Three Part Harmony Farm owner Gail Taylor stands in her Ward 5 farm. (Courtesy photo/Three Part Harmony Farm website)

Most District residents go to grocery stores or corner retail outlets to buy their food but Gail Taylor, the owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Ward 5, wants people to consider her business which provides fresh, natural and organic foods for nourishment.

Three Part Harmony Farm [TPHF] stands as a two-acre parcel, small scale agroecological farm close to Trinity Washington University in Northeast. The farm specializes in growing mainly vegetables in addition to herbs and cut-flowers using sustainability methods and without chemical pesticides or herbicides.

“We are the biggest production farm in the city,” Taylor said. “I own the business. We started in 2012 to have locally-grown vegetables for people in the city instead of going to the grocery store all the time.”

Taylor’s farm grows vegetables for its community supported agriculture program based on a District-focused economic model of farming and food distribution. She does not sell to consumers but to distributors. Member retailers pay in advance to pick a share of the harvest throughout the growing season. 

Taylor said presently there are 100 customers with many buying into the 26-week subscription of food from her farm. She said selling the produce before the season lets her and the farm volunteers focus on working the land. A District group of priests owns the land and Taylor operates as a tenant.

“The priests are very good to us,” she said. “We always make it a point to bring them our extra vegetables. But there are rules. We cannot have a farm stand on the land. We cannot operate on Sundays – that’s the Lord’s Day. There can be no distribution on the site.”

Taylor and her volunteers deliver the vegetables to selected retailers and sites throughout the city including Annie’s Ace Hardware Store in Brookland. Much of their business occurs May through November during which they harvest their crops and share their vegetables with customers twice a week.

Taylor said her top three crops, not necessarily in that order, are greens, garlic and turnips. The crops she grows depends on how bountiful they can be given the soil. 

She started her farming career in 2005 volunteering for a farm in Maryland. Taylor said she really enjoyed the experience and approached the farm owner who hired her for a paying position. In 2012, she struck out on her own with a desire to increase the number of Black farmers in the District and to let African Americans know that farming remains open to them.

“Black people should know where their food comes from,” she said. “Eating freshly grown food truly nourishes our body. People should know that the vitamins that they take in come from food grown out of the ground.”

On March 9, the Bowser administration, in concert with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development and Capital Impact Partners, announced the awarding of $400,000 in Nourish DC grants to nine District businesses of color located in Wards 5, 7 and 8. The grants are designed to spur the development of the city’s food ecosystem in an attempt to make it more equitable. 

TPHF received a grant for $50,000m much to Taylor’s elation. 

“I will use the money for farming support,” she said. “I am happy there is a program in D.C. that supports businesses that advocate for healthy food options in the city.”

@JamesWrightJr10

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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1 Comment

  1. This is a wonderful story. I would love to figure out a way to support and encourage city farming!!!

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