Community Spotlight: The Fresh Food Factory Market
We recently met with Amanda Stephenson of the Fresh Food Factory Market located in the historic Anacostia neighborhood of Ward 8 to learn more about how her program has been providing free healthy food options to the community on a weekly basis since July 2019.
Fresh Food Factory Market’s mission is to empower underrepresented and undercapitalized entrepreneurs by providing them with a one-stop farming, food processing and distribution hub that equips these foodies with the essential resources to operate a successful food venture. When we asked Stephenson what her motivation was to start the business, she said,
“I started the Fresh Food Factory and Market because many residents east of the Anacostia River feel like immigrants who have to travel for amenities, superior food, and a better quality of life. We would have to migrate across a bridge into another Ward, or to Maryland or Virginia. I wanted to make a change here and now, so I had to be the change that I and so many others wanted to see.”
The Food Factory’s objective is to increase the availability of local, ethnic, healthy, and affordable food products and food-related retailers throughout the DC Metro-region. On Monday, August 31, the Market will be giving healthy foods and other care items to survivors of domestic violence so that they can have a fresh start and stay on a healthy pathway out of tragic life circumstances. They will also be in Ward 7 at Riverside working to create a community garden for residents to enjoy.
Check out our full interview with Amanda Stephenson below.
Question: What was the motivation to start your business?
Answer: I started the Fresh Food Factory & Market because many residents east of the Anacostia River feel like immigrants who have to travel for amenities, superior food and a better quality of life. We would have to migrate across a bridge into another Ward, or Maryland or Virginia. I wanted to make a change here and now, so I had to be the change that I and so many others wanted to see. Also, I wanted people of my community and the surrounding neighborhoods to have the same health outcomes that I saw my father experience growing up. He surpassed his life expectancy by nearly 20 years based on his faith, focus, fitness and healthier food choices. And as we know, the life expectancy for residents of Ward 7 and 8, is 20 – 30 years less than that of residents in Wards 1, 2 and 3. Also, the life expectancy of our businesses east of the Anacostia River have been shortened in comparison as they have been GMO’d. Their success and longevity have been modified, with undercapitalization and other limited resources, they are malnourished and can’t bare the same fruit. We knew this was a problem prior to COVID, now it is a pandemic as businesses fight for survival.
Question: How long have you been in business?
Answer: The Market’s grand opening was on May 19th of last year. So, a bit over one year, but the plan of this and what it is to become has been in existence for many years now.
Question: What population does the business serve?
Answer: We are here for all who want to taste the difference. So the consumers who are already conscious of the inferior option that surrounds them, but are looking for alkaline, immunity boosting and overall healthier options. We have a lot of seniors to millennials who come shop, those of varying income brackets. We accept Apple Pay to EBT…. Maybe Bitcoin soon, the way this is going. Also, we have a lot of second-generation immigrants who are looking for options that are from their homes as their food culture is not represented on the international aisles of the other grocery stores. We are introducing ethnic foods to non-native eaters who want and need to adopt a different diet, as a lot of ethnic foods have medicinal properties. Understanding the equal importance of education in this wholistic recipe, we offer our residents training in the food and wellness, entrepreneurial, and workforce spaces.
Question: What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome as your business developed?
Answer: I will say the main obstacle has been capital. Both financial and human capital. As of now, as a small/micro business, access to capital and contract opportunities have been a challenge. Once this financial capital is won, the small/micro business owner can stop bootstrapping and stop having to multitask…being the cook, the bottle washer, comptroller, and every other duty the business needs to operate. With a healthy amount of financial capital infusion, the business can effectively recruit human capital that is the staff of local and deserving resident talent.
Question: What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a business in Ward 8?
Answer: The advice that I will give to anyone who wants to start a business is to make sure that it’s a part of your purpose. That can be measured by your innate abilities, passions and life experiences. Then couple that with prayer/meditation, dedication, education, capital and a good team. Also, starting in THE GREAT WARD 8 is the best place to start and leave your legacy.
Stay tuned as the market is growing:
- Visit www.TheFreshFoodFactory.com
- Follow on: Instagram (@thefreshfoodfactory) and Facebook (The Fresh Food Factory and Food Hub)
- Donations are accepted at The Fresh Food Market located at 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC 20020, or CashApp: $fffmarket.
- All donations can be used as a tax write off by forwarding to their non-profit partner, UNIFI which is a 501 (c)3 charitable organization that is part of the DC1Fund
DC's Summer Restaurant Week 2020 is Serving Up Something for Everyone
It’s that foodie favorite time of year – Summer Restaurant Week (August 17-30), presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). This year’s promotion – extended by an additional week, offers a variety of options such as brunch, lunch, dinner, and a new to-go program with pricing ranging from $22.00 for a multi-course lunch or brunch to $35.00 or $55.00 for a three-course dinner. Several restaurants are also offering specially priced family-style to-go meals at price points to fit a variety of budgets and tastes for curbside pickup.
A beloved bi-annual winter and summer tradition in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, Restaurant Week offers a myriad of tasting opportunities for novice and seasoned restaurant enthusiasts alike. To support the struggling restaurant industry given the global pandemic, RAMW presenting sponsors Events DC and JBG SMITH are covering the cost of participating to ensure that area restaurants can participate without monetary burden.
