This past Friday, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Arcadia Farms. Arcadia Farms is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to provide equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC area. The company has mobile markets in at least 19 undeserved, DC-area neighborhoods.
During our visit, Anita told us a little bit of Arcadia’s mission and brief history of how it was created. Then, she gave us a tour around the farm and showed us a few of the plants they were planting and were growing around this time of the year. Finally, she showed us the chicken coop and told us that there are 7 chickens that lay eggs every 30 hours, and they sell those eggs in their mobile markets. We even took a picture by the chicken coop at the end of the day!
For the volunteering part of the visit, we had to prepare the beds for the radish and garlic plants to grow during the winter. In order to do so, we had to break down the large chunks of clay soil. There were three beds that needed work: one bed just needed the large clay soil to be broken down into smaller pieces; while the other two beds were created by digging with tuning forks. While doing so, we often stumbled upon sweet potatoes that were still intact on the ground, and we placed ones we found in a basket. Lastly, we were able to plant radish seeds on only one newly-created bed by taking a cup full of seeds, spread them out throughout the bed, and then covered them up with soil. In the end, Anita was still thankful for our efforts.
By the end of the day, we successfully created beds to plant radish seeds, and brought back sweet potatoes as souvenirs of our hard work. I especially came back with a real-world example of sustainable farming practices in our area since I didn’t know of any nearby farms (besides MOMs) that were providing organic, local food. Hopefully Arcadia Farms includes George Mason as one of their mobile market stops in the future!
Check out their website here
Click here for their Facebook page