Skip to Content

Rooting DC

Rooting DC is a FREE, all-day urban gardening forum that provides education about urban agriculture and food systems, cultivates health and protection of the environment, and builds community.

About Rooting DC

It was a privilege to host Rooting DC 2020 at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Deanwood, NE, Washington DC!

People travel from all over the city, and region, to attend Rooting DC. For that reason, it’s been our mission to identify new hosting sites around the city.

The specific site demands of the event, in addition to our commitment to keep Rooting DC free to attendees, have made it challenging to secure a new location. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with Ron Brown and the excellent facility and staff.

This event is made possible through individual donations and DC Greens’ support. Consider making a gift today!

Rooting DC

The program includes dozens of interactive workshops, cooking and food preservation demonstrations, and panel discussions. The event hosts 60+ green businesses and non-profits from throughout the region at an Information Fair.

One of the most promising areas of urban gardening is hydroponics. It is a very efficient and convenient way to grow fresh vegetables in small spaces. If you are interested in this topic, be sure to take a look at the selection of the best hydroponic systems.

The first Rooting DC was held in 2008 with the goal of building relationships and sharing resources among gardeners and gardening organizations in DC. There was a lot going on with urban agriculture in the city, but little connection in the community. With a grassroots outreach effort we hoped 25 community members would attend for skill sharing and fellowship, but we honestly did not know what to expect.

Rooting DC


In what Washington Post garden writer, Adrian Higgins, later referred to as a “watershed moment in the DC gardening community”, 125 people lined up to join us! The following year 600 people came, then 800, then 1,000! Rooting DC celebrated it’s 10th anniversary in 2017 with more than 1,200 attendees, representing every Ward in Washington, DC, and surrounding VA and MD communities.

Over the past ten years we’ve offered 450 workshops, mobilized 350 volunteers, and unified voices of residents, farmers, schools, government agencies, the food service industry, and non-profit organizations in a shared goal of protecting and strengthening our regional food system, and empowering individual engagement in food production.


Rooting DC


Who should attend this event?

This event is for any resident of Washington, DC, and the surrounding region, interested in gardening, farming, the local food system, food justice and policy work, and environmental advocacy.

Do I need to register?

Walk-ins are welcome at the event but we encourage you to register ahead of time. Due to facility capacity and an interest in preventing over-crowding, we do have limitations on attendance.

When does registration open?

Pre-registration for the 2020 event is closed. Walk-ins will be welcome the day of the event on a first come, first served basis until we reach capacity.

How do I get updates about the event?

Visit the bottom of our homepage to subscribe to our mailing list.

How much does Rooting DC cost and what is included in the price?
There are no registration or attendance fees for Rooting DC, however we do encourage a donation of $10/person. There are number of costs to hosting a free event and donations help off-set those costs to keep the event running. Attendees are responsible the costs for their parking and meals.

What is the schedule for the event?

You can find the 2020 schedule of workshops on the Schedule page.

Are children invited?

Absolutely. Guardians must accompany children at all times but we love to have future environmentalist and activists at Rooting DC. We work to incorporate kid-friendly workshops into the schedule and identify them in the event program. While workshops are generally geared toward adult skill-sets, this is a family-friendly event.

Does Rooting DC offer childcare?

Children are welcome to attend. However, we do not offer onsite childcare services. Guardians must accompany their children at all times during the event.

Can attendees pre-register for specific workshops ahead of time?

In an effort to maintain equal access for attendees, we do not offer pre-registration options for individual workshops. All workshops are first-come, first-served the day of the event until rooms reach capacity.

How can attendees get to and from the event?

Ron Brown College Preparatory High School (CPHS) is located at 4800 Meade St NE, Washington, DC 20019. The front entrance is off Meade St NE. The school is two blocks from the Deanwood Metro (orange line) and is also within walking distance of the U4, U7, R12, V14, and W4 MetroBus lines. There is a Capital Bikeshare docking station within one block of the school and many bike racks available on school grounds. Limited street parking is available and we encourage attendees to use public transportation to get to the event.

