The Capital Area Food Bank co-sponsors From the Ground Up to bring nutritious, fresh produce to communities of all income levels throughout the Washington, D.C. area.
The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) co-sponsors From the Ground Up (FGU) at Clagett Farm in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). FGU helps educate the public about the relationship between agriculture, the environment, the food supply and hunger.
FGU is an effort to demonstrate sustainable agriculture, while addressing issues of hunger and the need for a supply of fresh produce among low-income neighborhoods. Crops are grown in an environmentally sensitive manner on a portion of Clagett Farm that was established on land donated to CBF. Nearly half of the produce grown on Clagett Farm is distributed to low-income families in the Washington, D.C. area through a “Fresh Produce Grant.” This “food grant” bolsters local organizations feeding programs with much needed fresh produce. The other half of FGU Shares are sold through a direct marketing system called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
Community Supported Agriculture is a national initiative to connect local farmers with local customers for expanded development of a regional food supply and strengthening of the local economy. A national database provides information on CSA Farms by City, State, or Zip Code. Additional information and materials about CSA are available through USDA’s Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
The FGU CSA is an arrangement for consumers to pre-purchase a share of the harvest from Clagett Farm. Various types of membership are available, including working as a volunteer to cover the cost of membership. Food may be picked up at the farm or at several distribution sites in Washington, D.C. Pick-your-own opportunities are also provided for people to garner additional fruits and vegetables beyond the items received as part of membership shares. Additional information is available through Clagett Farm Notes on the CBF web site.
FGU provides opportunities for youth educational programs through Farm Youth Initiative (FYI) program. FYI assists children at risk of hunger in developing a greater awareness of the origins, sources, and nutritional value of fresh, chemical free fruits and vegetables. Children from CAFB Kids Cafe sites participate through hands-on activities and field trips to Clagett Farm
FGU was featured in an article from the Washington Post that appeared on May 6, 2004.
Over 45 different vegetables are grown through FGU. In response to a 2004 Survey, 85% of FGU CSA members thought the cost of membership was worth the price.
Susan Topping, Harvest for Health Program Manager