The Farm at Walker Jones is a emerging urban farm that serves the great kids, families and neighbors of Walker Jones Education Campus, a DC Public School. Ground was broken in July of 2010, and during that first abbreviated growing season, we raised over 3,000 pounds of food that found its way to many in our community including students, families, the residents of two neighboring retirement communities, DC Central Kitchen, and all the great volunteers that came out to help make the school’s vision a reality.
Now in its fourth growing season, the farm is continuing to evolve into the urban oasis of which the planners dreamed, an embodiment of both the Healthy Schools Act emphasising nutrition for inner-city youth, as well as a model for a host of objectives in the Sustainable DC Plan recently announced by DC Mayor Vincent Gray. In addition to our food production efforts, we have installed a large scale butterfly garden outside our gate in conjunction with the Monarch Sister Schools Program, set up house for three very active beehives currently maintained by Toni Burnham of DC Beekeepers along with our Junior Beekeepers, and have continued to refine our planting areas as may be seen in the redesigned perennial herb bed. We have now installed a watering station and an irrigation system connected to a cistern system and covered classroom area as a part of our participation in the RiverSmart School program, administered by the Department of the Environment here in DC. Casey Trees also lent us support by installing persimmon trees that flank the fig trees we planted two years ago.
The Farm at Walker Jones serves the greater community in which it resides, but it is, first and foremost, an extension of the educational hopes and dreams for the students of Walker Jones Education Campus. It is an outdoor classroom where experiential learning integrated into the school curriculum happens side by side with the social and emotional education required to train the leaders of tomorrow. At Walker Jones, we educate the whole child, and that includes reminding that child that the foods we eat are as important as the books we read. All of our crops are “kid grown, mother approved”!