Thank you Chipotle!

After a long, tiring morning of weeding beds, harvesting, and turning the soil out on the farm, you’re hungry. What would be better than a big, juicy burrito stuffed with fresh ingredients and clean meat? Now every volunteer who comes out to Arcadia’s farm to volunteer will get a gift card for a free meal at Chipotle, thanks to a new and exciting partnership between our two organizations!

We’ll be partnering with Chipotle in a number of ways during the upcoming months - keep your eyes and ears peeled. But for starters, Chipotle gift cards were recently featured in the gift bags given away at the Summer Brunch fundraiser to benefit Arcadia's D.C. Farm to School Network. And, we just received free meal cards to give to all our wonderful volunteers who brave the heat and help out on the farm. Stay tuned for more details about the other exciting ways we’ll partner in the future, and we’ll close with an enthusiastic thank you Chipotle!


Get your nerd on!

Arcadia's farm now hosts a geocache. Don't know what a geocache is? You haven't been living yet! First, learn more about this nerdy hobby of mine here. Second, grab your GPS and like-minded friends and come on out to the farm. We'll reward you with vegetables if you can find the cache.


Arcadia staff pizza night

What does an Arcadia staff dinner look like? Farm fresh veggie pesto salad, artisanal bread and cheese, home-made pizza, and excellent company. We treat our staff right!

On Monday July 18th, Arcadia staff gathered to bond and celebrate the early summer harvest. Farmer Mo and Farm Intern Beverly contributed beautiful and tasty carrots, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and basil galore - straight from Arcadia’s farm. Mobile Market Manager Benjamin shared his cheese expertise and showcased his impressive pizza-making skills. The rest of us provided refreshments and very healthy appetites.

Don’t you wish you were on Arcadia’s staff? Well, you can do the next best thing - every Monday and Saturday we take volunteers out at the Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, VA. Contact volunteer@arcadiafood.org for more info!

Powdery Mildew

So as the summer continues, so do our discoveries of pest and disease problems on the farm. Yesterday we discovered that several of our summer squash plants have a fungal disease called powdery mildew. A plant gets this fungal disease when an airborne spore lands on a leaf and germinates into a fungi. Once on a plant the fungi grow root like structures that attach to the leaves and sucks up plant nutrients from the top cells of the plant, weakening the leaf and slowing the growth. In less than a week the fungus releases a million more spores that go on to affect several other neighboring plants with the help of wind, rain, or insects. Powdery mildew is an easy disease to identify because it simply looks like the plants are covered in baby powder. How is this problem solved? Yesterday we pulled and trashed a few of the severely infected plants in hopes that the spreading will stop. Today the other infected squash plants will be receiving a bath of baking soda and water to help prevent the spreading of the disease and hopefully terminate the powdery mildew issue.


Arcadia featured in USA Today

Arcadia was recently featured in a USA Today article about programs being created to address 'food deserts' across America! Read the article to learn about some of our projects that aim to create a sustainable food system in the D.C. area.

The Mobile Market Goes Green

There’s a lot of activity underway as we retrofit our school bus. Among other developments, we’re building custom shelving for the produce, developing an electrical system for the refrigerators and freezers, and weighing our options for the exterior’s facelift (have any ideas? Send them to benjamin[at]arcadiafood[dot]org).

Most exciting is our partnership with DC Biofuels to run the engine on a blend of diesel and locally sourced vegetable oil. We had James Peeples, Senior Vice President of DC Biofuels, check out the bus this week and it looks like our engine is still in great shape. I can already smell the savory scent of fryer oil! Except not really – we’ll be running on a blend that burns clean. Plus, fryer oil may not pair well with the smell of freshly picked produce …


Featured Local Produce Program in D.C. Schools!

September - tomatoes!  October - sweet potatoes!  November - kale!  We are excited to announce a new D.C. Farm to School Network program for the upcoming school year.  Participating D.C. schools will familiarize students with seasonal, local produce - a different produce item each month.  Our goal will be to educate and excite students about local fruits and veggies, so they’ll be more likely to eat them when they show up on their cafeteria trays.  The program will also foster lasting partnerships between local farms and D.C. schools.

Here’s how it will work - each month will have a designated local fruit or vegetable.  Let’s say it’s November, and the featured food is kale.  School meals in November will include a local kale dish, which could be as simple as baked kale chips.  Schools in D.C. will feature kale in their school gardens.  Students participating in field trips to Arcadia’s educational farm will learn about growing and harvesting kale.  Chef demonstrations, both on the farm and in schools, will feature healthy kale recipes.  Taste tests in school cafeterias will expose students to a few different ways kale can be prepared.  Download-able kale-themed lesson plans and worksheets will engage kids in the classroom, in line with D.C. curriculum standards.  Keep your eye out for more information and for the launch of this exciting new program!

In the meantime, we need your help coming up with a creative name for the program!  What should we call this monthly seasonal produce spotlight?  Comment below, email anna[at]dcfarmtoschool[dot]org with ideas, or tweet ideas to us @dcfarmtoschool!


Fantastic Fundraiser Brunch!

Just picture this - 200 beautiful people enjoying brunch fare at Ris, champagne flutes filled with bottomless mimosas, models on the red carpet featuring the hippest summer fashions, gift bags overflowing with goodies from sponsors, a mix of the latest and greatest tunes in the background - can you feel the fun and excitement?

The Summer Brunch Soiree this past Saturday was a fantastic success, and we are so honored that the proceeds were to benefit the D.C. Farm to School Network at Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture.  Only Becca and Cori Sue, also known as the Bitches who Brunch, could organize such an incredible fundraiser event.  We want to extend an enormous thank you to them for choosing the D.C. Farm to School Network to benefit from the proceeds, and we look forward to working together in the future.

Thank all of the attendees for your support as well, to Ris for providing the wonderful food and staff for the event, to the volunteers who helped ready the space for the big day, and to all of the event’s sponsors.  Find a picture medley from the event here!

 Photo from readysetdc.com of the D.C. Farm to School Network table at the Summer Brunch Soiree.