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Local Food. For the People, By the People.
Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

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Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:24
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All we need is a tractor!

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 15:04
We've got the land. We've got the farm trainers.
We've got the veterans. Now all we need... 
is a tractor.  
There’s something special happening at Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn. Twelve military veterans, some fresh from combat, are training to become farmers in Arcadia's Veteran Farmer Program. Some grew up on farms. Others are seeking to create a new life, doing work that feels good and contributes to the health of the land and our people.
These 12 veterans served our country proudly. Now they want to serve again – as farmers growing nutritious food, for all of us.   
The Veteran Farmer Program is a multilayered, hands-on educational program that prepares military veterans for new careers in agriculture. The VFP trains veterans through two programs – the Veteran Farm Fellowship and Veteran Farmer Reserve Program – on land that George Washington cultivated when he retired from the Army after the Revolutionary War.


How You Can HelpThe veterans in the VFP have almost everything they need to succeed in agriculture – the ability to plan, adapt, and manage crises; the ability to rise to a physical challenge; and work until the task is complete. Veterans are entrepreneurial, independent, self-reliant, and leaders. But what they do need is agricultural equipment to make their training program complete, so when they leave Arcadia they will be skilled and ready for farms of their own. We're raising $20,000 to purchase training equipment and tools for the Veteran Farmer Program. The equipment includes a tractor, farming implements for use with the tractor, farm tools, and other supplies. The Veteran Farmers will learn how to safely use and maintain the tractor and equipment that goes with it. Any additional funds raised will be used to purchase other equipment, tools, and training supplies for the Veteran Farmer Program.    Please help these dedicated veterans by contributing to the equipment fund today. Then come out to the farm to meet them in person!If you’re interested in helping to fundraise for the Veteran Farmer Program, please contact Matt Mulder at Matt@Arcadiafood.org.To learn more, visit the Veteran Farmer Program page on our website

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Wed, 04/13/2016 - 22:12


We've got the land. We've got the farm trainers. We've got the veterans. Now all we need... 


is a tractor. 
There’s something special happening at Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn. Twelve military veterans, some fresh from combat, are training to become farmers in Arcadia's Veteran Farmer Program. Some grew up on farms. Others are seeking to create a new life, doing work that feels good and contributes to the health of the land and our people.These 12 veterans served our country proudly. Now they want to serve again – as farmers growing nutritious food, for all of us.   The Veteran Farmer Program is a multilayered, hands-on educational program that prepares military veterans for new careers in agriculture. The VFP trains veterans through two programs – the Veteran Farm Fellowship and Veteran Farmer Reserve Program – on land that George Washington cultivated when he retired from the Army after the Revolutionary War.How You Can HelpThe veterans in the VFP have almost everything they need to succeed in agriculture – the ability to plan, adapt, and manage crises; the ability to rise to a physical challenge; and work until the task is complete. Veterans are entrepreneurial, independent, self-reliant, and leaders. But what they do need is agricultural equipment to make their training program complete, so when they leave Arcadia they will be skilled and ready for farms of their own. We're raising $20,000 to purchase training equipment and tools for the Veteran Farmer Program. The equipment includes a tractor, farming implements for use with the tractor, farm tools, and other supplies. The Veteran Farmers will learn how to safely use and maintain the tractor and equipment that goes with it. Any additional funds raised will be used to purchase other equipment, tools, and training supplies for the Veteran Farmer Program.    Please help these dedicated veterans by contributing to the equipment fund today. Then come out to the farm to meet them in person!If you’re interested in helping to fundraise for the Veteran Farmer Program, please contact Matt Mulder at Matt@Arcadiafood.org.To learn more, visit the Veteran Farmer Program page on our website

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 16:35
Remember that song from The Carol Burnett Show?  She'd come out at show's end in her beautiful gown, designed by Bob Mackie, and sing that to the audience.  I feel like humming that song now, as my last day after four years with Arcadia draws near.  At times, Market days were just like Carol's comic skits--so hilarious that I laughed until I cried at my coworkers' and customers' silliness.  Other times were bittersweet, such as listening to seniors' stories of how our presence made such a difference in their lives.  "I wouldn't be eating this well if it weren't for you in our neighborhood," one told me.

I loved driving the big green bus, talking to folks, doing cooking demonstrations and turning people on to new vegetables. I wrote a cookbook, perfected my Kale Salad Show, spoke on panels regarding food insecurity, and joined advisory groups for WIC and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Best of all, I spread my message that eating healthy needn't be expensive, time consuming nor difficult.

Such satisfaction I've gotten from customers telling me that they loved the recipes.  Best of all, one regular told me "you've totally changed the way that I feed my baby!  I thought that I had to buy baby food in jars, but now I know that I can prepare it myself!"

I have been sort of the "Market Momma" to our customers.  I've held an elderly woman as she cried about her mother's recent death and occupied children with stories and drawing so that their harried moms can shop in peace.  I've reassured exhausted parents of newborns that life gets easier as the child grows older, been a source of comfort for distressed college students, and looked after my "Arcadia kids" (my coworkers), making sure that they are eating and staying hydrated. Now it's time to move on and combine this love of culinary education with my love of women and babies.  I will be a birth and postpartum doula.  The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before during and just after birth.  I am focusing on postpartum care, emphasizing the importance of good nutrition as a foundation of healthy parenting, self-care and breastfeeding.  In other words, I will be a Professional Nana!

Four years ago at the Rooting DC conference, I first laid eyes on Benjamin Bartley, the brains behind the Mobile Market big green bus and asked about the position as Market Assistant.  Ironically, nearly four years to the day, I decided that it was time to let go.  It's been a magical and, at times, a literally bumpy ride.  Arcadia, thanks for the memories and thanks for letting me be an integral part of your growth.  I'll never forget ya.  "Seems we just got started, and before you know it, comes the time we have to say 'so long'."

