DC Gardeners Oral History Project

Sharing stories about growing among generations.

The goal of this project was to gather oral history interviews with DC resident gardeners, in order to collect the stories of growing food in our city. The project was funded by a generous grant from the DC Humanities Council.

Listen to gardening history

NFI recorded over 35 stories about growing, harvesting, and cooking from long-time growers in the DC area. See a map of the participants and listen to their full stories!

Dennis Chestnut

“What we primarily did was eat very fresh. What was prepared for a meal you consumed.” “My mother did a lot of canning and that was part of preparing for the time when you didn’t have fresh produce growing”
—Dennis Chestnut


"[Hilton Community Garden]...that used to be an impoundment lot where the city would bring old cars, trucks, etc., that had been involved in crimes and they stored them as evidence..." —Ken LePoer

“[Hilton Community Garden]…that used to be an impoundment lot where the city would bring old cars, trucks, etc., that had been involved in crimes and they stored them as evidence…”
—Ken LePoer

"I always remember my mother having something growing" —Fannie Hamilton

“I always remember my mother having something growing”
—Fannie Hamilton


This project was sponsored by the DC Humanities Council



“Funds for the DC Community Heritage Project are provided by a partnership of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC and the DC Historic Preservation Office, which supports people who want to tell stories of their neighborhoods and communities by providing information, training and financial resources. This DC Community Heritage Project has been also funded in part by the US Department of the Interior, the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund grant funds, administered by the DC Historic Preservation Office and by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

This program was supported through a Historic Preservation Fund grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. Funds were used for the identification, protection, and/or rehabilitation of historic properties and cultural resources in the District of Columbia. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or disability in its federally assisted programs. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240.”

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