Arts Desk

Broccoli City Wants You to Eat Organic Food and Listen to Local Hip-Hop

D.C. residents with disposable income have no problem eating well. The city's poor and working class residents, on the other hand, fall behind the curve when it comes to "green," healthy living. Los Angeles-based "organic lifestyle" group Broccoli City wants to change that with what it's calling the "first urban Earth Day celebration."

Sunday, the "green"-focused group hosts Broccoli City Festival, an all-day outdoor concert and healthy-living fair at the Fairgrounds on Half Street SE. "We celebrate Earth Day every year and, this being Broccoli City's [fifth] anniversary, we wanted to do something memorable," writes co-founder Marcus Allen in an email. "We decided that in order for people to recognize our efforts, we'd have to create an event that would ultimately yield change. Music—being the universal communicator—was the platform we chose to best convey our message." For the event, Allen and his co-organizers are roping in art displays, food trucks, games, and the obligatory yoga session. (Alcohol will also be served—healthfulness be damned. Though mixed drinks can be made with organic juices.)

The music lineup might be Broccoli City's strongest asset, with a mix of local and big out-of-town acts: Headliners include Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T, singer JMSN, and D.C. area native DJ Tittsworth, alongside local performers Phil Ade, Black Alley, Kingpen Slim, Dale and the ZDubs, SZA, Locke Kaushal, and Misun. The event will be hosted by New York "it girl" Va$htie and D.C.’s own Rock Creek Social Club. Allen says both Va$htie and the promotion group—organizers of the now-dead hip-hop party Good Life Tuesdays—encapsulate the festival’s spirit. "Vashtie has been a vegan since the age of 14," he writes. "She is a great example of a person focused on living healthy without it compromising her element of cool." That is, if you thought veganism and coolness were ever diametrically opposed.

Hosting the event in D.C. was a simple decision for Broccoli City: The city is both a center of change (sometimes) and a deeply segregated town, with an enormous gap between a relatively healthy middle class and an underclass that struggles with obesity, diabetes, and limited access to affordable, healthy foods. "We are here to echo the message of sustainable living throughout the entire city,” Allen writes.

Broccoli City Fest takes place at noon on Sunday, April 21. Tickets available at Eventbrite. Reduced price tickets available at washingtoncitypaper.com for a limited time.

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