Meet the Next Generation of Farmers: The Arcadia Veteran Farmer Reserve!

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:03









From left to right: Bruce, Tom, Evans, Tor, Laron, Erica, Training Director Anita, Allison,Clifton,Kat and Chuck
Arcadia is delighted to introduce you to our first class of Veteran Farmer Reservists! These marvelous people are training on Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn-Pope-Leighey throughout the year for new careers in agriculture. They came to us from all four services -- the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy -- and all stages of their careers -- retired, reserve, and transitioning out of active duty. 
We spent last weekend with them knee deep in snow on our farm and hunkering down over spreadsheets and crop plans inside Woodlawn mansion. It is the first of 12 intensive weekend workshops where our trainees will get a deep dive into the world of sustainable farming -- from starting seeds and cultivation and irrigation to running a successful farm business. Right now they are doing their homework: figuring out the budget and crop plan for a hypothetical 50-member CSA that does two drops a week. Most weekends include visits to farms in the region to investigate the full range of business models open to them, and to hear from farmers -- many veterans themselves -- about the challenges and rewards of the work.

Training Director Anita Adalja discusses plans for the expanded farm fields at Woodlawn-Pope-Leighy, two more acres of sustainably grown veggies this season and 18 more to play with as we grow! 
   Our veteran Reservists will also join us for two weeks of on-farm work during the growing season to get a feel for the demanding day-to-day rhythms of farming. We're more than sure they are up to it. As one veteran explained: "I was in Fallujah for six months in 130 degree heat wearing 50 lbs of armor. I think I can manage."Laron, Erica, Clifton, Bruce, Evans on the farm. JuJu snuck in, too.
The weekend was full of great discussion, high spirits, and the git-er-done attitude that characterizes so many who have served in the military. Plus, they cleaned our farm tools. Oh, and they also vacuumed the Underwood Room in which we convened. And they did the dishes.  Anita responds to a question from Alliy in the Underwood Room. It is named after Oscar Underwood, a Woodlawn resident whom John F. Kennedy wrote about in "Profiles in Courage."
"House of Cards"' Frank Underwood is named after Oscar, but he is a very different kind of cat.
The Veteran Reserve program is a mix of hands-on farm work, classroom training, and farm visits. Here, Gary Matteson of the Farm Credit Council and Farmer Veteran Coalition talks about farm finances.  In no particular order, please say hello to the first Arcadia Veteran Farmer Reservists! 

Tor Peery has been in Virginia for the last four years, but originally hails from Upstate New York. He is a Marine Corps Infantry Officer, with over 8 years of active duty service. During that time he has deployed as an Assistant UN Food Distribution Position Security Commander with Battalion Landing Team - 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines (3/2), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit to Haiti in support of (ISO) Operation Restore Hope; as a Team Commander with the Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group to the Republic of Georgia ISO of the Georgia Deployment Program-International Security Assistance Force; as 3rd Platoon Commander, Kilo Company, 3/2 to Musa Qala, Helmand Province, Afghanistan ISO Operation Enduring Freedom; and was selected to be an Instructor at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. He wants to learn how to farm because it’s in his blood. He grew up on a non-functional farm surrounded by nothing but rich fields filled with everything from corn to cattle. When he was younger he worked on neighbors’ farms and I hated it; he dreamt of the day when he could one day get out of his small town and see the rest of the world. But as he saw more of the world he began to miss the country life. He quickly realized it wasn’t the farming he hated; it was that he farmed someone else’s land for their benefit and had to follow their rules and practices, even if he himself didn’t believe in them. The road to recovery following his combat related injuries has been long and difficult, but the saving grace has been his wife and son. He wants to give them the life that they deserve, one that he didn’t have when he was young. It was for that reason that he and his wife decided to move back to her family’s farm in Upstate NY. In addition to his family, it is the farm that has given him hope; it reinvigorates and rejuvenates him in more ways than can ever be described; more than any type of treatment ever could or probably ever will. He is also learning how to be a bladesmith, artistic blacksmith and play the baritone ukulele (because it takes a big man to play a little guitar!).


 Allison Mulligan (she prefers Alliy) grew up in Dayton, Ohio after moving there from the New York/New Jersey area. A navy veteran, was stationed in sunny San Diego, California for 4 years. Spent her tour on an Amphibious Assault Ship (USS Pearl Harbor LSD-52) and a Guided Missile Destroyer (USS Decatur DDG-73) as a Boatswain's Mate, one of the oldest rates in the navy. All of her deployments were to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Her favorite memory were being in charge of flight operations. After her discharge, Alliy went on to attend culinary school where she gained a better appreciation for food. What attracted her to this program is the opportunity to be trained in a job that not many people do any more or recognize the importance of it. Alliy's favorite veggie? BEETS! She loves the fact that they are naturally sweet and very versatile; from pasta, to chips, to even drinks, the possibilities are endless! This girl has a sweet tooth so she does enjoy baking. She also has a smile that can brighten the room!




