Arcadia Veteran Farmer Reserve Program 2017: We are accepting applications for our new class!

Are you a veteran looking for your next act? 
Not so sure cubicle life is for you? 
Want a new way of life that is meaningful, challenging, and rewarding? 
Ever thought about farming? 

The nation needs you. We are facing a slow-moving crisis in agriculture. The USDA estimates that over the next 20 years we are going to need 700,000 new farmers to replace those aging out of the profession. 

Farming is one of the hardest, most important jobs in the civilian economy. 

It requires mental and physical toughness. Grit. Discipline. Mental agility. The ability to plan, adapt, and overcome obstacles.

It's not just a career -- it's a calling. 

Sound familiar? 

No experience, no land, and not much time? No problem. 

Apply to join Arcadia's 2017 Veteran Farmer Reserve! 


We meet one weekend a month at Arcadia Farm, 14 miles south of Washington, D.C., just outside the gates of Fort Belvoir, for intensive cultivation and business training to prepare you for a new career in agriculture. You'll get expert instruction from working farmers, piles of interesting, vetted farming books, hands-on training on our sustainable vegetable farm just outside of Washington, D.C. Heck, we'll even teach you to drive a tractor (and give you plenty of opportunities to run it)!  

You will work alongside other veteran farm trainees who speak your language and share your experiences, drive, and discipline, on land that George Washington himself cultivated. And you'll visit, work on, and tour successful farms in the region to learn from people who are actually making a living in agriculture. Big farms, small, veggie and livestock; hydroponic greenhouses and tiny urban farms -- we do it all. Plus accounting, legal, and marketing training to make sure that you not only know how to grow food but how to have a successful business operation as well.

You will get real-life experience in farming, and you will be able to know whether this field is right for you -- before you buy land. 

planting potatoes at Hilltop Farm at Arcadia

Woodlawn Mansion, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, is home to our farm and training classroom.

Zeek and Erica, both Army vets, learn how to transplant seedlings.

Most weekends include a one-day field trip visiting 2 or more successful local farms. Here we are at Mountview and Moutoux, helping to seed the 2016 crop, and learning how a whole-diet CSA works. 

We visited Cibola Farms for a great discussion about raising bison (and how military surplus CHUs can really help a farm out). We later visited Bright Farms, a massive hydroponic greenhouse run by an Afghan war vet.

Mission Continues is one of our partners, and gifted us with a greenhouse kit and 60 volunteers to get it built in one day (more or less).

A winter visit to a year-round farm in Fairfax, Whitehall -- also run by a veteran. 

Our trainees get hands on experience on our farm. Here, Marine vet Tor, preps drip tape for irrigation. 

Veteran Farm Fellow Laron and Reservist Ally (also a Mission Continues Fellow) enjoy a dinner thrown in their honor at Arcadia farm. 

Our tractor! And Virginia's Secretary of Veteran Affairs John Harvey -- a great friend to the program who helped us raise funds for it! 

 You will work alongside other veteran farm trainees who speak your language and share your experiences, drive, and discipline, on land that George Washington himself cultivated. And you'll visit, work on, and tour successful farms in the region to learn from people who are actually making a living in agriculture. Big farms, small, veggie and livestock; hydroponic greenhouses and tiny urban farms -- we do it all. Plus accounting, legal, and marketing training to make sure that you not only know how to grow food but how to have a successful business operation as well.

You will get real-life experience in farming, and you will be able to know whether this field is right for you -- before you buy land. 

Fill out an application, and find out if farming is for you! 

Anticipated 2017 Dates (please be available for both days, every weekend):
Jan. 28/29
Feb. 25/26
March 25/26
April 29/30
May 20/21
June 24/25
July 29/30
Aug 26/27
Sept 23/24
Oct 28/29
Nov 18/19
December 16/17

With gratitude to our sponsors who make the 2017 Veteran Farmer Program possible:
Grace Communications Foundation
Prince Charitable Trusts
Neighborhood Restaurant Group


Oct. 16 -- the Annual FALL FUNTACULAR!

It's a whole lot of FUN with a Little Bit of 'Tacular! And entrance is freeeeeeeeeeeee! 

Register here so we know how many homemade apple cider donuts to fry! 

