Gail Taylor, Owner of Three Part Harmony Farm
Food as Medicine, Food as Culture, Food for our Future
Our mantra here is laid out in our butterfly logo. The garlic signifies food as medicine. While we aim to grow the most nutrient dense produce we can and keep people well, nothing says “food is medicine” quite like hardneck garlic which is a cure-all because of its anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties. Food as Culture: I’m part of a “return generation” of young, Black farmers who’ve descended from the children of the great migration. My grandfather grew up picking cotton in Mississippi as a sharecropper but left the fields to travel north to work in the railroads. In my return to the land, I grow cotton to honor him (and my ancestors) who toiled the land under much different circumstances. Food for our future: I’m part of a seed keeping collective that grows and preserves heritage, heirloom seeds and their stories. Three Part Harmony farm specifically grows the corn seed because our unique, isolated location means we can grow corn without contamination from neighboring GMO crops that are so prevalent on more rural farms.
Where to Find our Produce
85% of our produce is distributed through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Over 100 members sign up in the spring and pay for their vegetables in advance. They receive a weekly “share” of the harvest on Thursday evenings. We have pick up locations in Shaw, Brookland and Takoma Park. The CSA members basically give the farm a zero interest loan since the bills for seeds, compost, plants, straw mulch etc are all due in full before we harvest the first spinach leaf. In return, our entire season is based around creating an incredible share for our members each week, and we supplement our vegetables with items from co-op partners who produce eggs, mushrooms, medicinal herbs, flowers, micro greens, and occasionally fruit.
In April and May we produce healthy seedling starts that are specially designed to thrive in the DC region. They are available exclusively at the Annie’s Ace hardware stores in Petworth and Brooklnd. We also sell the seedlings at the Petworth farmer’s market and make them available to our CSA members.
Restaurant sales: we do a few restaurant sales in partnership with Little Wild Things city farm. We also deliver to places like Pansaari, a unique Indian grocery store and restaurant (located at 17th and Q) owned by Hot Spot Dupont student Rano Singh.
Food Justice and Food Accessibility
The wing of our farm that grows and sells vegetables does so in part to subsidize another aspect that is really important to our farming philosophy: making sure that people of all income levels have access to heathy food. We partner with non profits to set up farmer’s market stands east of the Anacostia river where grocery stores and farmer’s markets are not as ubiquitous as say, around Dupont Circle. We partner with the Dorothy Day Catholic worker house to distribute produce weekly in Petworth. We also work with organizations striving to change the food system and build grassroots based networks to bring more justice to our food system.
Oh Yes! Yoga is Necessary
This all sounds way more exciting than it is. Really, everyday I wake up early and spend hours and hours doing monotonous physical work, taxing my body in all kinds of ways. I have been practicing at Hot Spot Dupont for longer than I have been farming, and I don’t think I could look forward to growing old as a vegetable farmer without that regular yoga practice. On a daily level, the practice heals my body when the lifting and pulling and struggling put my muscles out of whack. And on a mental level I am so grateful to be able to access the truth we learn in the yoga room: that the yoga mat is an indicator of how we’ll respond to challenges once we get out of the room. Each 90 minute class is an opportunity to practice how breathing slowly and with intention will help me move past the overwhelming feeling I have either during a hard class or during an extreme weather disaster.
Every day at the farm starts the same, but each day is different, exactly like yoga class!
Increasingly more and more, being a flexible farmer is a requirement in this era of changing climates. I give 100% credit to my yoga practice for equipping me with the poise and grace it takes to juggle the million moving parts of a small, diversified vegetable operation in the city.
My wish for all farmers is that they would have time each week for the healing power of yoga! Thank you Hot Spot Dupont :)