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Crowd Sourcing: Keepin’ It Real with Real Time Farms

by Borderstan.com — July 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm 0

From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.

Question: Have you ever seen a sad person at a farmers’ market? Probably not, right? A leisurely weekend morning walk through Dupont’s stands of gorgeous produce and fresh-baked pastries is hardly the type of thing to bring up tears or frustrations. It’s an amazing experience to chat with the person who actually grew that perfect tomato you’re taking home, or to even learn that sweet potato greens exist (a very good thing, I assure you!). In Borderstan, we are very lucky to have multiple farmers’ markets available within walking distance, including the Dupont Farmers Market (Sundays) and the 14 and U Farmers Market (Saturdays).

As the local food movement takes off across the country, increasing research argues that where our food comes from, its environmental effects, and how food is processed affects not only our health, but also our economic well-being. Recently, NPR’s The Salt released this sobering analysis about the impact of meat consumption.

Real Time Farms a Nationwide Food Guide

In 2010, Real Time Farms, a crowd-sourced, nationwide food guide, opened its doors and website. Using data collected by citizens, Real Time Farms maps where, when, and what products are available from farmers, farmers’ markets, food artisans, and restaurants, allowing users to make informed choices about their food consumption.

To learn why Real Time Farms began, check this TED talk delivered by Co-Founder Cara Rosaen. Locally find out what DC Food Warrior Rachel Lupberger is doing this summer.

"Rachel Lupberger"

Rachel Lupberger from Real Time Farms. (Namita Koppa)

Recently, I chatted with Rachel Lupberger, Real Time Farms’ DC Food Warrior. Charged with mapping the DC food landscape, Rachel will spend her summer interviewing, photographing, and filming members of the District’s local food system. Inspired by her childhood in the suburbs of DC and her undergraduate studies at Lewis & Clark College, she has been surprised to learn what the food system is like here.

Speaking of a recent visit to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market, Rachel said, “Finding out the closest farms are an hour, two hours, three hours away…there’s not really easy access to fresh produce in lower-income communities… I still think about it being a more [of a] middle class thing.”

As Rachel moves through her Food Warrior internship this summer, she has graciously agreed to keep us posted on her findings. To read more about her adventures, check out her Food Warrior webpage.

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