Karen Washington has been a community activist since 1985, striving to make New York City a better place to live.
As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Washington has worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As a member of La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to her neighbors.
Washington serves as board chair of Just Food, a New York City-based nonprofit that advocates for food justice and sustainable agriculture. She is also a Just Food trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice to community gardeners all over the city.
She serves on the board of Why Hunger and is the former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to protect and preserve community gardens.
Washington co- founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings and has been key to Farm School NYC, which trains New York City residents in urban agriculture.
In 2012, Ebony voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country. In 2014, she received the James Beard Leadership Award.
Washington is co-owner and farmer at Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York.