Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make the Bronx a better place to live. As a community gardener, Karen has worked with neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens, as an advocate, she has stood up and spoken out for garden protection and preservation, as a City Farms Trainer, she has helped people all over the city grow more food and build healthier neighborhoods, and as a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden grown and farm fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Her motto is: you can’t say you’ve made it, if the people around you are still struggling, I am because we are.
In addition to her passion for neighborhood revitalization, Ms. Washington is actively involved with the organizations, Why Hunger and Just Food. Both of these civic food organizations work tirelessly to provide New York City communities with healthy foods. Always willing to lend a helping hand, Ms. Washington also serves as a Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on growing food and food justice to community gardeners all over the city.
Along with a litany of community endeavors, Ms. Washington works professionally as a Physical Therapist, demonstrating that it is possible to have a successful career and be dedicated to community service. Ms. Washington has been an inspiration for the residents of New York City and those who seek to bring healthy food to people throughout the country, especially in low-income or urban areas.
Karen attended NYC public schools, graduated from Hunter College with honors in physical therapy in 1977 with BS degree magna cum laude, and received her Masters degree from NYU in occupational biomechanics and ergonomics in 1981. She is the mother of two children: Kendra, a principal at a NYC public school; and Bryant, an inspector for the department of health and a singer, and has two grandchildren, Julian and Justice. (Just Food, NY State Senate, Gustavo Rivera)