City Orchard: Fall Report

BFC’s City Orchard, in Beltsville, MD, grows fruits and vegetables for our clients nearly all year long! In October and November 2017, the Sustainable Agriculture division harvested almost 5,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables. This equates to over 3,000 servings of fresh, local, nutrient-dense produce distributed to DC residents through our farm to pantry operations.

The Sustainable Agriculture team engaged almost 300 volunteers at orchard workdays, including MG2, FINRA, The Field School, and several returning client volunteers. Read on to learn more in our City Orchard Fall Report!

Feature on Black Dirt Farm Collective

This year we had a shortage of sweet potatoes from both Capital Area Food Bank and City Orchard, so we put our heads together to find an alternative fresh source for our Holiday Helpings bags. From our connections in the local farming community, we found out that Black Dirt Farm Collective had 400+ pounds of sweet potatoes they needed to sell.

Black Dirt Farm Collective is an agrarian, creative, artisanal collective of young, returning-generation peasant-farmers, artists and musicians, and mothers and fathers. Two members of the collective currently lease 3 acres from 160-acre Mount Pleasant Acres Farm, which is owned and operated by two African-American women affectionately known as “the aunties.”  We trekked out to this land on the Eastern Shore to collect and purchase over 400 pounds of organically grown sweet potatoes. This is one way we support racial equity in the local food system.

Community Engagement

We hosted our last Farm Tour & Fruit and Vegetable Picking event in October. Specifically for clients, we host this monthly event in order to further the Sustainable Agriculture division’s goals of promoting agricultural education, sustainability and nutrition in our community. At the event, participants get to learn about the farm and UDC’s program offerings; expand their knowledge about local food systems and nutrition while picking their own produce; and bag up the extra harvest for the food pantry.


In the last 2 months, our volunteers, staff and Purple Mountain Organics together:

  • Harvested, processed and distributed almost 5,000 pounds of produce.
  • Removed plants and landscape fabric from the sweet potato field, in order to prepare for harvest.
  • Removed landscape fabric from our veggie plot and some of UDC’s veggie plots we have gleaned from, so the fields can be planted with cover crops for the winter.

We need you!

Bread for the City’s Sustainable Ag division needs your help! As funding for City Orchard has recently expired, we are currently seeking new funding opportunities to continue our commitment to addressing food access and food security inequities that impact DC residents experiencing economic insecurity.

Donate: | Leave the comment “Sustain Ag”

2 New comments

Taquiana jefferson | Reply

Hi, i will like to be apart of your volunteer group ! And learn how to farm! Please call at 1xxxxxxxxxx.

    Sonya Springfield | Reply

    We look forward to having you with us! Sign up online at In 2018, our final session is Tuesday, November 20th, but we hope to see you next spring!

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