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Meet Your Farmers: Emily + Learn About Our Partnership with Capital Area Food Bank

As you may already be aware, our CSA not only supplies great produce to members, but also has a social mission through "From the Ground Up," a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank.

The program ensures that more people in the DC metro area have access to healthy, affordable, sustainably grown produce. To that end, FGU runs the Fresh Produce Food Grant Program, a grant program that provides the same produce you enjoy every week to people of low-income throughout the DC metro area.

The FGU Fresh Produce Grant is administered by the Capital Area Food Bank and provides Clagett’s fresh produce to partner organizations throughout the metro area. A guaranteed 40% of the produce grown at Clagett farm goes to feed low-income people every season. This year nine hard-working partners applied for and were awarded the grant, and with it the chance to provide fresh, local food to their clients through meal programs and food distributions. Their clients are hungry kids in aftercare programs, working families, homeless men and women, and people who struggle with terminal illness. In other words, these are the folks who could really use a great meal composed in part of healthy produce packed with nutrients. More info about sharing the harvest is available at the Capital Area Food Bank website.

Emilyclagett The coordinator of the From the Ground Up Produce Grant for the last year has been Emily, a North Carolina native who now lives at Eastern Market. Her time with the farm wraps up in mid-August.

What's your role on the Clagett team?
I coordinate the From the Ground Up Fresh Produce Grant. This means I coordinate the part of the Clagett CSA that goes non-profit feeding programs who are Fresh Produce Grant recipients from the Capital Area Food Bank.  

What kinds of agencies receive Clagett produce?
We have 9 main recipients this year: Allen Chapel AME, Bread For The City, Carl Vogel Center, Damien Ministries, Father McKenna Center, Martha’s Table, Miriam’s Kitchen, True Vine Center, and Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

How did you come to work with Clagett? 
After graduating from college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I decided to do a year of service and applied to Brethren Volunteer Service, or BVS. BVS is similar to many other religious volunteer service programs that invite young adults to serve different communities all over the world. BVS placed me in Washington, DC working for the food bank. 

What do you do when you're not working with Clagett?
When I am not at work I am usually hanging out with one of my 10 roommates, reading, running, or exploring DC in search of the best restaurant. I’ve had mixed success in this particular venture.  

What foods are you most excited about at the farm this year?
Last summer I fell in love with eggplant, so I can hardly wait for those. And of course tomatoes to eat with my eggplant is also very exciting. 

Any favorite recipes or preparations using Clagett produce?
Admittedly, I am not an expert cook and I don’t have any genius recipes. But being from the south I love collards. I usually just boil them and add chili pepper vinegar. Roasted asparagus or sautéed Swiss chard tucked in cheese quesadillas are also a favorite.

Actually, this might be genius. During my orientation last year in Harrisonburg, VA I met a Mennonite couple who made spearmint tea that I really love making from the herb garden. Its pretty much a handful of lemon balm, mint, and stevia that I throw in a water bottle and shake (or boil if you want proper tea). It’s delicious. 

Any particular vegetables you can't stand?
Cauliflower. I’ve never cared for Cauliflower. 

What's the best part of working with a CSA?
Everyone has suggestions for recipes, and everyone is really excited about their new favorite recipe. I love the enthusiasm. 

What have you learned by working with Clagett that you think others would be surprised to know?
I know what kohlrabi is and how to prepare it. I also know that crimson clover is a superb cover crop, and how to build a circular garden bed from the ground up. 

Anything else you'd like to share?
I never thought I would be working in sustainable agriculture, but I have learned so much and really learned to treasure the soil and its value.


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Jennifer Roccanti

We're so grateful for the produce we receive from Clagett! We just picked up more than 600 pounds of amazing vegetables and have been using them in the healthy meals we serve to the homeless. We can't thank you enough for providing us with great food for the most vulnerable among us. **your friends at Miriam's Kitchen**

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