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Local grower provides produce to top D.C. eateries

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Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo.

Published on: Friday, September 27, 2013

By Tracey Gold Bennett

If you like dining in Washington, D.C., it might surprise you to know that your produce just might be coming from local growers in nearby Prince George’s County.

While farming, may not be first thing one thinks about when considering Prince George’s County, history shows the county has deep agricultural roots.

Maryland Agricultural College was first formed in the 1850s in College Park, and it was the very first college in the nation chartered expressly for agricultural experimentation and instruction.

Now, there has been a resurgence and heightened interest in organic farming, agriculture and produce because of the environmental movements and sustainability.

“The county is still very lush and green with many opportunities to grow its own food and treasure its environment. The environment must be restored, reclaimed, protected and preserved. It’s what gives us life and vitality,” said Margarita Morgan-Hubbard, CEO of ECO City Farms in Edmonston.

ECO City Farms is an educational, not-for-profit enterprise located inside the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County. It is designed to serve as a model for sustainable local farming. ECO City Farm’s motto is: We grow great food, farms and farmers.

The produce at ECO City Farms is grown primarily in hoop houses, which allows the organization to grow many items year-round. Hoophouses are like greenhouses but more lightweight and flexible because they are covered in plastic rather than glass. ECO City Farms grows food that has a quick germination and/or long harvest period in order to maximize productivity in its vlimited space.

Some of the produce ECO City farms, a certified naturally grown farm, produces includes radishes, green beans and other kinds of leafy produce.

Food grown at ECO City Farms can be found in some of the hottest restaurants and food establishments in and around Washington, D.C. — Busboys and Poets, Cafe Green, Eatonville Restaurant and Glut Food Coop to name a few.

The fresh, naturally grown and pesticide-free produce is also sold at the Riverdale Park farmers’ market every Thursday. The market is open from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekly at 4650 Queensbury Road.

Morgan-Hubbard said sustainability is particularly important now that the county is moving forward with development and improvements.

“Nothing anywhere should be developed or altered without awareness of the environmental impact and how it affects three things — people, the planet and the economy, which is sustainability,” Morgan-Hubbard said.

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