What are the parking options?

There is limited street parking available around Ron Brown CPHS and we encourage attendees to use public transportation to get to the event.

Will there be internet access at the event?

With over 1300 attendees each year, internet access and cell phone service at Rooting DC may be limited due to the number of individuals overloading the servers. Cell phone service may also be limited inside the building due to its construction.

Will there be food for sale at the event?

The Rooting DC Planning Team works to recruit vendors to sell food at Rooting DC each year. Zeke’s Coffee sells coffee and snacks in the information fair, located in the school’s cafeteria. Various food vendors with lunch options will also set up shop outside of the Rooting DC building between 11:00am – 2:00pm.

How can attendees help reduce my environmental impact while at the event?

Please help Rooting DC reduce waste! Remember to bring a reusable bottle or mug to refill at the event water stations and don’t forget a reusable shopping bag to carry all the treasures you pick up during the event.

I’d like to volunteer! Where can I sign up?

Visit our volunteer information page to learn more. There are lots of different options throughout the day!

How can I help get the word out about this event?

Help us spread the word far and wide about this event! Share our Facebook page or visit us on Instagram @rootingDC.

How can I become a presenter/ tabler at future Rooting DC conferences?

Visit the Event Info page for information on becoming a presenter or tabler.

Where can I find copies of handouts and presentations?

2019 conference presentations are located here. 2020 presentations will be posted in March, 2020.

As an attendee, what should I expect and shouldn’t I expect from this event?
This is a community event designed to meet people at their various levels of entry into food systems work. You can expect to have an amazing networking experience with the premier businesses and organizations working to strengthen our regional and national food system. You will receive exposure to skills and knowledge from our variety of educational workshops.

In recent years, we’ve hosted the event at Wilson High School because of the expansive space it offers us while working within the budgetary constraints of hosting a free event. We have also worked to identify other locations around the city to host this gathering because we know our attendees come from all over the city and region. We are excited to host Rooting DC 2020 in NE Washington DC at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School!

Over our thirteen years, Rooting DC has grown to draw around 1300 attendees, annually. We offer many workshops throughout the day; workshop attendance is first-come-first-serve. We schedule highly attended workshops more than once during the day to alleviate room crowding. We also use volunteer support to manage workshop attendance and secure space for alter-abled persons.

During workshops, we respectfully ask attendees to prioritize available seats for alter-abled, pregnant, and elderly attendees. We are unfortunately unable to procure additional seating in classrooms, as DCPS teachers generously offer their teaching space for our use and have high expectations of leaving the room in its original order. If you find you are uncomfortable with the popularity of your workshop and/or the seating arrangements, we encourage you to seek out one of the many other choices offered during that timeframe.

One of the beautiful things about Rooting DC is that it is volunteer run and there is no cost to attend. All presenters and tablers donate their time to be at Rooting DC. Each year, we receive positive feedback from attendees who adore this event and ask that it be multiple days because it’s so hard to get to every workshop of interest. We agree! However, It’s important to the hosting organizations to keep this event free to attendees and there are many costs associated with hosting the event, including space rental fees, program printing, staffing, etc. In addition, all presenters and tablers donate their time to be at Rooting DC. So, in order to preserve the generous community spirit of the event, Rooting DC will remain a one-day event.

Will Rooting DC be held in different venues looking ahead?

DCPS High Schools have historically been the most affordable and appropriately sized venues to host Rooting DC year after year. We especially appreciate using the many classrooms (and sinks!) to host workshops in each year. When considering new venues, the Rooting DC planning team must consider that the event is volunteer run and there is no cost to attend, which limits the event’s resources to access increasingly expensive venue spaces in the DMV for a 1,300 person event. The Rooting DC planning team will continue to seek partnership and/or sponsorship opportunities to secure larger and more accessible venues.

Co-founder and coordinator: Katie Rehwaldt is part of