October 16, 2016 1 - 5 pm at Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn Pope-Leighey
9000 Richmond Highway
Alexandria VA 22309

Join us for the last hurrah of the growing season, the family friendly fall fest FUNTACULAR! Apple bobbing, sack-racing, chicken-cheering, cake walking good times! Cider! Donuts! Bring a picnic, lounge about on the lawn of Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House and make yourself and your kids some fall memories! Admission is free; food, drink and pumpkins are extra!

Live music will be provided by Drive TFC (www.drivetfc.com), and other acts to be announced as we get closer to the date. Wear your dancing shoes, or just kick off your shoes and go barefoot.

This is the anti-bouncy house, pro-farm and good clean fun autumn festival you've been longing for, with rosy-cheeked kids, a real working farm, and no admission fee (or long, snaking line of cars to get in). 

Come on down to the farm! 


You won't believe the menu we have in store for you.

We have a handful of tickets available for the Arcadia Fall Harvest Dinner on Oct. 9. 

One of the truly wonderful parts of the dinner is watching these chefs -- all of whom are profoundly talented -- collaborate to prepare a five-course meal for our guests and supporters. So come on out to the farm on Sunday! (but buy a ticket here first!). You'll feast on an unbelievable spread, your wine glass will never be empty if we can help it, you'll be waited on hand and foot by cheerful plaid-clad volunteers, and best of all you'll be helping 13 military veterans become farmers!  

But first, to whet your appetite... some photos from last year. 

How can you possibly pass this up? 

all photos (donated!) by the talented Molly M. Peterson

Oct. 9, 2016 
Arcadia Fall Harvest Dinner 
to benefit the
Veteran Farmer Program


Cocktails by Duane Sylvestre & Jamie MacBain
Canapes by Vermilion 

Smoked Salmon with Caviar cream

Roasted butternut squash with crispy dal

courtesy of Rappahannock River Oysters

Chef Jesse Miller of Bar Pilar
Yuzu and Mescal-cured Salmon.
Salmon Chips, Ginger-Lime emulsion, Black Rice, Fermented Chilis, Nori, Rice Crisps, Candied Ginger, Cilantro 

Chef Haidar Karoum, formerly of Proof, Estadio & Doi Moi
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles with Maitake Mushrooms
Autumn Vegetables

Chef Hamilton Johnson of Honeysuckle
Heritage Quail stuffed with Fall Squash
Brussels Sprouts with Rabbit Bacon

Chef Harper McClure of Brabo
Grilled Spanish OctopusYuzu Kosho, Kohlrabi Slaw, Shiro Dashi Emulsion

Chef Keith Cabot of Evening Star Cafe
Grilled Brassica
Cured Spanish Mackerel, Pine Nuts, Black Garlic
Smoked Goat
Red Kuri Squash, Pepitos, Yogurt, Mint

Chef Zachary Mills of Wit & Wisdom
 Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder, Gochujang BBQ, Pickled Cabbage
Brown Butter Miso Grits

Chef John Critchley of Brine
"Lamb & Clams"
House-Made Merguez, Harissa, Clams, Country Bread

Chef William Morris of Vermilion 
Grilled Sobrebarriga with chimichurri
Confit Fingerlings, Roasted Peppers, and Onions

Chef Rebecca Clerget of Dog Tag Bakery 
Assorted Pies and Sweet Treats


Fall Harvest Dinner at Arcadia Farm!

What do these 9 chefs have in common? 

Big talent. Big hearts. And a commitment to veterans and to farmers. 
Come see what they get up to on Oct. 9, 2016 
at Arcadia Farm. 

9 chefs
9 dishes

One of them is pie. 
So much pie.

buy tickets here -- and while you're at it, throw in one for a veteran.

Will Morris

Keith Cabot

Rebecca Clerget

John Critchley

Hamilton Johnson

Haidar Karoum

Harper McClure

Jesse Miller 


Zack Mills

with cocktails by 
Duane Sylvestre


Meet the Team for our 5th Season of Arcadia Farm Camp!

Every day this week our energetic Farm Camp Team (Farmers Christal, Beth, Kate, Jack, Ina, Thea, and Katie) is getting ready for camp-- they are excited to meet our first set of Farm Campers this coming Monday!

