The Giving Garden Brings Fresh Food to Wards 7 and 8

Washington Nationals logoAs a not-for-profit healthcare company, the health of the communities we serve is always our top priority. That is why CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) supports Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) through the Giving Garden, a 6,000-square-foot rooftop garden at Nationals Park that yields approximately 12 tons of produce annually.

Neighborhoods with the least access to fresh food have higher rates of diet-related diseases. These same neighborhoods also tend to have the city’s lowest income levels and the highest percentage of Black residents. This is true for Washington, D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8, where walking two miles or taking a 40-minute bus ride to the nearest grocery store is routine for residents. Shopping for healthy, affordable food is a considerable challenge for people with a disability or without access to a personal vehicle.

Produce from the Giving Garden is harvested and distributed through BBAR’s Community Raised Inspired and Sourced Produce (C.R.I.S.P.) Community Sourced Agriculture (CSA) program and Saturday Farmer’s Market, which runs from May through November. More than 400 residents from Wards 7 and 8 pay an income-based fee and receive access to fruits, vegetables, herbs and other value-added products like honey.

CareFirst believes everyone deserves an equal opportunity to lead healthy lives by increasing access to affordable, high-quality care by advancing health equity in our communities. This means we are committed to addressing the socio-economic factors that impact our well-being, such as food insecurity. We are proud to support BBAR through the Giving Garden and partner with The Nationals, who provided a space for the Giving Garden to grow and hired Cultivate the City to maintain it.

The Giving Garden Harvest to Date

We have harvested 166 pounds of food to date.

Giving Garden Harvest
CropVarietyAmount Harvested (in pounds)
  5/20/226/9/226/16/226/30/227/7/22Total Harvested
Basil Thai 0.3 0.6 0.9
Basil Tulsi 0.4 0.4
Basil African Blue 0.4 0.4
Basil Mixed 3.4 32.9 36.3
Catnip 0.2 0.1 0.3
Chard Bright Lights 1.4 0.4 0.7 1.5
Chilies Jalapeno 0.6 0.6
Chilies Mixed 1.7 1.7
Chives Onion 2.7 0.4 2.8 5.9
Kale Mixed 14 37.3 13.8 13.4 78.5
Kale Red Russian 5.2 5.2
Lavender 0.8 0.8
Lemongrass 0.2 0.2
Lettuce Mixed 9 9
Malabar 0.6 0.8 1.4
Mint Mixed 4.9 1.3 6.2
Parsley 0.3 1.8 1.2 3.3
Purslane 0.2 0.2
Sorrell Red Veined 5.2 0.4 5.6
Strawberries 5.3 5.3
Thyme 0.2 0.2 0.4
Tomatoes Sungold 0.4 0.4