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Contact Us

info@dcurbangreens.org 

 

3779 Ely Place Southeast
Washington, DC, 20019

703-785-7902

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Blog

FUN IN THE SUN

Avery Snipes

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." -- Audrey Hepburn

DC UrbanGreens has truly enjoyed all the life that comes with summer days. Here's a little recap of all we've done this summer (click to the right to view!)

  • Ran an urban farmer training program with Ward 8 residents
  • Welcomed two new urban farmers (from our urban farming training program) to our team
  • Hosted the Summer Youth Employment Program at our farm
  • Operate two farm stands
  • Established a new CSA
  • Hosted multiple farm to school field trips & volunteer days
  • Distributed over 1,000 pounds of produce for FREE to Ward 8 organizations
  • Grown over 3,000pounds of produce
  • Succeeded in raising money for our FUND-A-FENCE campaign 

We can say that our farm is booming with life!

Another addition to our urban farm in Fort Dupont has been the presence of groundhogs and opossums! Argh! The groundhog definitely hogs his share of kale, collards, and squash. Both garden pests have chewed up hundreds of pounds of food that should have been going to our food desert neighbors. However, due to overwhelming support, we were able to raise over $3,000 to FUND-A-FENCE and install a heavy-duty fence surrounding the perimeter of our urban farm. This outpouring of support has touched our hearts, we can not thank everyone enough! 

Despite the garden pests, we are growing more produce than we ever have. We have grown over 3,500 pounds of produce since April 2017 (with only 84 grow beds) This produce is getting out to Ward 7 and 8 food desert residents via our 2 farms stands (Wednesday 3pm-5pm, Saturday 10am-12pm at 3779 Ely Pl SE), our CSA, and our free food bag distribution program.

I think we are most appreciative of the new relationships we are building this summer. We are connecting more and more with community champions, neighborhood residents who have wandered up to our farm, and with community organizations like PSA 702 Community Outreach Committee, ANC's, Ward 7 Health Alliance, Food Justice Collaboratives, and the Food Policy Council. We are proud to say that the majority of our team is from Wards 7 and 8, and each member teaches us invaluable lessons regarding living in SE DC. Not only is our farm & team growing, we are all learning from each other and having a lot of FUN IN THE SUN. 

We are grateful for our fourth growing season. There's so much you can do with underutilized urban space... like growing 3,500pounds of produce with only 84 grow beds! We couldn't have made this many accomplishments without our volunteers, neighborhood support, community leaders' support, or without the supporters who helped us to FUND-A-FENCE. 

Enjoy some of the FUN in the SUN pics below.

Contact annie@dcurbangreens.org if you'd like to be a part of our CSA, inquire about our farm stand or free food bag program, or if you have any general questions!

I'm singing off to go back to having FUN IN THE SUN. We hope you enjoy soaking up the sun & visit our farm some time soon!

Dog Days of Summer

Avery Snipes

A Farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer
— Will Rodgers

What a whirlwind summer 2016 has been! DC UrbanGreens has now expanded to running three (four if you count our satellite location in MD) production farms. This time last year we couldn’t have imagined the expansion we now have.

As we began to gear up for our summer crops, our region was hit with a cold front that killed a lot of our newly planted seedlings. Several farmers in the area had a delayed summer start due to harsh spring temperatures. With new expansion came a lot of surprises and an even larger learning curve.  In one hoop house a few planted beds died due to freeze while in the same house, plants burned up because of the extra sunlight reflecting off the plastic.  Down the street at our newest farm, Fort Stanton, our newly planted beds were drowning in a half a foot of water.  In spring it felt we just couldn’t win. I don’t know if this was due to the mood swings of Mother Nature, poor planning or infrastructure, or the battle of being a perfectionist who is also a farmer. Anyway you look at it spring definitely brought its challenges.