We’re excited for Farm Campers to explore, play, and discover the farm with our dynamic staff! Thus, we would like you to meet the Farm Camp Manager, Counselors, and Interns who are making Arcadia Farm Camp 2016 so amazing.

Our passionate Farm Education Director, Morgan Maloney, leads Arcadia's Farm & Nutrition Education Programs throughout the year and dives into Farm Camp each summer. Morgan is looking forward to this historic 5th season of Arcadia Farm Camp!

Christal Blackwell
Farm Camp Manager
Christal is originally from North Carolina, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. After completing undergrad degree in Georgia she joined AmeriCorps and moved to Miami where she served two years with City Year as a Literacy Interventionist at a middle school and as Team Leader at a high school. She recently finished my last semester of graduate studies in Community and Social Change at the University of Miami. Last summer she had the privilege of working as a summer farm camp counselor in Nevada. This summer she is looking forward to continuing to explore her passion for health, food and children as the Farm Camp Manager!
Spirit Veggie: Carrot! Because she loves the unseen process of root veggies.

Beth Blauser
Farm Camp Counselor
Elizabeth is excited to join the team at Arcadia Farm Camp!  She is a bilingual teacher in Maryland public schools and resides in Arlington, Virginia.  When not in the classroom, she accompanies her students on outdoor education trips.  Elizabeth is also a world traveler and loves working with diverse groups of students.  Come roll up your sleeves and get ready for a lot dirt and a lot of fun!
Spirit Veggie: Red leaf lettuce! Because it’s used in her favorite Korean dishes.

Kate Breinman
Farm Camp Counselor
Kate could not be more excited to be joining the Arcadia Farm Camp team! Before graduating from the University of Virginia, Kate worked with a team that helped connect low-income families to the local Farmer’s Market through children’s programming. The Power of Produce program offered nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, taste tests and $2 in market tokens to spend on fresh produce. She spent the last two years teaching 3rd grade as a Teach for America corps member in the Mississippi Delta. Her time living in a low-income community and food desert opened her eyes to the challenges these families face in trying to secure healthy options. Kate looks forward to connecting her experience in elementary education with her passion for sustainable agriculture.
Spirit Veggie: Broccoli! Because it looks like a beautiful bouquet.

Jack Colelli
Farm Camp Intern
Jack Colelli is excited to join Arcadia this summer as a Farm Camp Intern! On the farm he will be assisting counselors and staff in daily programming and activities with counselors while also conducting personal camper interviews and gathering valuable feedback about Farm Camp.  Jack is a rising junior at Tufts University studying economics and environmental studies with a concentration in food systems.  Last summer he worked with campers as a farm staff counselor at a summer camp in North Carolina.  Jack is passionate about food and agriculture and enjoys spending time in the outdoors. Spirit Veggie: Endive!

Ina Descartes
Farm Camp Counselor
Ina has recently earned her Master’s in Arts Management from GMU, and has a background in art history, as well as arts & crafts for children. She is looking forward Farm Camp this summer as she has always had a deep passion for eating healthy, organic food, but also preserving nature, having compassion for all living beings, and looking at the bigger picture of how our eating habits influence our environment. By combining her artistic skills with hands on farm work, she wants to encourage fun learning experiences for all campers, and make sure that kids develop a sense of affinity and curiosity for the outdoors. Spirit Veggie: Cabbage! It’s versatile and a nutritious food in her home country of Germany.

Thea Klein-Mayer
Farm Camp Counselor
Thea comes to Farm Camp from the rural Virginia, where she ran programs in local food advocacy and education for The Highland Center, a nonprofit based in Highland County. While she misses the cool mountain air (and lovely friends she made there), she’s happy to be back in the DC area where she was born and raised. Prior to her work at the Highland Center, Thea was completed a fellowship in sustainable agriculture at the Allegheny Mountain School. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from Northwestern University and was closely involved with sustainability initiatives there, including founding a student-run garden and maintaining on-campus recycling programs.
Spirit Veggie: Beets and Brussels Sprouts! Because, simply, they are delicious.  