My name is Evans Kofi Appiah, I am from Alexandria, Virginia, but I originally come from Ghana. I joined the Army about six years ago and I am an honorably discharged US Army Sergeant.  My first duty station was Fort Riley Kansas, where I deployed to Iraq in 2010 for 12 months. My military occupation specialty was a Utility Equipment Repairer, and my goal was to do ten years in the Army. As my long term goal, I also wanted to get a Bachelor’s Degree and buy a house before getting out of the Army. Getting out of the Army after five years was not something I anticipated. My ten- year plan that I had scheduled was affected when I got hurt. I started thinking of what benefits I could use to adjust to civilian life when I finally separated. I was not sure if my skills could translate into a civilian job, and I was deeply concerned about how my family needs would be met without a new skill. In my search for a new skill, a manager at Veterans Curation Program informed me about Arcadia, and I jumped at this opportunity to learn a new skill and restore my dream of being my own boss. I had a keen interest in farming as a kid and I loved to plant my favorite vegetable, tomatoes, because it formed the base of every food I liked. As an adult, my ultimate goal is to feed the world and retire on a farm.
Chuck Christianson is Maryland born and raised. He has devoted the last 35 years to service in the United States Army on both active duty and reserve status. His active duty career has been almost entirely within Special Operations. He has supervised and led military units at home and abroad on multiple real world missions during peacetime and wartime. The last 5 years of service has been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda . This is where Chuck excelled with some of the most unique challenges of his career. Serving as a liaison and advocating for the wounded, ill and injured of the Special Operations Community and their families. Building relationships and networks between the patients, medical staff, administrators, charities and commanders in order to serve and achieve the best possible outcome for all. Chuck is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys spending time hiking and biking when away from work. His goal is to transition into sustainable organic community-based farming. Additionally, to include a program for veterans would be the best of both his desire to serve and to farm.

Bruce Salter is a military brat. He was born at the old DeWitt Army hospital on Fort Belvoir; his early years were spent here in Northern Virginia, which he considers home. Bruce is a 22 year veteran of the United States Air Force, both Active Duty and Air National Guard. His assignments included operational and staff tours, both in the United States and abroad. Bruce currently works as a program analyst conducting long-range planning for Air National Guard federal and state missions. An outdoor enthusiast, his hobbies include whitewater kayaking and hiking. Farming appeals to him because of the challenges it presents as well as the rewards, like helping to keep him physically active and outdoors. His favorite vegetable is kale because it is so resilient, easy to grow, and so full of goodness.
Kat Cole was born in Tucson, Arizona and has never spent more than 5 consecutive years in one place. When she joined the Army, her recruiter tried to talk her into becoming a UAV operator, but she insisted that she wanted a job in which she could learn a foreign language and work with people, not machines - and thus ended up a linguist and  interrogator.  Nearing completion of her 5 year initial term of service, an injury  stymied her prospects for career advancement as a soldier so she re-upped as an Army Civilian specializing in Intelligence.  She served with NATO elements in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, followed by 5 years in the Pacific.  She was then drafted to a staff job and is rounding out her career by serving as a liaison officer to another agency.She has no idea exactly why she was called to farming, but believes that after 20 years of serving her country, the next 20 should be spent in service of the land.  This will be her third season volunteering with Arcadia.
Kat doesn't have a favorite fruit or vegetable, but has been known to tear up when she talks about the first organic peach she tasted (at Arcadia) and she loves snacking on warm summer tomatoes straight off the vine.
Erica G. Wright currently resides in Springfield Virginia her husband Ken (also active duty military) and 13 year old daughter Micheala. She also has an 11-year-old son Bradley who resides in New Hampshire with his father. Erica was raised in Farmington New Hampshire and has had a love of nature and animals from a young age. Often times Erica would bring home stray or injured animals. Erica served in the US Army for 6 years as a 68R/ Food Inspection Specialist, For the last 3 years of service she served as the Branch and  later District Training NCO for her command at the rank of SPECIALIST.
 Erica and her husband's dream is to own a farm in Kentucky after he retires from the military. The farm would provide the opportunity to be self sufficient while providing fresh healthy food for the family as well as providing additional income. She likes the Arcadia program because it provides her the opportunity to learn more about farming and get a head start on the dream as her husband finishes his career.Her  favorite vegetable is Zucchini because she make a mean Zucchini Bread!  She also remembers growing up with her mother making breaded fried Zucchini. Her favorite hobby is art of all kinds -- she is generally a crafty person, very hands on when it comes to learning although she learns from various methods. Drawing, Painting often top the list.
Clifton "Tiny" Hoffler is a career U.S. Army veteran who did a tour with his military police unit in Baghdad's Sadr City from '03 to '04. Clifton is in culinary school and plans to open a cafe that sources from its own farm, where he will also teach children to cook and grow food. 

Tom Snowdy is in the US Navy. Tom is currently raising a small flock of broiler chickens in his Maryland backyard (he keeps the rooster in his basement so as not to annoy the neighbors). He  plans to build a 100-acre livestock farm and grow all their feed on his own land.
Laron on the farm last fall. Photo by Tim PetersonLuke McCullock is just back from deployment in Afghanistan and wants his own farm. He also plans to build an aquaponics operation in D.C. 
Laron Murrell –  Laron joined Arcadia full-time in October as our first Veteran Farm Fellow. A two-tour Iraq war veteran, Laron plans to put his family farm in North Carolina back into sustainable vegetable production after he completes his training program with Arcadia. He told the group after a visit home this winter to eastern North Carolina, he saw with new eyes how vital it is for him to go back to raise nutritious food for his community. He has already been approached by a landowner to take over an established farm. We’ll be working with him to develop a business plan to ensure his success, for his own well-being and that of his community. Read more about Laron here
 The Arcadia Veteran Farmer Program is funded in part by generous grants from the USDA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program, Grace Communications Foundation, the Claneil Foundation, the Rumsfeld Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trusts, and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.

Dine Under the Setting Sun! Arcadia's Fall Harvest Farm Dinner is Sept. 20

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 21:29

Arcadia's 2015 Fall Harvest Dinner
Eight Incredible Chefs.
Five Delicious Courses
One Amazing Night.

Join
Chef Will Morris of Vermilion
Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley
Chef Haidar Karoum of Estadio/Proof/Doi Moi
Chef Danny Lee of Mandu
Chef Harper McClure of BRABO
Chef Jesse Miller of Café Saint-Ex/Bar Pilar
Chef Peter Smith of The SovereignandChef Rob Rubba of Hazel

at Woodlawn Mansion for theArcadia 2015 Fall Harvest Dinnerto benefit ourVeteran Farmer Program Date: Sept. 20
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Woodlawn Mansion
Price $175
Please join us to celebrate the launch of our farmer training program for U.S. military veterans! Proceeds form the dinner funds farmer training. Purchase tickets here.

