Dreaming Out Loud Co-Locates with DC Central Kitchen at new Klein Center for Jobs and Justice
Chandler and Joey. Bert and Ernie. Balki and Larry. Living together can bring out the best in two people – or in our case, two organizations.
Three decades ago, DC Central Kitchen was an upstart nonprofit with an inspiring and innovative vision for turning the traditional soup kitchen on its head. In our third year of existence, we got a call from an established organization, the Community for Creative Non-Violence, asking if we were interested in moving our fledgling operation into the kitchen of their shelter facility in downtown DC. That offer changed our trajectory, providing much-needed physical space and a highly visible platform for our continued growth and advocacy.
Today, we are thrilled to pay that offer forward and deepen our years-long collaboration with another inspiring and innovative organization, Dreaming Out Loud. A dynamic Black-led food justice social enterprise founded by Chris Bradshaw, Dreaming Out Loud has spent 15 years building powerful solutions to the painfully evident food access disparities facing our community while boldly pushing nonprofits, philanthropists, and government agencies to move beyond the ‘access’ paradigm and lean into difficult but needed conversations about racial and environmental justice. Together, we have successfully advocated for local food policy changes, helped institute and build the DC Food Policy Council, provided community-centered emergency relief through the depths of the pandemic, and created new market opportunities for Black and Latino farmers.
Our core values are deeply aligned, and increasingly so are our programs. If you add up everything DC Central Kitchen does with food – from farm-to-table meal preparation, last-mile delivery, wholesale distribution, and culinary job training – there are still a few things we don’t do. We don’t grow food, build farmer capacity, or train entrepreneurs to launch and scale food businesses. Dreaming Out Loud specializes in precisely those critical, complementary areas.
In our new Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, Dreaming Out Loud and participants in their food business accelerator program will have access to our training and kitchen spaces. In addition to providing this program with larger and more purposeful space, our partnership will help connect more DCCK students and alumni to entrepreneurship. At the same time, DCCK will connect these local entrepreneurs with our sales and distribution channels as our social enterprise cafes and foodservice contracts grow and increasingly invest in our regional food economy. Dreaming Out Loud staff will also have office and desk space in our facility with access to our conference, meeting, and event space as they grow their impact and local profile. DCCK is now offering a subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to support healthy eating among our staff, all with produce grown and aggregated through Dreaming Out Loud’s farmer network. Together, we hope to create improved market access for disadvantaged farmers and entrepreneurs throughout our region while using those wealth-building opportunities to simultaneously shift power and mindsets about how our food system can and should work.
Collective impact doesn’t happen by accident. It takes intentionality, resources, and trust. And the more we work alongside one another, the more ways we will discover to collaborate and support one another’s missions. We’re excited about this next chapter, and we encourage you to visit www.dreamingoutloud.org to learn more about their impact and support their continued growth.