Farm to Many Tables
Bainum Foundation Farm to Address Food Access and Quality in Underserved D.C. Neighborhoods
A key element of the Bainum Family Foundation’s strategic focus is wrap-around support to improve the skills and social/emotional well-being that young children living in poverty need for effective learning and healthy development. This includes everything from good nutrition to mental wellness services.
When the Bainum family generously donated 263 acres of Virginia farmland to the Foundation in late 2015, it provided us with a unique opportunity to directly address an enduring problem in the District of Columbia: access to affordable, healthy food in low-income neighborhoods.
The property in Middleburg, Virginia, now known as the Bainum Foundation Farm, will grow produce for families in Wards 7 and 8 and make other investments in nutritional and vocational education programs, both in schools and hosted at the Farm. These efforts are designed not just to provide nutritional support, but to build demand for healthy food and create a support infrastructure that enables long-term sustainability. The Farm also will support local partners and food policy initiatives that seek to permanently change the District’s food system.
Working in Partnership
As with all Foundation programs and initiatives, community partners are critical to our success. The Farm has announced plans to partner with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, based in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2016, the Farm will support Arcadia’s Mobile Market program — a rolling farm stand stocked with locally, sustainably grown foods — by fully sponsoring all eight Mobile Market stops in Wards 7 and 8, and 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 work with us to manage the Farm. The land will be prepared for agricultural use in 2016, with the first crops to be planted in early 2017. The Farm will supply Arcadia’s Mobile Market beginning later that spring, with rollout to additional charitable partners in Wards 7 and 8 in subsequent years. The initial seven acres of crops are expected to supply produce for approximately 1,000 families throughout the growing season, with plans to expand to additional acreage and a wider variety of foods in the future.
Plans for the Farm also include youth and adult training programs and experiential education programs, to be phased in between 2017 and 2020, as shown below.