The Rest is Silence

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

This will unfortunately be the final entry on this blog as it is clear that promises made were hollow and apparently just political rhetoric designed to put off answering difficult questions in the build-up to the City’s mayoral primary last month. Since the very successful Community Action Day on March 8th which demonstrated the groundswell of community support for the Farm and more importantly for our students and their families, there has been zero communication from the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, zero communication from the Chief of Staff for DC Public Schools, zero communication from the Instructional Superintendent for the cluster of schools overseeing the Walker Jones Education Campus, and zero communication or action by the Principal of the school, despite repeated requests for information, decisions, and action.

All the seed for the some 100 different crops that are normally grown on the Farm needed to be purchased in March; the early Spring direct seeded crops such as peas and beans planted, and the mid-season seedling crops such as tomatoes peppers, eggplants started by April; and the deadline for other major crops such as collards and kale (that needed to be planted in time for harvest prior to the end of the school year so students could take their produce home) was past due last week. None has been purchased, let alone planted; no students for the school have had a chance to work on the farm.

Unfortunately too, several important tasks needed to be done in order to preserve our organic designation (composting, hand weeding in accordance with the minimal-till regime, beneficial organism breeding and release, non-chemical pre-season maintenance of fruit trees and soft fruit gardens, etc.) but have not been and so even if work was started tomorrow, we will no longer be permitted to hold the organic-squared designation we earned last season.

As with the South Central Farm of Los Angeles which was in operation between 1994 and 2006 when urban farmers were evicted but with promises of “relocation” that have yet to be honored, so seems to be the fate of the Farm at Walker Jones. As of April 2014, the site of the South Central Farm is still a derelict lot. The only real difference with the Farm at Walker Jones is that this 1-acre site will soon hold the retail/residential space that has now become the symbol of gentrification in DC where the concepts of affordable housing and food justice are ignored in the face of the tax revenue that will swell the City’s coffers.




  1. […] The Farm at Walker Jones bids adieu. [WJFarm] […]

  2. This is no substitute for the advice of an attorney, and may not apply in Washington, but the following may point the WJ Farm to an interim solution:

    What rights do I have to harvest the growing crops on his land now that my lease has been terminated?

    Short Answer: The “doctrine of emblements” applies to this situation and, if certain requirements are met, the tenant does have the right to enter the property and harvest the crops.

    Detailed Answer: The doctrine of emblements is an equitable doctrine designed to protect farmland lessees. Under the doctrine of emblements, a former tenant has the right to re-enter the leased property to cultivate, harvest, and remove crops that were planted prior to the termination of the tenancy. In order for this doctrine to apply, the following elements must be proven: (1) the tenancy was for an uncertain duration; (2) the termination was due to an act of God or by an act of the landlord and the termination was no fault of the tenant and was done without his previous knowledge; and (3) the crop was planted by the tenant during his right of occupancy.
    (1) Uncertain duration: In order for the doctrine of emblements to apply, the lease at issue must be for an uncertain duration. Many times, parties have unwritten leases or leases that have continued on for years without certain termination dates. These leases would fall under the doctrine. Further, a lease for a set period of time, but which could end based on certain circumstances prior to the conclusion of the set time period is considered to be a lease of uncertain duration for which the doctrine can apply. Additionally, if the parties to a lease for a certain duration agreed to allow a crop to be planted with knowledge or agreement that harvest would occur after the lease terminated, the tenant may still have a right to the growing crops. Generally, however, a lease for a specific duration of time, such as a lease that will terminate on a certain date, would not be within the doctrine.
    (2) Termination due to act of God or landlord and not the fault or with knowledge of the tenant: Not surprisingly, the doctrine does not apply to situations where the tenant is at fault for the termination. For example, if a tenant is evicted from the property for failure to pay rent, he or she is not entitled to harvest the crops that were planted during the lease.
    (3) Crop planted during right of occupancy: In order for the doctrine to apply, the crop must have been planted during the time that the tenant was permitted access to the property. For example, if a landlord terminated a lease in March, but the tenant trespassed and planted crops in April, the tenant would have no right to harvest those crops. Similarly, if the tenant knows that a landlord claims possession to the property or that a lawsuit regarding title of the property is pending at the time he or she plants the crop, the doctrine offers the tenant no protection.

    From: http://agrilife.org/texasaglaw/2013/10/15/question-from-tiffanys-desk-harvesting-crops-after-lease-terminates/

  3. […] The Farm at Walker Jones bids adieu. [WJFarm] […]

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