Now a thriving farm nestled in LeDroit Park, it is hard to believe that this space was once an unused baseball field connected to an abandoned school. Common Good City Farm is unlike anything I have ever seen. With its fruit trees, ample rows of vegetables, native plant rain garden, and Community Garden Plots, it is impressive how so much variety can fit into a seemingly small space.
The lovely ladies of Common Good, Anita, Elizabeth, and Beza, hosted the interns for a visit in September. We began our day under the cover of a beautifully constructed shade pavilion: an area which provides space for cooking demonstrations, produce refrigeration, and entertaining during programs. I was so excited by the gas stove top they use for cooking demonstrations during Growing Gardens Workshops and Youth Programs, that I immediately began scheming about my future outdoor kitchen. A rain water cistern living the corner of the pavilion collects rain from the roof, filters it to the rain garden, and provides water for the farm in emergency situations.
As we moved into the farm, Anita Adalja, Common Good’s Urban Grower, spoke about her adventures of growing in this space. Various things like pests and rats have presented challenges, but the farm’s successes are enormous. They grow enough produce to provide their program participants with veggies (which they helped to grow), sustain a small CSA, and sell to Arcadia’s Mobile Market and other locations. One of the most productive plants they had this season was okra; there was a long and tall row of this special fruit that was still yielding crop. Next to the okra were a few very healthy compost piles. Members of the LeDroit Park community deposit their compost in a bin near the farm’s fence, helping to keep these piles alive and their community sustainable! The next stop on our tour was the small orchard space. Along with delicious fruit, this area provides an interesting natural place space for youth that mimics a forest floor. After preparing two rows of rich soil and transplanting some baby kale, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch while sharing our passions for good food and healthy people. Liz and interns, Marta and Morgan, thank the Common Good City Farm staff for an enlightening day.
Common Good’s programs include the Green Tomorrows program for low-income individuals to participate in sustainable growing, Growing Gardens Workshops to inspire the community with garden knowledge, and Youth Programs to engage youth of all ages in farm fun. Check them out at www.commongoodcityfarm.org. In fact, they have a fundraiser on October 11th called “Taste of Common Good,” a simple way to get involved right away!