Screening of 'American Meat' and panel discussion with Farmer Mo

What: The new documentary American Meat chronicles America’s grassroots revolution in sustainable meat production. The film, an official selection of Food Day 2011, explains our current industrial meat system, and shows the feedlots and confinement operations, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. The film then shifts to the burgeoning sustainable, local-food movement made up farmers, food advocates, chefs and everyday folks who could change everything about the way meat reaches the American table.

Who: After the film, at 8:30 p.m., a panel discussion will be held with New York City filmmaker Graham Meriwether and Susan Prolman, executive director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and an advocate for sustainable agriculture for more than a decade; Phil Petrilli, Regional Manager, Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants, who helped set up the company’s purchase and distribution of grass-fed pork for its restaurants; Maureen Moodie, farm director of the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, Fairfax County, Va.

Where: E Street Theater, 555 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C. (E Street entrance between 10th and 11th Streets NW)

When: 7 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 1. 8:30 p.m. panel discussion.

Cost: Free seating and free coupons for burritos, sponsored by the Chipotle Company.

Why: Sustainable farming is expanding exponentially as Americans learn more and more about their food and how they can connect with local farmers who raise their animals outdoors. Here is a film that celebrates these farmers, and all farmers, in an unbiased way that allows all farmers and food advocates to sit down and discuss solutions to their common challenges. Perhaps most importantly, the film provokes a spirited but constructive conversation about one of the most important subjects in our lives -- our food.

For further information on community screenings, please visit AmericanMeatFilm.com.


Groundhog Garden Shed

Groundhog Garden has a new exciting development-- we've (almost) finished our shed! The whole Farm to School and Arcadia Farm team are thrilled about out new projects!

The kids shed will serve as an outdoor educational classroom as well as provide a safe and dry space to store all of our equipment and supplies for farm field trips. With the amazing design provided by Jesse, a group of volunteers dedicated their Sunday to its construction. A huge thanks to Emily Roberts, Jim Villars, Katie from Beet Street, Jeff Wilkes, and Luis from jWest Solutions (and of course, Adam and Ben) for your building expertise!

We've also sheet mulched more space in Groundhog Garden to make room for spring's new gardens-- more herbs, natural dye beds and fruit trees are on the way! We're already excited to use and explore our expanded Groundhog Garden with school groups in the spring!


Visit to Stone Barns

Mo in the foreground, and 2nd graders on a field trip to Stone Barns behind her!
Turkeys, cows, chickens, sheep, pigs. These are only a handful of the many wonderful farm animals we got to see during our trip to visit Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture last week. The Stone Barns staff were kind enough to let us, Arcadia’s Farm to School Director and Farm Director, observe a field trip and discuss the in’s and out’s of their established educational programs. 

The chickens were just moved inside for the cold weather, so kids got to harvest eggs!
Stone Barns is a non-profit farm and education center located just 25 miles north of Manhattan in Pocantico Hills, New York. Stone Barns operates an 80-acre four-season farm and incorporates broader initiatives to create a healthy and sustainable food system. Their Growing Farmers Initiative, children’s education programs, and diverse public awareness programs aim to improve the way America eats and farms. The famous restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns is on the property as well, engaging visitors in an incredible farm-to-table dining experience.

Stone Barns' half-acre greenhouse is always in-season!
We arrived on a crisp, clear morning last week in time to meet a group of 30 second graders for their field trip. We shadowed the group as they were led on an interactive two-hour tour that included visiting animals, harvesting eggs, and tasting produce in the greenhouse. Year round programming works when exciting animals and their huge greenhouse are always "in-season." The Stone Barns staff were incredibly helpful at sharing tips and hints for us, as we develop and grow Arcadia’s own educational programs. Thank you Stone Barns for the incredible opportunity. Now we just can’t wait to get our chickens this spring, and a summer camp up and running!


One Amazing Evening - the Vices that Made Virginia

On Saturday November 5, a crowd of nearly 700 guests gathered on the grounds of the Historic Woodlawn estate in Alexandria, VA, home of Arcadia's two acre sustainable farm and educational hub.  The occasion?  The Vices That Made Virginia, our biggest fundraiser of the year to benefit Arcadia and Woodlawn, a National Historic Trust Site.  The monies raised on this unforgettable night will fund the continued growth of our farm, educational programming, and the launch of our Mobile Market.  We sincerely thank the guests and generous local sponsors who came to support us!