Food production is a balancing act between optimism and anxiety. But being anxious wastes time so around here we favor optimism. Like Will Rogers so truthfully spoke, if we didn’t stay optimistic we wouldn’t farm. Coming off a harsh spring the only thing we could do was start more seeds, prepare the ground (again), and work to rebuild our soaked soil. We remained hopeful that each of our farm sites would flourish. 

 


Hard work pays off! DC UrbanGreens currently has 3 flourishing farms. Our market stands have been thriving with the help of our market manager, Suliman and our newest staff member, Ashleigh. The market has been able to ramp up due to this year's Produce Plus Program in conjunction with the increase of food produced. DC Greens, another local farm has worked alongside local government to enact a program that directly addresses the need for food access. "The Produce Plus Program is a farmers market nutrition incentive program designed to connect DC residents with healthy food. Through the program, DC residents who receive: Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, TANF, SSI Disability, or Senior Grocery Plus can visit any of the District’s 53 farmers markets and automatically get $10 per week to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables on a first come, first served basis." The program has given our farm stand at DC UrbanGreens more awareness and clientele, allowing the food grown in the neighborhood to be served directly to the surrounding residents. 

Summer is not yet over but man are we having fun! Our field staff has been wonderful and dedicated to food production for our neighbors.

There is so much we learned from this summer that will make us even more efficient and productive farmers for this fall and heading into 2017. 

 

Bursting into a new year

Avery Snipes

                                            Doesn't it just feel great to donate! 

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us
— Hal Borland

The scent of evergreen is ever-present as people travel back to their Christmas cozy apartments and homes, to daily routines . With remnants of sugar on their lips, sanguine lists are being made: "The year of change", "Shed 10 lbs.", "Pay off credit card."  2016 is just a few days away and optimism coats the air. However, for a gardener the year doesn't start with January 1. The year "starts" when the first spring planting is nestled in the buttery prepared soil bed. This doesn't mean we don't have exciting goals to be reached or orders to fill. It just means for now, we work to prepare for our "New Year" by scribbling in our planting calendar, maintaining our ever present vegetables in the field, and reflecting on what a great month December was! 

 

 

Did you say work conference?

My mistake, what you described sounded like a vacation! 

Gifts came early this December as the field staff made their way to The Virginia Farm to Table Conference. An adventure it was to bring two city natives along for a very rural weekend! Once in a while it is advantageous to clean off the boots and step into a classroom setting. The field staff was able to glean knowledge from urban activists, long term organic farmers, and agricultural extension agents. We were challenged to enhance our community presence and practical ways to accelerate our production rates. The break out session that hit home for our team was conducted by Karen Washington.  She taught with enthusiasm about Food Justice and how "healthy food is a right for all." Her passion encouraged our team to look into the deeper root of the food injustice in our own community.  The team left the open horizons for the city feeling refreshed and motivated to continue the work of DC UrbanGreens. 

 

 

A peak into the beauty that abounds 

DC UrbanGreens' produce has never been better! Our goal is to make it as a four season farm and by the looks of it, that goal is close to being accomplished! To those of you who have volunteered your time or financially supported us, our gardens wouldn't grow without you! Check out a few of our featured vegetables from this week. From left to right: Spinach, cabbage, mustard, the first true leaf of a carrot. 

 

Amazing process of growth 

Meet Mike! 

Mike Pappas is a retired organic farmer of 20 years and now works with one of our partners, DC Central Kitchen. Mike comes every Tuesday at 11a.m to pick up a bag of freshly harvested gourmet lettuce mix.  He then prepares the lettuce in lunch packs and places it in corner stores;  this is apart of their program called "The Healthy Corners Program." We look forward to our Tuesday time with Mike not only because he is an avenue for our food to get into the community but also because he has a lot of farming experience *cough, cough*  he gets asked a lot of questions *cough, cough*.  We are thankful for the partnership with DC Central Kitchen and the wisdom from Mike! 

These tiny seeds transform into the beautiful lettuce you see on the right! These seeds produce food to feed those in need. WOW! 

                                 It is never a bad time to click the donate button :)