Urban Ag and DC Food Security Bill

Join us in September to push for the passage of this historic piece of legislation

Support the DC Food Security Act of 2014When DC City Council Member David Grosso introduced the DC Food Security Act of 2014, it built upon the legacy of the urban farming act of 1986 and the DC Healthy Schools Act of 2010.This bill takes it a step further by opening up more public and private land to grow healthy food. Its passage is extremely significant to the future success of Three Part Harmony Farm. We’ve been building the soil and productivity on our city plots for the last 3 years but we need these policy changes to take the next step to really grow (in so many different ways!)

Please get involved in this brief grassroots effort to make sure the City Council knows how important this issue is to us.

Contact the Chairman and folks on the Finance and Revenue Committee. They are currently in the mark up phase of the bill.

Please feel free to use these points as a guide:

“Hi, My Name is:
I live in Ward:
I’m calling/ emailing to let you know that the D.C. Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 is an important piece of legislation for our city and that I hope it will get passed soon.

• The Act encourages private, District landowners to lease their land for agricultural purposes and encourages urban farming on unused city owned land in response to problems of blighted property.

• The Act responds to the District’s continued struggle to address chronic hunger amongst residents with a local solution: encouraging urban farmers to donate a portion of their produce to District-based food banks and shelters.

• The Act enables urban farmers to sell their produce both on and off the leased land, bringing easy, fresh food access to neighborhoods across the city, including those currently identified as food deserts.

Thank you!”

Chairman Phil Mendelson:
(202) 724-8032, pmendelson@dccouncil.us

Jack Evans:
(202) 724-8058, jackevans@dccouncil.us

Muriel Bowser:
mbowser@dccouncil.us, (202) 724-8052

Marion Barry:
(202) 724-8045, mbarry@dccouncil.us

David Catania
(202) 724-7772, dcatania@dccouncil.us

Thank Grosso and Cheh for their leadership, and the other supporters of the bill as well:

David Grosso:
(202) 724-8105, dgrosso@dccouncil.us

Mary Cheh:
(202) 724-8062, mcheh@dccouncil.us

Jim Graham:
(202) 724-8181, jgraham@dccouncil.us

Kenyan McDuffie:
(202) 724-8028, kmcduffie@dccouncil.us

Tommy Wells:
(202) 724-8072, twells@dccouncil.us

Join us for a fundraisier on Thursday, May 15th

Join Three Part Harmony farm and Zenful Bites Thursday, May 15 from 6-9pm at Impact Hub DC (419 7th St NW) as we celebrate Ahri Burton, as he prepares to attend a plant-based culinary school in order to gather the tools and resources necessary to bring healing and justice to his community’s food system.

ACCESS 23 is named in recognition of the 23.5 million people in the US living in food deserts, lacking access to healthy foods within their community.

Food will be provided by several local eco-companies including Zenful Bites and Livity Drink Co. Produce for the event has been generously donated by Three Part Harmony Farm.

To purchase tickets, please visit here.

To read Ahri’s story and see his fundraising page, see here: http://www.gofundme.com/A-Healthy-Investment

Three Part Harmony Farm Logo

Three Part Harmony Farm LogoThe Three Part Harmony (3PH) Farm butterfly logo is an artist’s (Kirstin Voss) interpretation of our farm community as a migratory being.

The most well-known of the migratory butterflies, the Monarch, makes an epic journey each year between Mexico and the United States, on the North American continent. The butterflies, and then their children, follow a route that is linked to the basic needs of every live being: food, shelter, and warmth.

Favianna Rodriguez, artist and co-founder of the migrationisbeautiful project explains their use of the Monarch Butterfly to support justice for migrants: “To me, the monarch butterfly represents the dignity and resilience of migrants, and the right that all living beings have to move freely.”

Migration is part of 3PH founder Gail Taylor’s agricultural history. “I didn’t grow up with family members who farmed. My grandfather was part of the Great Migration, a time in which more than 6 million Blacks left the rural south in search of a better life and a more dignified source of employment in the industrial north. He left the cotton fields of Mississippi for the railroad yards of Illinois, and he discouraged his children from toiling in the fields for the benefit of others as he had. Young Black farmers of my generation who don’t grow up in farming families must make an intentional decision to come back to the land. We are the Return Generation, smaller in number but equally determined to find dignity in our search for nourishing food while at the same time being able to pay for the roof over our heads.”

