Food & Drink

Broccoli City Wants to Make the Environment Cool Again

Broccoli City is known for its music fest, but the group's main mission is community outreach to tackle environmental issues

You might recognize the name Broccoli City as an annual music and culture festival popular in D.C. for its incredible lineup. But you might not know that the festival's main mission is driving millennials to tackle environmental issues.

Broccoli City isn't just about the festival. Co-founder Darryl Perkins has also developed an app called CHIP-N, which encourages people to volunteer for local environmental outreach programs and earn points toward gift cards and music festival tickets.

The app's purpose aligns with the festival's: "getting youth active, getting their hands dirty," Perkins said, in hopes of making them care more about the environment.

As part of the festival's mission, the organizers also partner with Green Scheme, an organization designed to provide environmental education to urban populations. Green Scheme brings children to "learning gardens" to teach them gardening techniques, the business of food production and the impact of food on health.

"You can't make a mistake in this garden," said Ronnie Webb, founder and executive director of Green Scheme. "We don't get mad if a kid plants the cabbage too close to the lettuce. As long as you see it develop you can make a more informed decision about what you eat."

Part of Broccoli City's mission statement is to promote environmental sustainability and renewable energy, but their ideas to help slow the impact of climate change don't stop there.

"One of the big things we can do to help the planet is to go a day without meat ... or maybe even [just] a meal without meat," Perkins said. "It's something small, but if enough people do it, it makes a huge difference."

The organizers know that it will to take much more than themselves to see real environmental impact, so they're trying to mobilize millennials in particular to make changes for future generations.

"We're all looking forward to the future and taking care of our kids, our kids' kids, and we have to take care of our little blue planet but it starts with us," Perkins said.

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