Interview with Let’sGrowDC’s Chris Washburn

Chris Washburn, owner and founder of Let’sGrowDC—and sponsor of the DC State Fair Best Bud Contest—recently caught up with DC State Fair board members to talk about his background, business, and the organic urban gardening revolution taking place in DC today.

Q: In a few words, what is Let’sGrowDC and how can it help District residents?
A: Let’sGrowDC provides affordable gardening resources and supplies—and also offers gardening classes. The classes offered are for everyone, including first time gardeners and advanced hydroponic gardeners. We also provide individual consulting and design to help bring our clients gardening ideas to life. Whether they are growing in or around their own home, or building out a large commercial garden, we have the tools and knowledge to design and construct the garden while ensuring that the garden environment is as efficient and cost effective as possible.

Q: Specifically, what kind of services and products does Let’sGrowDC provide to District residents?
A: Let’sGrowDC provides gardening classes; design services for indoor, outdoor, rooftop, residential, commercial, and industrial spaces; conducts feasibility studies; offers wholesale fulfillment; sale of retail supplies; and installation services at home or for commercial spaces.

Q: How is Let’sGrowDC different from other urban gardening consultants in DC?
Let’sGrowDC combines both retail indoor and outdoor garden supply with education, design, and consultation. The shop primarily focuses on supporting local indoor gardeners, while outside the shop we have a more familiar landscaping model tweaked to fit our urban environment. We also provide feasibility, consultation, design, and fulfillment for large commercial installations by providing support from staffing and operating commercial gardens.

Q: What’s your background and experience with gardening?
A: I grew up on a farm in Great Falls Virginia, where I was first introduced to organic gardening. In 1999, in Eugene, Oregon, I first began hydroponics and indoor gardening. I spent a decade working at various medicinal marijuana grow operations throughout the state, including my own personal indoor garden, which produced everything from cannabis to tomatoes.

Q: What’s your most notable experience as one of DC’s urban gardening consultants?
A: What I love the most about working in the District is the sense of community and camaraderie among experienced gardeners and I enjoy meeting first time gardeners. The city is prime for urban gardening and as it continues gain popularity so does the need for education about growing techniques, which should come from local experienced gardeners sharing their knowledge throughout the community.

Q: What’s your inspiration for starting Let’sGrowDC?
A: People have been farming for more than100,000 years, yet in only the past 50 years we have given up the practice of self-reliant farming in favor of more specialized lifestyles, thus requiring our food and produce to be purchased from stores. Specifically in urban settings, there is a general lack of active farms and home gardens, as well as gardening knowledge. It is Let’sGrowDC’s goal to help spread gardening knowledge throughout the city, and to help potential gardeners reach their goals. I personally began gardening indoors with hydroponics in the late 1990s, and from day one it changed my life. I think we all have a gene inside of us, which encourages us to cultivate. Once you do begin to cultivate your garden, it feels great. It feels like you’re living a happier, healthier life.

Visit Let’sGrowDC at 1111 10th st SE, near the navy yard metro station, and see for yourself what makes Let’sGrowDC stand out from other DC-based indoor urban gardening centers.

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