The Monarch Butterfly is not only a symbol of migration. People play a role in the species’ survival by helping to feed, nurture, and offer respite along their journey. We extend hospitality at our farm by choosing plants that attract butterflies, pollinators, and a wide variety of beings that make up a healthy ecosystem. We also facilitate a place where human beings are nurtured. Garden tasks are a vehicle to still your mind and eventually be at peace. We, the people of the Three Part Harmony Farm community, are like the Monarch Butterfly and the farm itself is like a field of milkweed. As travelers on a journey, we are drawn to the farm’s food, shelter, and warmth and renewed by the companionship of the other butterflies who are on the same path. Here there are no borders, no nations, just flowers.

Getting Ready!

The days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner! You wouldn’t believe that by looking at the snow on the ground, but we do have some incredibly beautiful, sunny days that offer blue sky longer into the evening. Last week we began the process of cleaning out the greenhouse, sanitizing the trays, and testing the new germination shed so that we can begin seeding the earliest of the 2014 crops. It’s easier and cheaper to “recycle” the plastic trays from one year to the next, but we don’t take lightly our commitment to use as little oil as possible and that includes re-using anything plastic. We sanitize them in vinegar to take out any soil borne diseases they may have picked up last year. It’s tedious but it’s also one of the important small things we can do to demonstrate our commitment to environmental sustainability.

We’re happy to offer healthy seedlings to the local gardening community again. Collaborating for the second year with Good Sense Farm & Apiary, we’ll produce several thousand seedlings from our tiny little greenhouse and offer them at two special sales. As we get closer to March, we’ll post information about how and where to purchase from us. We know how hard it can be to source good transplants that thrive when you get them home, which is why we started growing our own. Now we plant extra for those who want the same quality and who want to purchase special varieties that are not found at big box stores. That’s the local touch!

Just Harvest: Urban Farming in a Climate Crisis

Free Speech Radio News

Free Speech Radio News

On Capitol Hill, elected officials have long supported big agricultural and industrial-scale farming that requires massive inputs of chemicals and fossil fuels. But can this system continue to feed the population of a warming planet?

Just a few miles up the road from where lawmakers set far-reaching policy, some DC residents are organizing to create something different. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein takes us to a farm called Three Part Harmony, where we explore what urban, organic agriculture could do both for a community and the environment they live in, and how US policy could better support it.

This documentary was produced by Alice Ollstein and edited by Shannon Young. Our technical producer at KPFA is Jeannine Etter. The original music in this documentary was performed by Owen Grooms, a young farmer in North Carolina.  Special thanks to everyone who supported this project on Indiegogo.

Click here to listen to the radio documentary.

Update from Three Part Harmony Farm

There are so many wonderful things to report about Three Part Harmony farm’s 2013 season! I apologize that my reports are sporadic. I find myself mostly outside except for when it’s either really hot or really rainy. But things are growing, bountiful and beautiful!Produce from 3PH avail 7 days a week on Georgia Avenue!
I now supply fresh, healthy produce from the 20011 zip code to Buxton Glory International Market at 4013 Georgia Ave NW.

Buxton Glory International Market at 4013 Georgia Ave NW

Buxton Glory International Market at 4013 Georgia Ave NW

They’re open until 9 pm Mon – Sat and from 12 – 7 on Sundays. This week I’ll be harvesting the last of the spring/ summer arugula, as well as the last of the lettuce. Radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips are in their last few weeks. Kale and collards are still plentiful, and I do have a limited supply of fresh garlic that will be there until it sells out. Coming soon: summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and eventually tomatillos, eggplant, peppers, and chiles. oh yeah: and calaloo!

This small, family-owned grocery store is very close to the Yes! organic market in Petworth, and just half a block from the Petworth farmers’ market which is set up on Fridays. Please get in the habit of stopping by on your way to/ from locations nearby, which may even include the laundrymat next door. In addition to buying produce from DC’s only black, female-owned farm, you’re supporting one of the few neighborhood-based, international-minded black, female-owned and operated small (not chain!) grocery stores in the District. Make sure you meet Tia, the owner.

Harmonies with a descant
3PH has more than tripled it’s growing space this year. In addition to adding 2 new backyard plots, we’ve also doubled the growing space at our site that grows produce for donation only. Yes, there are more than three plots, located in Petworth, Brookland and Ft. Totten. In addition to the sites in DC, Zachari and I were invited to be part of a collective of young, black farmers growing sweet potatoes and winter squash in Preston, MD along with Blain Snipstal, currently at 5 Seeds & Apiary. This sacred, historical site was an extremely important place for Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. I’m very proud and humbled to be part of this project. There are photos of us planting the sweet potatoes in early June at facebook.com/threepartharmonyfarm

Beyond growing vegetables: growing co-ops and community
The “off-season” was actually a very busy time for me. My business partner, Zachari J. Curtis, and I spent over a hundred hours writing out the foundation for a new mid-atlantic based People of Color/ Women farmer co-op. We immediately launched into carrying out several of the programs we drafted, and are seeking funds to be able to incorporate the entity and purchase shared equipment and build infrastructure. When winter comes again, the Black Belt Justice Center will work with us to file paperwork and get set up.

