Founder — Rise & Root Farm
Karen Washington has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.
Washington has been a resident of the Bronx for over 26 years, and has since 1985 been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, she worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launch a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Washington is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the city. She is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.