Introducing our Farm Camp Counselors!

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 13:50
Hello, campers and families, we would like you to meet the Farm Camp Counselors and Interns who are making Arcadia Farm Camp 2015 possible. They’re quite a talented and enthusiastic group!


Starting with our passionate Farm Education Director, Morgan Maloney. She leads the farm education programs throughout the year and puts on her “Camp Director” farmer cap for the summer!  Morgan is looking forward to seeing the many returning budding farmers and garden-based chefs faces this summer, as well as those young farm-lovers who are new to the wonders of Farm Camp.
For the past week, our electric team of Counselors (Farmers Leah, Luis, Maggie, Paul, and Stefanie) has spent their days preparing to create a positive and interactive Farm Camp experience for our campers. Our Interns, Ina and Maggie, are delighted to support the work of the Counselors to help make this environment of farming food and fun even more spectacular. 

We’re excited for Farm Campers to explore, play, and discover the farm with our dynamic staff!


Leah Hindel is thrilled to be joining the Arcadia Team as a Farm Camp Counselor this summer! Her passion for the environment formed when she was a camper and her previous experience as a camp counselor has prepared her to teach Farm Campers about food, nature, and sustainability. Originally from Charlotte, NC, Leah just graduated from Kenyon College with a bachelor’s in International Studies and Environmental Studies. Leah devoted her undergraduate studies to learning about issues of food and sustainability on a global level while her free time was spent volunteering on local farms and advocating for local food systems as the leader of a sustainable agriculture-focused student organization. If she were a vegetable, she would be a sweet potato! Leah thinks environmental education plays a huge role in strengthening local food systems and cannot wait to farm, cook, and play with Farm Campers!
Luis Francia grew up in the South Island of New Zealand where he was surrounded by sustainability. This fostered his love of the environment, which has stuck with him to this day. He spent a short time living in Peru and Costa Rica where he was able to learn to confidently speak Spanish through emersion. He is excited to see smiling faces that are eager to learn and have fun at the farm. If he could be any fruit, he would be a kiwifruit, for obvious reasons.

Maggie Bowman-Jones is a recent graduate of University of Virginia. Her minor in Environmental Science, as well as her goal to become the world’s best babysitter, led her to Arcadia Farm, where she plans to help kids understand vegetables and farming! She hopes to come away from the summer having guided campers’ interest in farming, cooking, sustainability, and friendship. If she were a vegetable, she would most certainly be a beet. Not only do they boast epic nutritional value, but their fabulous pigmentation is enough to turn anyone’s head!

Paul Burgess developed an interest in food and food culture while attending VCU for anthropology.   Having witnessed different approaches to food access and cultivation at home, and while doing limited field work abroad, he decided to expand his interests by becoming chef.   Paul would like to learn how to better understand and explain sustainable food and its great potential and also how to effectively cultivate it.   His spirit veggie is an eggplant who wishes he was a tomato.Stefanie Rhodes is a Mississippi Native with a master’s degree in public health from Drexel University. As a graduate student at the Drexel University School of Public Health, she helped develop and implement a food access program in North Philadelphia and conducted qualitative research on community violence and mental health systems.  Stefanie has a passion for health education and is looking forward to utilizing her public health background to educate the Arcadia campers about healthy eating and food exploration. If Stefanie were a vegetable, she would be asparagus.
Ina Enatsu is very excited to contribute to the Farm Camp as an Evaluation Intern! She is passionate about evaluations, and believes that evaluations will help to make the Farm Camp better each year. Originally from Japan, she just graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, with a focus in Nutrition, Global Health and the Environment. Ina has extensive knowledge on Evaluation and Sustainable Agriculture, and has volunteered at Soup kitchens and other nutritional programs. Ina thinks the camp will be a great way for campers to learn from counselors, other campers and the nature! Welcome all!

Maggie Johnston is an Arcadia Farm Camp Intern. On the farm, she will be helping out the counselors as well as the campers. Behind the scenes she will be posting updates on camp activities on social media sites. She is an environmental science student in her senior year at the University of Mary Washington, and is passionate about sustainable agriculture and working with children! In her spare time she enjoys reading, swing dancing, and Irish music.


Beer and Chocolate

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:05
I love my job. I LOVE my job. Yes, it's fabulous bringing fresh, healthy vegetables to the community, teaching folks how to cook a delicious, simple meal, and participating on panels around town. But, the BEST jobs mix business with pleasure, and recently I got to do both in the name of Arcadia.

Now, I love beer. And I love chocolate. But, mix beer AND chocolate?! It never crossed my mind before! However, on January 21st, folks in the know showed me that combining artisan beer and fine chocolate is an overlooked taste treat! As part of Arcadia's series of Master Courses, chocolatier Jane Morris of  J Chocolatier and beer expert Greg Engert of Bluejacket teamed up to provide a guided tasting of 6 chocolates and 6 beers.

Greg introduced each beer, listing its ingredients and the particular way that it had been brewed. We all sniffed our taste glasses appreciatively. Mexican Radio, a sweet stout, was flavored with ancho chili and cinnamon. Aged Burning Bush, brewed with a whole bush of lemon bergamot was delicious with "cedar, herbaceous notes, and less residual sugar." My favorite – Aged Parish Fair, made with fresh tangerines and aged in Sauternes barrels – brought a high note to an otherwise freezing, winter night.

