7/22/14

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


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. 





7/17/14

Meet our Farm Camp 2014 Counselors

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 Fabis
What 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.


7/2/14

Fashionable Foodie! Meet Mobile Market Staff Member Shanelle Williams!



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.

6/16/14

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

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.

6/4/14

Meet Anna, our Mobile Market Fellow from Tufts University!

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.

4/25/14

Meet Farmer Lauren!


Say howdy to Lauren Young,  Arcadia's new  farm manager! While Farm Director Stephen Corrigan works on Arcadia's second production farm (more on that in a future post) Lauren has tackled our headquarters farm at Woodlawn. She comes to Arcadia from the USDA's organic research program and will be doing some cool stuff in our fields. An animal lover (see above), we anticipate her reign to usher in a new era of peace and cooperation with our resident groundhogs and squirrels.

What most excites you about joining Arcadia?

Several things excite me about joining Arcadia, but I will limit it to three.  
First, I am very excited to be working with and learning from (in no particular order): Stephen, Morgan, Ben, Pam, Matt, JuJu, Janet, and all of the very enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers.  

Second, I am excited about drawing on my past experiences to help further Arcadia's mission.

Third, I think Arcadia's commitment and approach to food and cooking education is very exciting and unique.  Not only does Arcadia grow, source, and transport food to people that need it, they are also committed to ensuring that the food will be enjoyed through cooking education for adults and farm camp for children.          

What have you done in the past that's prepared you for this work?

I have been involved with sustainable agriculture research in one way or another for about ten years.  I have degrees in Environmental Science and Ecology.

My high school had an Agriculture and Horticulture program and we even had a "Bring Your Tractor to School Day."  Understanding where food comes from and the hard work that goes into it was very intuitive for my community and me.  It was not until college, when I took classes in Environmental Science and Biology, that I realized how disconnected people can be from their food system.  I found it amazing that folks could be concerned about their environment and what lives there yet know so little about the land use that comprises about half of the land area of the US, agriculture.

If you were a vegetable, what would you be? 
Coffee is actually a fruit, but I think I would be coffee because I am usually well caffeinated.  

Which season has the best produce, and why?
I like all of the seasons.  I cannot pick one.  I love spring asparagus; tomatoes and cantaloupe in the summer; apples and squash in the fall; and red cabbage and citrus in the winter. I like the challenge of having a lot of something around and then figuring out the ways I am going to use it. By the time I have had enough of it, something else has come along.  

4/21/14

Meet Janet: Park Ranger turned Mobile Market Operator

We're excited to be expanding our Mobile Market team this year to include Janet Hofman.  She'll be helping to increase our capacity to ten weekly market stops per week. She's a great addition to the team, with a wide range of experiences. 

What most excites you about joining Arcadia?
I am most excited about meeting new people and teaching them about the variety of food that is grown locally, right in our own region.

What have you done in the past that's prepared you for this work?
When I was a Park Ranger, my main job was to develop and present a variety of programs to our visitors, educating them about our resources and, more importantly, hoping to inspire them to appreciate and care for our environment.

I think my passion for food and the farm-to-table process began when I became a vegetarian and, for the first time, was really aware of what my food was and where it came from. That passion has grown over the years while working in various restaurants, a retail food market, taking culinary classes, and traveling. I'm pretty sure my cooking has improved during these journeys as well!

If you were a vegetable, what would you be? 
I would like to be a watermelon radish because it is vibrant and spicy.

Which season has the best produce, and why?
Although I enjoy being creative with root veggies in the winter, I am always longing for more fruit and delicious tomatoes!  So, I'll have to say summer.  As a kid, I always looked forward to going up north in Michigan to pick wild blueberries.