4/20/16

4/14/16

All we need is a tractor!

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 Help
The 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

3/25/16

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

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'."

2/4/16

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









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 a
re 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, great food from our Culinary Educator JuJu Harris, 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 Unified Response; 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 currently resides in Greenbelt, Maryland originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Clifton is a retired Staff Sergeant who has served in the United States Army for over 21 years in the Military Police Corps. Clifton’s combat tours include Desert Storm/Shield and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Arcadia’s program is one part of his goal to become an urban farm-to-table chef. Stratford University Culinary Arts Degree will complete the mission within the next 18 months.

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.



Luke McCullock is a recent transplant to DC, originally from Vermont. He was an Army engineer for 9 years with deployments in 2010 and 2014, the later wrapping up just in time to make it into the Veteran Farmer Program 2016 class. He is interested in pursuing urban aquaponic gardening and hoping to expand from there. Both of his parents grew up on farms in New England and are a little skeptical of city farming, but they are coming around. He studied Sociology at the University of Mary Washington, and the helicopter flight program at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Lt. Cdr. Chris Papavasiliou grew up in Bowie, MD where he graduated from Bowie High School. Following high school, he attended Villanova University on an NROTC Scholarship, where he received a B.A. in Human Services in 2002.
 Chris is a Navy Intelligence Officer and has been in the Navy for 13 years on both active duty and in a reserve status.  Chris has served in Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the senior Intelligence Officer for Task-Force 134.
 He also served as the Tactical Analysis Team Chief for three years at the United States Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas where he worked closely with Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT).  He supported the counter illicit trafficking mission
In Nassau for three years and subsequently served at the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Counter Narcotics Division for one year.
 In March 2015, Chris took an opportunity with United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and currently serves as the Chief of Joint Operations, where he leads a team of analysts focused on counter-terrorism, military capabilities, and targeting efforts.  He is also a critical liaison to USAFRICOM’s Joint Reserve Intelligence Support Element. 
 Chris is also enrolled in a Master of Tourism Administration Program at George Washington University where his focus is sustainable destination management.
 Chris married his wife, Gail, in September 2013. They have two sons, Dylan (13 years old) and Atlas (5 months old).
 Chris is interested in farming as he and Gail are planning to develop, own, and operate a small eco-resort on Andros Island in The Bahamas.  Their vision is to have a co-located farm adjacent to the resort that will feed the guests and intimately expose them to the farm-to-table concept. 




Laron on the farm last fall. Photo by Tim Peterson
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.

9/8/15

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


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 CafĂ© Saint-Ex/Bar Pilar
Chef Peter Smith of The Sovereign
and
Chef Rob Rubba of Hazel

at Woodlawn Mansion for the
Arcadia 2015 Fall Harvest Dinner
to benefit our
Veteran 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.


7/3/15

Introducing our Farm Camp Counselors!

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.



2/19/15

Beer and Chocolate

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.