This spring, we teamed up to successfully grow and market seedlings for home and community gardeners. Thanks to the enthusiasm and support, we sold out! We also held workshops throughout the spring. Grower/ educator/ chef extraordinaire JuJu hosted a collective seed purchasing party in the winter.

Our network of local producers also continues to build each unique venture: Good Sense Farm & Apiary officially launched this past weekend although the reputation of producing extremely tasty honey and mushrooms already precedes the name and web presence. Little Red Bird Botanicals continues to grow it’s herbal CSA, and herbalist Holly Poole-Kavana gets invited constantly to do herb walks, consultations, and give workshops.

Over the winter we also traveled twice to the south to deepen our connections to southern, rural Black farmers. In mid-March Zachari and I were part of a delegation of Sisters of the Soil. Our on the ground hosts where the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative based out of the Southwest Georgia Project which evolved out of the Albany, GA SNCC chapter. Every moment brought us face to face with the intersections of racism, classism, sexism and farming (especially the links between wealth and landownership, and the role of intentional discrimination both historically and currently to keep certain populations from accessing that wealth.) It’s difficult to muster faith in a system that has historically neglected farmers who look like me, and I find myself looking to model the community supported, cooperatively run projects that has made the Southwest Georgia Project the successful rural development organization that it is today. It’s not a coincidence that the organization is one of the few remaining active organizations formed during the civil rights movement, the legacy continues. And it’s not a coincidence that the organization is currently staffed entirely by women.

How to Support Us!
Only in our second year, we’re doing a lot! Each day is full of different aspects of maintaining a multi-dimensional, multi-plot farm in the city. Please encourage people to buy from us! Go to Buxton Market if you missed the chance to join the CSA.

We also accept donations, both monetary (though not tax deductible) and in-kind. It helps us to grow, and allows the farm to donate produce to a food pantry, participate in seed keeping and other projects, and demonstrates your support for a farm right in your own community.

We also need volunteers! Come out and work with us on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, or Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Checks can be made payable to Three Part Harmony farm and sent to PO Box 53059, Washington DC 20009. See the list below for things we need donated:
- garden tools in good working order: hoes, bow rakes, shovels, wheelbarrow, hand tools, lead-free garden hose
- did you buy seedlings from us? recycle your pots!
- a trailer for a bike
- clean plastic bags
- scissors, or small sharp knives

Finally- forward this to someone who you think might be interested in hearing about the farm. I wasn’t thorough in preparing the list, and I feel bad that some dear friends, customers and volunteers are left out just because I ran out of time.

But it’s time to go back outside. The weeds are calling :)

Stay cool this week!


2013 shares are now available

veggiebasketThe price is $300 for the year.

Please make payment by mailing in a check with your order, or contact us by email to pay with a credit card. There will be a 5% fee added to credit card transactions. If you want to pay by cash, please contact us to make arrangements.

Payment is due in full by June 5th.

Pick ups will be once a month (third Saturday from 3 – 6) starting on June 15th.

the dates will be:
June 15th from 3 – 6
July 20th from 3 – 6
August 17th from 3 – 6
September 21st from 3 – 6
October 19th from 3 – 6
November 16th from 3 – 6

What’s in a share?
I like to try to give you a variety of items, although sometimes things are all ready at once and you get an abundance of one thing. That’s what freezers are for! Save some for later.

New Challenges
I always include something new for you to try. I’m excited to have added peanuts to the crop list last year. This year I’m adding ginger, galangal and turmeric. Sometimes I include items that are referred to in common parlance as “weeds.” But I actually cultivate some of the more popular “weeds” to make harvesting easier. I think you’ll enjoy adding these unusual but extremely nutritious items to your cooking routine! This includes purslane, lambs quarters, amaranth (calaloo), wild onions, and dried stinging nettles.

My household also benefits from the fresh farm goodies, and I’ve been known to mix parts of an entire share in one big stir fry and call that dinner. Therefore, I lean towards putting together shares that have a couple of meal options, not pieces of more than a dozen meals that can’t be combined. You’ll notice for example that each share has something in the onion family. I think that’s an important base for any dish. You’re also likely to see the ingredients for ratatouille at the same time instead of always spread out across pick ups, and so on through a seasonal based meal planning.