“As this unprecedented worldwide health crisis is drastically affecting all of us across the District of Columbia, Events DC is proud to do what we can to support our local restaurants,” said Greg O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “We recognize the vital importance of this sector to our local economy and appreciate its resilience during these tough times.”
Visit the Restaurant Week website at www.rwdmv.com to view participating restaurant menus and make reservations.
Community Spotlight: Celebrating Ward 8’s Own Shoot Hoops Not Bullets!
To continue shining a spotlight on the local heroes in the great Ward 8, we sat down with Marc Williams, Founder of Shoot Hoops Not Bullets (a violence prevention and diversion program that utilizes basketball to teach sportsmanship and comradery) to discuss the newly created: Breaking the Cycle Bike Challenge, an innovative program which provides youth living in neighborhoods throughout Ward 8 an opportunity to engage in fitness, fellowship and fun during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each week Marc and his team give the youth participants rigorous bike riding challenges resulting in cool prizes and giveaways. Through this program, Marc hopes to provide meaningful and enjoyable experiences for youth to escape their neighborhoods, while also improving or enhancing their physical health. When we asked Williams what has been one of the most rewarding moments throughout the program, he said,
“It has been a joy showing the kids different environments beyond their neighborhoods. Recently, we were riding on a trail near Indian Head Highway and one of the kids asked if we were in North Carolina. That was pretty funny!”
Read the full interview with Marc Williams about this impactful program below. For more information on this program, please contact Marc Williams at (202) 378-8799.
Question: Why did you create this program?
Answer: The current pandemic has forced us all to change our plans and daily life activities. I received calls from mothers, telling me that their kids needed to get out of the house and get active. This was a challenge because of COVID-19, and the requirements around social distancing. I thought biking would be a great way to engage youth and get them active.
Question: What did it take to get started?
Answer: We received bikes from the DC Metropolitan Police Department and ANC 8D02 Commissioner Olivia Henderson. We also received donations from residents of the community to help offset the costs of renting bikes through the Bikeshare program. We are also able to provide meals for children. We wholeheartedly appreciate the donations.
Question: How often do you meet with the youth participants to ride?
Answer: We meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings with a different bike challenge each week. The starting point is the Bald Eagle Recreation center and ride to different locations throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Question: About how many kids participate in the program?
Answer: The number of kids vary each week depending on the temperature and how many bikes we can rent from the Bikeshare program. Typically, we have 8-12 kids that participate. We have had 18 at the max. We’ve also had moms join in our challenges.
Question: What keeps the kids engaged?
Answer: We provide new and exciting challenges for the kids each week. The challenges are timed, and if the kids meet the time for a given challenge, they will win a prize or money.
Question: Since starting the program what changes have made or plan to make?
Answer: We want to incorporate financial literacy into the program, since the kids are winning money as part of the challenges. We thought it would beneficial to offer lessons about the importance of saving and spending and how to develop good money habits at an early age.
Question: Have you seen any changes in the program’s participants?
Answer: We have seen them develop physically, especially for the kids that ride with us consistently. And, seeing the kids overall progress and improvement in biking. We typically begin our rides behind the Job Corp building leading to the Harbor—the hill is steep. In the beginning the kids couldn’t make it to the bottom of Job Corp let alone that hill, but now everyone can tackle it with ease.
Question: What has been one of your most rewarding moments?
Answer: It has been a joy showing the kids different environments beyond their neighborhoods. Recently, we were riding on a trail near Indian Head Highway and one of the kids asked if we were in North Carolina. That was pretty funny!
National Black Business Month
National Black Business Month, in its 14th annual celebration, highlights the importance of black-owned businesses, and their local and national economic impact. Check out our partners at Destination DC’s guide on where to find Black chefs and Black-owned restaurants and bars in DC here and check out our list of other black-owned restaurants here.
A Parent’s Guide to Distance Learning
As summer quickly comes to an end, many K-12 students are already kicking off the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning in response to continued concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Setting up a quiet, clutter-free workspace that is comfortable for your child is only the first step in establishing an effective “home school.”
Additionally, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that parents:
- Stay in touch with your child’s school.
- Create a flexible schedule and routine for learning at home.
- Consider the needs and adjustments required for your child’s age group.
- Look for ways to make learning fun!
Speaking of fun – for a plethora of free student activity printables such as themed puzzles, posters, crafts, and educational tools for various grades, check out the offerings at Really Good Stuff. Additionally, here are a few survival tips from commonsense.org for parents and caregivers navigating these uncharted waters.
Introduce learners to a world of new experiences by exploring resources and activities from Reading Rockets – a guide from the National Education Association (NEA). With this one-stop resource where educators find the best ideas, materials, and tips for distance learning, find out what families can do to help ensure that children keep gaining knowledge even when schools are closed.
These resources and your participation contribute to your child having an A+ school year!
Visit DCPS to learn about District of Columbia Public Schools digital learning and how to support your child’s use of online platforms such as Canvas, Teams, and Clever.
Park Up DC
Use promo code EVENTSDCSUMMER for a $5 discount!
Don’t miss your chance to attend a Park Up DC drive-in movie experience!
Use promo code EVENTSDCSUMMER to get $5 Dollars OFF for the rest of August!
Movies recently added to the Park Up DC lineup include:
- The Last Dragon
- Ghostbusters 2
- The Addams Family
- Jurassic World
- The Lion King
- Knives Out