Jane's Guide to Chocolate Tasting showed me that there is another way to eat chocolate besides mindlessly devouring it during a Game of Thrones marathon. Good chocolate – obviously not the stuff I've been eating – should be savored. She instructed us to breathe in the chocolate's aroma, break the piece in two, listen to its "snap", chew it slowly, let the chocolate melt in our mouth, and then taste it again. Wow. Yes, Jane, I see what you mean. Taking my time did make a difference in my enjoyment of each sample. But then again, Jane's chocolates are DIVINE so you want to make each piece last. Valrhona Dulcey White Chocolate was slightly caramel colored due to the cooked milk (ooh, creamy). Dark chocolate was perfect with the little sliver of candied orange peel that it graced. And I have a date with myself to run down to J Chocolatier and purchase a dozen Lavender and Vanilla Bean Truffles. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to stop in at Blue Jacket for a Parish Fair on my way home.

Making groceries by JuJu Harris

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 09:59

Every region has its vernacular. In Jackson, MS, “making groceries” means going grocery shopping.  “Ice potatoes” are white potatoes, “light” bread is white bread. As in the DC area, Jackson residents with lower income have a hard time accessing affordable nutritious food. In these communities, sweet rolls, jugs of corn syrup sweetened “drink” and chips greet customers as they enter the store.  Vegetables, while decently priced, are often over- or under-ripe.  Conversely, the same chain store in the more affluent part of town is more brightly lit, and a fresher, more varied selection of vegetable and fruits are placed prominently at the store’s entrance.  Those with access to transportation shop at Walmart, the nation’s largest acceptor of SNAP benefits.  State and public school employees are paid once a month, so title loans are a common way for people to make ends meet.
About $120 million worth of produce is grown in Mississippi, half of that in sweet potatoes. Yet $8.5 billion is spent on imported food, much of it low quality, processed food. However, 1.3 million acres of fertile farmland lie fallow, while the demand for fresh food far outstrips the supply. Mississippi ranks number one in the nation in hunger and obesity. 1 in 3 Mississippi women will die of heart disease.  While unemployment is approximately 6 percent, the medical field is one of the largest employers in the area, focused mainly on addressing diet-related disease.  
Fortunately, a collaborative of agencies and individuals has formed to address these issues.  LIFT (Locally Invested Food Trade) is committed to providing Jackson residents a true opportunity to earn a living while living a healthy life.  Farmers, landowners, social service agents, restauranteurs, culinary and health educators share ideas that will encompass youth involvement, soil conservation and mentorship.  In the works are a food hub which will coordinate supply to make it economically viable for farmers.  A “food innovation center” will house a grocery store front and food incubator kitchen, and act as a workforce training center in culinary education and hospitality. An onsite clinic, staffed by students in a Culinary Medicine program, will provide nutritional counseling to store customers and real life experience to the students. 
“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. “  This quote, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speak, is the final slide of my Kale Salad Show Tour Power Point.  Those of us who work towards providing our neighbors with improved food access and affordability, gainful employment, and a sustainable, viable economy and environment embody this. That way, folks can be guaranteed that they’ll find fresh, beautiful food when they stop off on their way home from work to “make groceries.”  

How to Buy A Cow -- by JuJu Harris

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 09:19
"If she's big and pretty, ain't nothing sucking on her.  She ain't working.  Folks who don't know cattle come to auction, and they want the biggest, fattest cow they see.  But if she doesn't have a big bag, she hasn't had a baby recently."  So said Will Welles, manager of a 100-acre farm near Jackson, MS.  Raised on a farm where his Daddy still has 80 head of Angus, Will cares for hogs, goats, sheep and cattle.  He also passes his knowledge on to his own sons, ages 6 and 8.  "Every year I give them a pig to raise.  Then they can sell it or slaughter it.  You've got to start them working young to teach them responsibility."  As a 9-year old, Will was injured while roping a bull.  "My gramma told me to leave it be, but I thought I could handle it by myself."  The bull charged the horse, which staggered and fell, entangling Will's arm in the rope.  He extends a strong, brown arm to show me the scar on his wrist.  "I broke all these bones in my hand."
Will also drives to a Louisiana slaughterhouse every other week with a load of animals, a 7-hour trip.  He tunes up the rig every three trips.  "A man needs to be a Renaissance man.  He needs to know carpentry, be a mechanic, dose the animals, and manage everything."  The passion that he feels for his work is evident, as he tenderly lifts a sickly lamb or explains the savings he's made by buying feed directly from corn growers."I've been a firefighter and a paramedic.  I've been to college.  But I always come back to farming."

Praising and Braising by JuJu Harris

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 10:39
I am staying with my friend Monique while I am down here in Jackson.  Sunday morning in this household means worship at the local Catholic church.  Now, as a heathen, I usually ask my Christian friends to send me a list of what they are giving up for Lent, and I will be sure and indulge in that particular form of debauchery during the 40 days of sacrifice.  But, I am down here on my Southern Kale Salad Show Tour, and I am trying to immerse myself in the culture as much as possible. So, there I was today, sitting in the third row listening to the homily, and I started feeling Spirit stirring within me.  I'm not going to call it God, but it was something. In my heathen mind, I interpreted today's message from the perspective of my commitment to social justice and service.  From Corinthians:  "An obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it."  Pastor, wearing jeans and sandals beneath his celebratory garb, said "everyone has a vocation called by God.  Proclaim your faith and bring the good news."  He invoked the common people and heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, "People were compelled to do what they did by inner forces;  They must do what the Creator tells them to do."  I thought, "Yes.  That's why I do what I do."  Years ago I had Cook Days at my home to teach my girlfriends new recipes.  I'd send out an email with the recipe and the ingredient list and my friends would bring their children over and we'd cook all day.  The kids would play outside, the mamas would cook and take home a dish for dinner.  That way, the husbands couldn't say "you spent all day with your girlfriends, and there's nothing to eat."  I introduced them to cilantro as flavoring, to breakfast for supper, to how to tweak meals using different spices. One day I said "I wish I knew something about politics or education.  Then, I could do something positive in the community."  They said "JuJu, you know food!  You know how to teach people to make a feast using simple ingredients."  So I started doing cooking demonstrations around DC, spreading what I call my "gospel of eating well." My philosophy, my "good news,"is that healthy eating needn't be expensive, difficult or time consuming. At one point, we had 9 people in our household.  I spent $400 a month to feed us well.  "Well" meant pots of soup, huge loaves of homemade bread, and dishes of braised cheap cuts of meat and vegetables.  I've had great success teaching in DC, and now I am down here, headed for Alabama and Georgia.  As I head to Mobile tomorrow, the words of the gospel of Mark go with me: "let us go to the nearby village that I may preach there also."  Stay tuned for more from the Southern Kale Salad Show Tour.

