Wow….that is the safest thing for me to say at this juncture.  I was so happy a few months ago when I heard, read and blogged that Bright Farms was going to build the areas biggest indoor greenhouse and farm, in partnership with a large well known grocery store, which would provide opportunities and jobs for the residents in Ward 8.  I do not know why I assumed that some basic functions had been performed to make such an announcement in the media ……little things like DUE DILIGENCE…or better yet a SITE SURVEY.

I am going to keep this simple.  When one starts a garden, one of the basic functions is to first of all walk the site.  Familiarize yourself with the grounds that you will be growing on.  Envision your design and imagine the possibilities. As an avid gardener, Mother and Grandmother, I am adamant about testing the soil…a simple basic soil test. You can send the soil sample to Virginia Tech or other soil testing labs for a small fee to let you know what the possibilities  are as well as the safety of the soil for food crops or other things you might want to grow.  If you are going to have an outdoor farm on a new site as well as a new facility and you are planning on breaking ground and be up and running in the spring of any year…I find it hard to believe that no one knew this travesty before now.  What about BASIC Due Diligence???

Why would it have EVER been okay to grow food on a site that obviously has a rusting bus on it or that was a dumping ground – legally or illegally – without testing and remediation of the soil???  18 feet of the unknown (could be asphalt or worse), insulation and roofing materials and rusting petroleum containers.  I have to ask – THIS WAS OKAY TO GROW FOOD TO SELL IN WARD 8 OR ANY COMMUNITY????  I actually find this quite appalling.  I have to seriously rethink where I shop for my local produce if this was thought to be acceptable. THANK GOD FOR LOCAL FARMERS AND FARMERS MARKETS AND THIS IS WHY THEY EXIST.  No one should ever think that it is okay to grow food crops on any ground that has not been tested to do so.  Even if you build it up…ROOTS GO DOWN, WATER RISES AND CONTAMINANTS SOMETIMES REMAIN IN THE SOIL FOR YEARS AND YEARS.  Just think, after years and years of saying that Roundup had no residual issues in the soil…now we are constantly hearing otherwise.

There is a lot of blame to share for this travesty from the Big Corporations to the local political officials and partnerships, who were not too honest about the land and it’s issues as well as the false promises to the residents of Ward 8 and surrounding communities, to the people of Ward 8 who did not raise their voices boldly and loudly to get answers to the questions that the Commissioners were asking.  Someone could have used their cell phone cameras to bring this travesty to light prior to NOW.  COMMUNITY HAS A VOICE, THE VOTE AND THE POWER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE WELL SERVED.

I am saddened that even NOW we don’t know the power of our voice to bring light to the improprieties that continually happen to the under served communities in our area.  What would be worse is if nothing is done and these dangerous chemicals and environmental hazards – as well as the continued dumping – are not dealt with immediately, so that further seepage into the ground and groundwater can be stopped.

The final insult is that the alternative is not another location in DC…..but in Virginia. Hmmmm …..perhaps this why the crowd funding campaign stopped and there was a stillness in the air whenever this project was mentioned…it seems that someone perhaps knew something prior to this exposure in the media. At some point people must wonder if this was ever really meant to be……….at this point, I think not.

Such a sad reflection of the many entities that have had their hand in the pot on this project……$700K could have been better utilized in so many ways for the greater good.

The light is not so bright as this is just NOT the way to do business….ANYWHERE!!!

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