Mouth Watering Goodness!
Don’t worry: I don’t grow “bad” vegetables! Ok- that’s obviously subjective. Every farmer should be upfront about the fact that we grow things we like to eat. I do grow some things just for my customers, like swiss chard which I can’t stand. But mostly what you get is what I eat. I also tend to make meal recommendations that I myself put on the dinner table. Finally, at the end of the day I am restricted in what I can grow by the climate, daylength, and space constraints. You’ll see all of these things reflected in what is available each month.

Community Minded
Like last year, I’ll sometimes include items from my farmer cooperative peers, such as honey and mushrooms from Good Sense Farm & Apiary, as well as herb-infused vinegars from Little Red Bird Botanicals, also located in DC.

How much will I get?
The question that never goes away: how much will be in my share? This year I’m trying something new: I’m only distributing shares once a month. It will be a “double share” meaning it’s twice as much as I gave out weekly last year. That means either you live in a house with a lot of people, or you like to do marathon cooking weekends once a month and save meals for later, or you always invite yourself over for dinner at friends for the entire week after receiving your share, or you find someone else to share with. Or you decide it’s not for you and you go to the farmers’ market or store instead. Take the plunge if you want to support a DC-owned farm. As we grow, you’ll reap the benefits as we are able to offer more customer-friendly options and show our gratitude in yet to be determined ways…

To give you a better idea, here’s what I think will be in the first share:
June 15th
2 heads of lettuce
2 bags of salad greens (i.e. 1 spinach and 1 arugula)
3 bunches of herbs
1 bunch of garlic or onion scallions
1 bag of garlic scapes
2 bunches of cooking greens (i.e. 1 kale, 1 swiss chard)
2 bunches of roots (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips)
1 bunch of flowers
1 bag tat soi or bok choi or 1 head of cabbage

Seed Starting Workshop

A group of people, interested in learning the basics of starting vegetables from seed, came together on March 30, 2013 for Three Part Harmony Farm’s Seed Starting Workshop. Three Part Harmony Farm Seed Starting Workshop with Gail Taylor

There are many reasons why plants need to be started indoors, but the act of doing it is fairly straightforward for most kinds of plants. Starting seeds before the last frost gives you a jump start on the season! It also helps you select for the healthiest plants. Some plants are trickier than others to directly seed into your garden so starting them in pots is actually the only way to grow them. Some flowers and herbs or difficult to germinate vegetables have slightly different requirements, but for the most part once you know the basics, that knowledge will come in handy each year until you stop gardening!

In this workshop, Gail explained the basic requirements for the seed and plant that it will become (soil less medium, temperature and water for germination; feeding, watering and light requirements for growing plants). We also discussed what to do with fluctuating spring temps and how to create the ideal conditions if you are doing it in a basement or other location that doesn’t get sun. We made potting soil together, seeded trays, and practiced watering.

Click here to view more photos from the workshop.

You can still order your seedlings from Three Part Harmony Farm: http://threepartharmonyfarm.org/buy-local-seedlings/

Buy Local Seedlings from Three Part Harmony Farm

Rooting DC

On Saturday, February 23, 2013, Three Part Harmony Farm participated in Rooting DC, a forum about urban food production and consumption. We had a great time networking with new and old allies, we participated in workshops, discussions and set up a table at the information fair.

Many thanks to Favianna Rodriguez for letting us use her amazing artwork for the Three Part Harmony banner, that we painted the night before the forum.

Cooking for Self Determination

Cooking for Self Determination – poster by Favianna Rodriguez

A few years ago, Favianna collaborated with Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen, on a set of posters dealing with food justice. The posters Green Our Communities and Cooking for Self Determination are available for sale on Favianna’s webpage.

Connecting with so many great people who were interested in urban farming was really energizing. Three Part Harmony Farm is part of a community that grows, sells and eats healthy food. Urban Farming in Washington, DC contributes to food security and food safety by increasing the amount of fresh vegetables and fruits available to people in DC. Local food production through urban farming saves energy and promotes food sovereignty by taking a step towards breaking the dependence on a fragile and increasingly unwieldy global food system.

Three Part Harmony Farm is growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers using organic production techniques. We are currently taking orders for seedlings that are growing in our greenhouse.

Our products are grown for everyday people who care about providing healthy food for their families. The farm is an integral part of a vibrant multinational, multicultural city and has a strong long-term presence in the community. We collaborate with small start-ups and nonprofits that share a broader vision of self-sustaining, cooperatively run projects and engage the community around the environment, food, and health while utilizing vacant plots and creating local jobs.