a 20-something guy who’s into cars and music and girls is sharing an apartment with his 65-year-old grandmother,” Lucca told The Washington Post when they opened in November 2014.

Lucca and Rodriguez have always understood the importance of immersing their restaurants in the community. “Bloomingdale is a very family-friendly neighborhood, so local families have always been a huge target market audience for us,” explains Lucca.

That’s why Familia Night has become an important part of how El Camino serves the neighborhood, which has seen a sharp increase in young families in the last few years. You are just as likely to see a young couple with a baby strapped to the father’s chest while they enjoy a cocktail as you are a young couple on their first date. “The local community is what keeps us in business, whether that’s families, couples, singles, etc. One of the founding principles of the entire business was to be community and family oriented.”

Notice: Important Bus Stop Closure
WMATA has issued an important notice regarding the bus stop at Rhode Island Avenue and First Street NW. Due to construction, the westbound bus stop on Rhode Island Avenue at First Street will be closed, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. until further notice. Buses may experience significant delays in the affected area. Customers may access buses from the westbound stop on Rhode Island Ave at Second Street NW.

Rain, Rain, But Not in the Basement
In case you didn’t notice, it rained quite a bit during the last two weeks of July. DC Water says their project (described in last month’s “Bloomingdale Bites”) worked as it should, and the streets and, most importantly, basements stayed clear of water. DC Water tweeted, “The new tunnel in #BloomingdaleDC stored 500k gallons of stormwater and sewage overnight. Working as designed for flood relief.”

One Step Forward, But Not Really
The last hearing in the McMillan Park drama has not done much to ease the tension. Earlier this month, an all-day hearing was held by the mayor’s agent for historic preservation, J. Peter Byrne, a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center and expert on land use and historic preservation. The proceeding examined the decision handed down by the DC Court of Appeals in December 2016.

The court’s ruling halted the development of any new structures at McMillan. It required the mayor’s agent to revisit his decision, stating that developers Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) would have to make greater efforts to prove the benefits of the development to the community overall. The court found that VMP had not demonstrated that the development will provide more benefit than harm to the historic preservation of the site. Additionally, the court noted that VMP did not explore plans that would preserve open spaces for community use as well as the historic structures that opposition groups hope to preserve.

One full day was not enough to accommodate the testimony, so the hearing will continue next month. A continuation is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 15. The drama continues.

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.