Just over a year ago, the Bainum family donated 263 acres of beautiful Virginia farmland to the Bainum Family Foundation. We determined the best use of that land, in alignment with our mission to improve early childhood in the District of Columbia, was to grow produce for underserved neighborhoods in the District, with a special focus on Wards 7 and 8. Food insecurity is a major issue in these communities, and inadequate nutrition hampers both the healthy development of children and the overall well-being of families.
We have spent the past year working toward that goal and building out a sustainable, regenerative approach for the Bainum Foundation Farm. Some accomplishments:
- Completed the Farm’s master site plan, which lays out future opportunities for our property such as expanded vegetable production, animal operations and on-site programs
- Cultivated the land, which had previously been used for horse and cattle grazing, into production-ready soil scheduled to start sprouting crops in spring 2017
- Improved the Farm’s infrastructure by creating a new road and stream crossing, allowing access to visitors
- Transformed the equipment shed into a base for Farm operations
- Acquired two tractors to plow and till the land and support other activities at the Farm
Recently, the Foundation wrapped up a nationwide search to find a farmer to directly manage the Farm’s production and operations. We did not find one person for the job. Instead, we found two — a married couple who will share responsibilities and live on-site at our recently updated farmhouse. They will join our team early next year. The Foundation is also in the process of hiring a senior manager to manage daily program operations for the Farm and further develop our nutrition strategies and initiatives.
Our work at the Farm has been accomplished in partnership with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. In the first year of the partnership, the Farm supported Arcadia’s Mobile Market program (rolling farm stands that stock a complete diet of locally, sustainably grown foods) by fully sponsoring all eight Mobile Market stops in Wards 7 and 8, while also providing the organization with added operational support. In future years, a portion of produce grown on the farm will supply the Mobile Markets. Arcadia also will assist in managing the Farm operations.
Learn more about our partnership with Arcadia and our plans for the Farm through this article from the Washington Post (“Foundation acquires farm to provide fresh produce to D.C.’s poorest areas“).