Katie Landry
Farm Camp Counselor
Katie, a rising Junior at the University of Maryland, is a community health major where she spends the majority of her coursework on how the social and built environment impacts our health. She also was a Farm Field Trip volunteer this last spring here at Arcadia and is looking forward to seeing students again from the DC and Northern Virginia areas.  Katie is a Spoken Word poet performing around DC as means for introducing difficult conversations to inspire change. This summer, she is excited to pass on culinary secrets from working in her parent’s Italian restaurant in Chicago. Spirit Veggie: Snap Pea!


Why Arcadia Calls Woodlawn Home

We sometimes get this question: why is Arcadia Farm headquartered on such a fancy site, Woodlawn-Pope-Leighey?

The short answer: Woodlawn has been home to people and organizations dedicated to progressing social justice since 1846 – and Arcadia is proud to continue that tradition.

Here’s the long answer: Woodlawn used to be part of Mount Vernon (it was called Dogue Run Farm back then). George Washington gave 2,000 acres to his granddaughter Nelly as a wedding present, and she had the mansion built on the hill around 1805. They called it Woodlawn Plantation because of all the trees.

And Woodlawn, like most of the rest of the South, was a slave plantation. We know from property records there were 90 enslaved people on the property and 10 paid laborers.

But they could never grow enough to food to feed everyone who lived there. The land had been exhausted by tobacco decades before. So the family put the plantation up for sale in 1840.

The mansion sat unoccupied for six years. Finally, in 1846, there was a buyer – a Pennsylvania timber company looking for old growth wood to build massive Clipper ships.

The timber merchants were Quakers and, significantly, abolitionists. And they had a plan. After taking the trees they wanted, they established Woodlawn as a farming community with one goal: to prove to the rest of the South that you didn’t need slave labor to have a profitable farm. They did this 20 years before the Civil War, and just eight miles south of one of the largest slave trade firms in the South, Franklin and Armistead on Duke Street in Alexandria.

They sold farm plots to other Quakers, to Irish and German immigrants, and to free African-American families. They established an integrated school in the mansion and an integrated militia to protect the town. For the first time in the history of the property, Woodlawn made a profit as a farm – without slavery.

When Arcadia Farm was established in 2010, we didn’t know this history. It was just a cool place to grow food that was close to the people we wanted to serve. But as we’ve learned more, we’ve been struck by the thread of food, agriculture, and social justice that ties us to the property. The courageous townspeople of Woodlawn – Black and White, native-born and immigrant  used the food system to help bring about racial equality. And Arcadia is now working to bring equality back to the food system, on the same land as those visionaries.

We encourage you to visit Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey whenever you have a chance. In addition to the tours of the historic homes, Woodlawn hosts special events and activities throughout the year. There are two upcoming opportunities in July. 

Woodlawn was once home to a famous turn-of-the-century playwright (and member of the Woodlawn Farmers Club) Paul Kester. On July 12, that theater tradition continues! Enjoy a live theater presentation of the classic “Casablanca” by the Picnic Theater outside under the stars! You can bring a picnic or buy food onsite. Learn more and buy your tickets HERE

If you are feeling stressed, mark your calendar for 4 pm on July 31, in honor of National Coloring Book Day! Bring your own crayons and pick up a Pope-Leighey coloring book on site. Pack your yoga mat and join us for a relaxing yoga session on the lawn of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece! 

Cob Pizza Oven Master Course - July 10

Imagine a pizza cooked in your own backyard  cheese bubbling, crust crackling. Or a roasted chicken, or a platter of just-harvested vegetables (from Arcadia Farm!) simmering away for hours, snug in an efficient cob oven. Now stop imagining and make it so! We are going to show you how in this two-part master course!

First, join Arcadia Veteran Farmer Reserve Member Isaac "Zeek" Lee and Team Arcadia for a pizza-oven building Master Course. We'll build it together, then send you home with the materials list and instructions (and Zeek's contact information in case you just want him to build it for you). Then part duex: when it's cured and ready to fire up, you'll come back to the farm for a twilight BYOB pizza party! We'll provide the dough and veggie toppings, we'll teach you how to use the oven,  and we'll all marvel at how good something so simple can taste when it's made by hand and tradition.

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/outdoor-oven-building-master-course-tickets-26157281132