photo by Anna Meyer
Hi! I'm Gail Taylor, the owner/ operator of Three Part Harmony Farm (3PH) in Washington, DC.
When I started the farm in 2012, I had a lot of ideas, hopes and dreams. The main goal though, was to create a space where I could grow vegetables for my community and still live in the city, a place I've called home since 1999.
Just a few weeks ago (see photos below), Earthbound Building and 3PH supporters raised a timber frame wash station. This structure is a crucial piece of infrastructure for us, and it literally lays the groundwork (or rather, lays the roof space) needed to acquire the last item on my wish list: SOLAR POWER!
All of the infrastructure we have on the farm has been bought with monetary donations. Items I needed but couldn't buy were donated, such as an actual bike trailer (trust: duct tape is amazing but has limitations when you use it every week to attach a farm cart to a bike.)
We're off the grid in the city. Without electricity for our cooling space, we've done everything from only harvest on distribution days and keep veggies on ice in the shade, to making multiple trips back and forth 2.2 miles to a community center near Howard University, to putting gasoline into a borrowed generator. I kind of don’t want to say out loud how much money I've spent on gas this season because it is embarrassing as an organic farmer to fill up 4 - 8 five gallon gas cans every week. On the other hand, the new ritual cemented for me the value in investing a lot of money upfront for that benefit being spread over the next many years to come.
A Slight Detour Down Memory Lane
In the first three years, we campaigned for what ultimately became a farm bill for all of DC (a law change was necessary to get a lease on the 2-acre parcel we now call home.) Once we got our first lease, we had our first crowdfunding campaign to start adding infrastructure. We bought an irrigation system and a walk-in cooler (that we still use.)
The dream has proven to be contagious, and I never felt alone. Three Part Harmony Farm is often credited with passing the 2014 Farm and Food Security Act, but we are only part of the story. Along the way I recruited DC Greens, I had help from the pro bono law clinic at American University, and other non-profit organizations testified before City Council and helped us lobby to get that bill passed. Dozens of dedicated citizens then joined the DC Food Policy Council that continues to discuss important issues, well after I took a step back to focus on growing vegetables.
Next year will be our 10th year, and I'm just putting it out there to the universe - not really I'm putting it out there to you all, the community that has always supported us! Please help us raise the $30,000 we need to check this last item off of our wish list.
During this fundraising campaign, we'll share reflections and updates, let you know what's happening next year for our special 10th season, and invite you to continue to watch DCs biggest vegetable farm flourish.
This year has been many things, but above all else it has been a window into the beauty of humanity, an opportunity to see how people can come together during a crisis to help each other. We have had the privilege and honor of being part of some of the incredible free food distribution efforts that were a response to the economic crisis made bigger because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to a Diverse City Fund grant, we delivered vegetables to the Ward 1 Mutual Aid Support group in May, June and July. DC Central Kitchen and the Lutheran Ministry at the Dreams & Vision Church in Towson also prioritized putting locally grown veggies in their weekly bags. We actually reached maximum capacity of our mini van during those twice weekly deliveries, all the way up to our scheduled rest period (for staff and soil!) in the summer.
The outpouring of support this year on social media for Black Farmers is incredible: we sold out of retail community supported agriculture boxes in March, and with the additional harvests for the food access distribution we reached our capacity for this season by the end of June. This didn’t stop many chefs from reaching out to us for the first time.
It's good to finally be seen, but we didn’t plant the farm to full capacity this year because there unfortunately hadn’t been the same level of sales requests during the previous years. I went into this season with a simplified crop plan, to match the actual sales we’d managed to get. I started a new job last May, and transitioned our farm into a half-time operation well before the pandemic hit.
photos by Tyler Grigsby
As we have taken a step back from full production this year to work on these infrastructure needs, and to re-group and assess what is possible, I have a renewed faith and enthusiasm that this outpouring of support will continue in the future. I look forward to the coming year when we can be in full-time operation again. I know that we can feed many more neighbors!
We need one more piece of infrastructure to keep us moving efficiently and effectively towards that goal. Help us get the solar panels we need to grow more vegetables, grow our self-sufficiency and grow our communities in the process.
- Lindsay Morris
- Francis Siaya
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more