Gratitude by JuJu Harris

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 09:59
Flying in over Jackson, MS, I expected to see green fields stretching in all directions, waterways dissecting them.  Mississippi wouldn't have been on my list of places in the first place to visit if my friend from DC didn't live here.  The South was one of those "never go there" places. Sure, I wanted to hear real Delta blues, but the legacy of Jim Crow clouded its allure.  But there I was in the Jackson Municipal Airport in the Medgar Evers Pavilion, reading about his work in the civil rights movement.  Due to his work and that of others like him, I can sit where I want to in a public restaurant, vote, and attend the university of my choice.  Last night I watched the movie Selma, and parts of it were so violent that I had to look away.  Then, I shook myself and reminded myself, "I am where I am because people didn't look away. Even when they were literally beaten down, they still looked forward because they believed in what they were doing." The public knows the names of the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, but it's the regular folks who kept going, one step at a time, supporting those who marched and attended sit-ins.  I go forward, blessing their name and their actions, grateful.

Farm Camp 2015 is where it's at!

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:23
Arcadia Farm Camp is truly magical. It’s a place where kids can watch vegetables grow and creatures flutter. Where they can pull a carrot from the ground or a tomato from the vine, brush the dirt off, and take a bite! Where they can discover nature in its most pristine and true form. Where, with a little nurturing and encouragement, they can explore everything on the farm that interests them.  We are excited to share with you the details of our 2015 program for Arcadia Farm Camp. View full program details here to get dates, camp themes, and registration information. We have a robust FAQs page to address the common questions we receive over the registration period. We invite you to explore them in full!

Registration opens on February 2nd.

Farm Camp 2014 was our best summer yet with a completely full roster of 120 campers over 4 weeks and 26 scholarship campers, more than ever before. Our scholarship campers are from low-income families and receive full scholarships funded by donations from Arcadia supporters. Hear the stories of our 2013 scholarship families in this video. We aim for 30 scholarships this year -- a quarter of our campers!

Our Farm Camp staff, made up of four incredible Farm Camp Counselors and one Farm Education Intern, creates a fun and lively environment which allows Farm Campers to flourish. Ninety percent of Farm Camp parents said that after attending their children understand where food comes from and that food production is part of the natural cycles of the earth.

Here are a few snippets of what Farm Camp Parents from last summer had to say about their child’s experience: “She has a new appreciation for vegetables, which really exceeded our expectations.” – Young Farmers, Farm Camp Parent 2014

“They felt that the knowledge of farming that they gained was their favorite part of camp. From planting to picking to smelling mint and leaves that feel like fur, to finding out about honey being "bee barf" and seed balls.” - Farm Creatures, Farm Camp Parent 2014

“My son gained a deeper appreciation of seasonal foods and really enjoyed the food preparation.” – Seasonal Eaters, Farm Camp Parent 2014

We're making a few changes this year to make Farm Camp even more spectacular. We are again offering round-trip transportation from Old Town Alexandria to Arcadia Farm, and we’re extending the hours for this service. To better accommodate busy parents, drop off will be at 8:00 am and pick up at 4:30 pm. See full details on the website.

Early Bird Registration is discounted for those who sign up by February 23, 2015, and we also offer sibling and multi-week discounts. See our Fees and Discounts page for more details.

Every week of camp includes Farming, Food, and Fun, but each week also has a special theme with activities designed around that farm topic. Our theme weeks were so well loved last summer that we decided to keep them! However, we have made the themes more focused and specific to better suite the curiosities of our campers. They are described in depth on the website. Farm Camp 2014 weekly themes are:
  1. (July 6-10) Young Farmers: for the budding farmer and environmentalist.
  2. (July 13-17): Farm Creatures: for the animal and insect fanatic.
  3. (July 20-24): Seasonal Eaters: for the lover of seasonal cooking and eating,
  4. (July 27-31): Small Chefs: for the rising cook and with an eye for veggies. 

    All Farm Campers learn to tend to the vegetables, care for the chickens, harvest produce right from the farm for making snacks, and enjoy independent play guided by their interests around the farm.               
Come out and see us! Attend our free Farm Camp Open House on Saturday, April 25th  from 1-3pm. Your budding farmers will get to explore Arcadia Farm and all the learning spaces we utilize during Camp. Look for the registration link on our Facebook page soon.

In the meantime, head over to our Farm Camp page and our FAQ page to learn more!

“In addition to the lessons about sustainable food production, we were happily surprised by our campers' growing interest in eating healthy and being a part of making a well-balanced meal at home.” – Farm Camp Parent 2014

Chilly Days = Soup

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:49
I woke up this morning to the sweet sound of rain falling outside.  Hmmm, I thought, the perfect day for making soup!  Butternut, my favorite squash, is plentiful, sweet, and easy to cook.  Here's a lovely, filling soup, delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich and a green salad. Pureeing the soup means you don't have to be fussy with dicing the vegetables. Just get them roughly the same size. 


Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving1 medium yellow onion, diced large1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 - 2 inch squares*2 pears, peeled and diced to 1 inch squares1 pear, peeled, cut in half, core removedSalt and pepper, to tasteA pinch each of cayenne and cumin1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent, 6 minutes. Add squash, diced pear, halved pear, and 4 cups water; season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until squash is soft, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove the whole pear from the pot and dice it.In batches, fill a blender halfway with soup and yogurt. Puree in batches.  Caution: don’t use the blender top while pureeing hot liquids.  Instead, drape a clean cloth over the top while pureeing the vegetables with the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper, cayenne and cumin.  Serve topped with the reserved diced pear.

*If you have a microwave, use it to make peeling the butternut squash easier. Microwave the whole squash for one minute at a time. Between 1 and 3 minutes, you'll find the peel beginning to cook and much easier to separate from the flesh. Be careful -- it will be hot. Let it cool a little first. -- JuJu Harris

Lazy Day Dinner

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 09:47

I got up this morning, knowing that it was gonna be another humid scorcher.  I gave myself thumbs up to making an easy dinner so I'd be out of the kitchen and free to goof off around the house as much as possible.  Out came the can opener, knife, cutting board and a few ingredients, and in 10 minutes I was checking my Facebook while eating a bowl of granola, yogurt and peaches.  Dinner was in the fridge, ready for the hungry hoard to descend upon it later, and I was ready for a day of puttering.  This recipe is a great picnic or potluck dish, and gets even better as it sits.  Be sure to use fresh basil.  Serve with mozarella cheese slices and ciabatta. -- JuJu Harris 

Black Bean, Corn and Red Onion Salad

4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained2 cups cooked corn, rinsed and drained (fresh or canned)1 red onion, finely chopped3 large tomatoes, diced or 2 cups whole cherry tomatoes1 cup basil leaves, rinsed and coarsely choppedsalt and pepper, to taste¼ fresh or pickled jalapeno, finely minced½ cup olive or canola oil¼ - ½ cup balsamic or rice vinegar
Gently stir all ingredients in a serving bowl.  Chill or serve at room temperature.  Serves 8-12.


Join the Arcadia Farm Team… many hands making light work!

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 09:11

By Katie Wolffe, Farm Team Member and author of www.theharvestparty.com

One of the best things about Arcadia Farm is that there is always something to do. Tomatoes need to be tied up and things need to be planted, picked or pruned. There is always weeding. At Arcadia there is only one part-time farmer to tackle all these tasks. 

Enter the Farm Team, at 22 members and counting! 

BEFORE 

This group of dedicated volunteers has elected to spend (most of) their Sunday evenings doing farm tasks*. I joined a little over a month ago. We meet for about three hours and then gather for an impromptu potluck of garden snacks. We receive instruction from Arcadia's farmer, Peggy, but there isn't professional farmer in the team. There is, however, a fair amount gardening knowledge to be shared. This last week included a mechanic, a restaurant manager, a nurse, a climate policy worker, an emergency preparedness worker, and a former tutor to the children of the Jordanian royal family. While it's not the typical DC style networking, the conversation sure is good. (Truth be told, at least 2 new jobs have been procured by Farm Team members directly from their networking at the farm… in less than a month!) 
* Farm Team members also volunteer Mondays and Wednesdays in the morning and work alongside farmer Peggy -- great if you are interested in learning more about growing food, as you've got the source at your finger tips -- and some drop in when they can on their own to weed, water, or do whatever needs doing. *



AFTER! 
Most of our farm team volunteers started out at a Saturday volunteer day and then expressed interest in doing something more. That's how I started. While I am not quite ambitious enough to want to have a farm that MAKES money for me, one day I would love to have a larger piece of land that I can coax a years worth of food out of for a small family. My time at Arcadia allows me to learn farming skills and tricks that come from real honest to goodness farmers. 
The Sunday night farm team is always looking for a few more hands. Contact FarmTeam@arcadiafood.org if you want to join the fun. 


Trellising tomatoes, potluck snacks… and hanging out in the gazebo till night falls on the farm. 




Meet our Farm Camp 2014 Counselors

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 23:00
We’d like to you meet the amazing counselors who are making Arcadia’s 2014 Farm Camp possible. They’re quite a talented and enthusiastic group!
For the past two weeks, Brittany, Jeyna, Liz and Rosario have spent 9-10 hours a day preparing and creating a positive and interactive food camp experience for Arcadia’s campers.  We're so grateful for all of their hard work!
Read on to virtually meet each of them!

Brittany Owen  

What experiences have prepared you for this position?I have worked with children from a variety of backgrounds and developmental needs as an attendant, tutor, volunteer, and sister. My family also has quite the suburban farming project, with chickens, goats, rabbits, and garden crops.  As a child, my favorite things were animals, being outside, and learning – and they still are! I’m excited to share that enthusiasm with young learners.
What are you hoping to learn as a Farm Education Intern at Arcadia?I want to explore first-hand the different kind of learning styles among children, especially in a space that allows them to engage with the environment on their own level. I am interested in how a successful nonprofit works on the ground level.  I also wouldn’t mind picking up a few tricks about sustainability to bring back to my family’s plot!
If you were a vegetable, what would you be?Mustard – it has a surprising amount of zing to it!