Woodlawn looked magical as the sun set over the crisp, fall evening, and spotlights lit up the estate and grounds.  Local chefs and artisans prepared a spread of the season's finest meats, cheeses, oysters, vegetables and other prepared dishes.  After the guests sampled the evening's finest foods and featured wines, whiskeys and beers, they could listen to the bluegrass music, take a snapshot the photo-booth, or watch a cigar-rolling demonstration.  The air was full of laughter, great tunes, and merriment.

Arcadia's Mobile Market made its debut at Vices.  The awesome, bright green school bus attracted guests who stopped by to pay a visit with the team and learn more about the program - even take a tour.  Fully stocked with fresh produce from local farms, it was a sight to see.  We can't wait to get it on the road!

Many thanks to all of the volunteers, staff, partners, sponsors and attendees who made the event a huge success.  Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be the first to hear about upcoming events and other Arcadia news!
Photo credits: Samer Farha


Chipotle's going local with Arcadia!

We love good burritos here at Arcadia.  But that's not the only reason why we love the popular restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill.  We've established a wonderful relationship with Chipotle, an organization with a dedication to "Food With Integrity" similar to our own.  Yes, it does includes free burritos (for our volunteers and special events).  But it goes so much farther than that!

Earlier this fall, Chipotle sponsored a DC-area wide fundraiser for Arcadia.  They donated half of all proceeds from burritos sold the evening of September 14th to Arcadia's farm to school programs - a whopping $15,000!  With these funds, we'll be able to expand Arcadia's farm field trips in the spring, and get our Mobile Market out to schools (complete with chef demonstrations and mock-farmers' market activities).

Chipotle also coordinated guacamole demos and film screenings "What's On Your Plate" in four schools during D.C. Farm to School Week in October.  They reached over 400 DC students and families with hand-on food education and community engagement around the issues of nutrition and sustainability. 

I already mentioned the awesome food - our volunteers on the farm take home "burrito bucks" after a hard day's work.  And for our events and activities, you can count on some delicious carnitas tacos or our favorite - the veggie burrito.  And while you're at the farm, check out the Chipotle Salsa Garden - complete with tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, garlic and onions.

Most recently, Chipotle was a top sponsor at the Vices that Made Virginia event, our rollicking fundraiser on the farm on November 6th (recap to come).  They hit the Estate sponsorship level of $5,000, again showing their strong support for Arcadia's mission and programs.

Chipotle, we can't thank you enough.  Your staff are incredible, your hearts are generous, and your values align so closely with Arcadia's own.  We're so excited to continue working with you as our programs grow and flourish! 


Arcadia's hiring a Mobile Market School Educator!

Do you like youth engagement, local food, child nutrition, and food justice?  If so, we've got the job for you!

Arcadia is looking for a part-time Mobile Market School Educator to lead educational programming on Arcadia's Mobile Market, and coordinate local food taste tests in DC school cafeterias.  The Mobile Market School Educator should be someone who has extensive experience working with kids, exhibits a strong passion for Arcadia's mission, and demonstrates the capacity to deveop and lead educational outreach programs.  This is a part-time (20 hrs/week on averaage) paid position.

For details about the position and how to apply, visit http://bit.ly/ArcadiaMMJob


Big Bad Green

The Mobile Market has undergone a lot of work recently, but nothing’s been quite as eye-catching as the bus’ recent paint job.

According to Fred, General Manager and heavy truck specialist at Maaco of College Park, nothing “pops” like “Big Bad Green,” so we worked out a deal to get the Mobile Market looking like a million bucks (for a tiny, tiny fraction thereof). Thanks to his skilled and able team, Maaco was able to get the bus done in time for our annual fundraiser, The Vices that Made Virginia, during which guests were informed of the Mobile Market's food distribution and educational activities. They were also treated to an array of fruits and vegetables provided by our farmer friends, Derek Kilmer and David Marvel.

Next steps for the Mobile Market will be installation of a donated generator (thanks, Cummins!) and chest refrigerators. Otherwise, I recently passed my Commercial Driver's License test and have acquired all the permits for operating the bus, so much of the back-end work is complete.

Unfortunately, all of this is coming together just as market season is wrapping up, but the bus will be hitting the road soon enough when we begin making school visits early next year. Stay tuned for more information regarding our Mobile Market School Educator job listing.