by Arielle Gerstein, CAUSES Research AssociateOn July 11, 2015, CAUSES participated in the annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival held at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The festival had an estimated 6,000 visitors who came out to see the beautiful gardens and enjoy food, music and other activities. The festival spotlights these free activities:
- A spectacular display of lotus and water lilies in full bloom
- Gardening workshops & traditional Asian & African dancing performances
- Hands-on activities including face painting, lotus tea tasting, and painting demonstrations
- Educational and cultural exhibitors
Yao Afantchao, an extension agent with the CAUSES Center for Urban Agriculture, showcased ethnic crops. He explained that staff at the Muirkirk Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland, are currently experimenting with growing these crops in an urban environment that has little space. These types of crops are important to the many different ethnic groups located in the DC metro area and are staples in their diets. In addition, it is a good learning opportunity for residents who are not familiar with these crops.
The Center for Sustainable Development also displayed a technique in urban agriculture known as aquaponics or growing food without soil. Visitors learned how to run this system at home as an alternative to needing lots of garden space.
CAUSES staff had a great time interacting with community members and explaining programming taking place in the landgrant centers.