Christopher Bradshaw is the visionary mind behind Dreaming Out Loud's community-based food system, which serves D.C.'s food insecure communities and gave away over 300,000 meals during the pandemic.
Christopher Bradshaw went from helping his Uncle Walt grow and give away vegetables as a child in his hometown of Morristown, Tenn., to founding Dreaming Out Loud. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit creates economic opportunities and equitable community-based food systems for low-income communities. What started as a youth development program in 2008 expanded to address underlying systemic financial and food access disparities. In the nation's capital, where Bradshaw attended Howard University, more than 75 percent of the city's food deserts are predominantly Black Wards 6, 7, and 8. DOL started a two-acre farm, community gardens, and farmers' markets to provide fresh, healthy food to those areas. Their ecosystem includes DREAM (DOL's Ready for Entrepreneurship Accelerator Model) program for startups, AyaUplift workforce development, and the Black Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce subscription, which saw enrollment increase from 150 to 1,200 during the pandemic. Since 2017, Bradshaw has advocated for racial, economic, and food justice by serving on the DC Food Policy Council. He was recognized by Food Tank's 20 Leaders Under 40 Who Are Shaping the Future of Our Food System, the Opportunity Finance Network's Justice Grant, and Eating Well's list of American Food Heroes. He also received Georgetown University's John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award in 2021.