How Gail Taylor is leading the way to urban farming in Washington, DC
This food hero is promoting pathways for people to have access to public and private lands to grow food to nourish people in urban areas, while shortening the distance from farm to fork
Photo Credit Anna Meyer
Gail Taylor is the Owner and Operator at Three Part Harmony Farm, a small-scale agroecological farm in northeast Washington, DC. This small urban farm is on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway, Pamunkey, and Nacotchank Peoples. She established the farm to grow food for people, while creating a viable and just local food economy. She is a member of the Black Dirt Farm Collective with farmers, educators, scientists, agrarians, seed keepers, organizers, and researchers guiding a political education process.
“My motivation, originally, was to learn more about where good food comes from and understand how produce finds its way from a farm to the grocery store,” said Gail.
Working the land was a way for Gail to connect with her ancestors and be part of the Return Generation, bringing dignity and vibrant livelihoods back into food systems.
“My great-grandfather saved money to buy the empty lot next to his house and became known for his tremendously huge garden. Somewhere in my subconscious, I think I knew that returning to the land would be a life-changing event for me,” she said.
A tireless advocate for social justice issues, Gail led the three-year “I Want DC to Grow” campaign that resulted in the passage of the DC Food Security Act of 2014, also known as DC’s Farm Bill. The Act set the stage for Three Part Harmony and other urban farmers to grow commercially in the District by incentivizing the use of privately owned land for urban farming and community gardens. However, she explains the state still lags behind in the services that the Department of Agriculture provides to farmers in other states.