Jeyna Diallo
What experiences have prepared you for this position?
I was a counselor at Woodlawn Stables Summer Camp for a season, which prepared me for educating kids in an outdoor camp setting. Also, I'm an Environmental Studies major so I've learned a lot about sustainable agriculture practices and how important they are for both humans and the planet. Growing vegetables in my own garden and working to get my brother and sister excited about healthy eating has also prepared me for this job.
What are you hoping to learn as a Farm Camp Counselor at Arcadia?Throughout the four weeks of camp, I'm hoping to learn more about putting sustainable agriculture methods into practice and the best strategies to get kids excited about sustainable farming, cooking, and eating.
If you were a vegetable, what would you be?I would be a cucumber because then I could wrap my tendrils around a trellis and climb super high! 
Liz FabisWhat experiences have prepared you for this position?I first became interested in sustainable farming while earning my bachelor's degree in environmental studies. Visiting idyllic farmsteads during field trips spurred me to take a summer job at an organic farm in Ohio, where I quickly learned the dirty, grueling reality of working the land. More recently, I've been volunteering as an field trip facilitator at Common Good City Farm, a Washington, DC-based farm with a very similar mission to Arcadia.
What are you hoping to learn as a Farm Education Intern at Arcadia?I'm excited to share my passion for gardening, farming, and healthy foods with children. In return, observing how children interact and learn from nature is fascinating to me as an educator. I am currently pursuing a Master's in Landscape Design from George Washington University, so I'm hoping that this position will yield insights into how to create landscapes that not only beautiful and functional, but also serve as learning tools to foster environmental knowledge and appreciation.
If you were a vegetable, what would you be?I'd have to say a tomato. Like tomatoes, I absolutely can't tolerate the cold, and as with many recipes involving tomatoes, I am often quite cheesy.

Rosario DeFlores
What experiences have prepared me for this position? Some of the experiences I would like to share are that, I have been working in Early Childhood for more than 16 years.  And believe that, children should have different opportunities to explore nature in a safe, nurturing environment.  Also, doing activities with hands on experiences not only help them to develop their fine motor skills but also their cognitive skills.  By allowing children explore, asking them open ended questions it gives them opportunities to learn new information.  Also, being a mother is another real nurturing experience to add.

What I am hoping to learn as a Farm Education Intern at Arcadia?I am hoping to learn the different opportunities Arcadia has to offer for families with children who are eager to learn.  And also the new varieties of activities that are planned for the children during this camp experience.  I am looking forward to follow the lead of my Camp Director with the support of other educators as well as Camp Counselors and to learn from their experiences.

If I was a vegetable, I would be …!!Lettuce!! Because there are different kinds of lettuce, some are colorful, soft to eat and it is added in the majority of main meals. Lettuce is also easy to grow and does not require at lot of space to produce.

Fashionable Foodie! Meet Mobile Market Staff Member Shanelle Williams!

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 11:33


We met Shanelle through the DC Summer Youth Employment Program and were immediately impressed. This fashion design student has it all: business savvy, customer service, a big heart and yeah… she's read "The Omnivore's Dilemma," too! 
What are you most excited about for DC Summer Youth Employment Program placement at Arcadia?I am most excited to be working with Arcadia this summer for the hands on experience of working in marketing and retail. I want to start my own clothing company, and I feel that all forms of retail will be a great learning opportunity.  Also I am looking forward to working with the public, networking, and meeting new people.

What experiences have prepared you for this position?
I have volunteered with my church and Widow’s Pantry to help feed the homeless at Franklin Square downtown. I also volunteer with my neighborhood Community Garden and I helped to plant trees with Casey Trees.  These experiences have all given me a chance to work with the public and help others.

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
If I were a vegetable, I would be corn. Corn is one of our oldest vegetables and it has so many uses. As said in The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, “corn is in everything”. Also corn is bright and not boring. It can change into many forms, and it can be where you least expect it.

Which season has the best produce, and why?

Summer has the best produce because there are so many delicious fruits that appear during this season. I feel that in the summer fruits are at their peak of perfection with taste, color and texture. Also as an added bonus my birthday is in the summer.

(Re)Meet Jeremy, Arcadia's newest addition to the Mobile Market team

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 14:51
We're excited to welcome back Jeremy, who was an Arcadia Farm intern last season.  Starting in July, he'll be behind the wheel of our second Mobile Market vehicle.  



What are you most excited about for this position (and returning to Arcadia)?

I'm looking forward to closing the loop on the farm-to-table process; I spent much of last summer interning for Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn, but didn't really get to see where the food went. I'm excited to finally see the connection between the hard work of growing food and how the Mobile Market works to increase food security in low income neighborhoods. I'm also excited about all of the learning opportunities that meeting and working with such a diverse group of customers and staff with afford.

What experiences have prepared you for this position?
 
After spending a few seasons working on small farms in Virginia and North Carolina, I started interning with Stephen at Arcadia Farm and learning about sustainable farming practices. More recently, I have been working for a DC-based online grocery store that works in a similar way to Arcadia, by way of connecting local farmers and consumers through alternate forms of food distribution.

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

Asparagus; it takes several seasons to mature, but only last a few weeks each season. When I think of a food best enjoyed seasonally and locally, I think of asparagus.

Which season has the best produce, and why?

Summer, but more specifically, stone fruit season. There is nothing better than sweet peach juice running down your chin.

Meet Anna, our Mobile Market Fellow from Tufts University!

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 11:50
We are pleased to be hosting our fifth fellow from Tufts University this summer.  Anna will be joining the team for the next ten weeks, helping to operate our soon-to-be 18 weekly Mobile Market stops and conducting program evaluation. 


What are you most excited about for this Fellowship?

I am most excited about sharing my passion for healthy food with the communities the Mobile Market serves.  I can’t wait to learn more about the neighborhoods, and to see how the Mobile Market can most effectively serve them.

What experiences have prepared you for this position?

I grew up in town in Maine densely populated with farms and agriculture. Farming is in my blood! As a community health major at Tufts University, I feel I have a solid academic understanding of disparities in health outcomes due to unequal access to food. I am excited to put my classroom-based knowledge into action! Additionally, I work to alleviate some of the barriers to food access in Boston’s neighborhoods, including helping to improve transportation, and increasing knowledge about healthy cooking. I hope to bring these experiences with me to Arcadia.

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

I would be rainbow chard, because I’m resilient, hearty, and colorful!

Which season has the best produce, and why?

Spring! Fiddleheads and snap peas and rhubarb! All fleeting, so you have to act fast.

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