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A Green-way on the Highway

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on May 25,2011
Filed Under News , Community, Entertainment , Local Style, Food And Wine , Local Tastes,

Photo by John Arundel<br /> <br />Showcasing the spring flowers at Virginia Florist, off Richmond Highway in the Belle View Shopping Center. <br />
Photo by John Arundel
Showcasing the spring flowers at Virginia Florist, off Richmond Highway in the
Belle View Shopping Center.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - When they say fresh, they mean it.
A new collaborative effort by Arcadia and Woodlawn Plantation has resulted in vegetables being grown on a small plot of land at Woodlawn served at local restaurants just hours after it's harvested.

This local food movement provides experiential learning and bridges the farm-to-consumer gap by distributing fresh, locally-produced foods to the Washington, DC area.

Photo by Gale Curcio<br /> <br />Mint plants grow in containers at the Arcadia Center.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio
Mint plants grow in containers at the Arcadia

Founded by Neighborhood Restaurant Group co-owner Michael Babin, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture is a non-profit organization that Babin created in cooperation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Arcadia will distribute locally-produced foods to the D.C. area as well as provide experiential learning opportunities for schools and the community at large.

Get a tour of Arcadia’s farm and sample food from Star Catering and local restaurants at next weekend’s Green-way on the Highway event.

This new community festival will be held on Sunday, June 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at Woodlawn Plantation. Admission is free.
It is sponsored by the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), Woodlawn Plantation and Arcadia.
Not only will there be tastings of a variety of food, but there will also be plenty of activities for children, exciting giveaways and opportunities to win prizes.

Visitors will discover that many Richmond Highway businesses are using and selling sustainable products every day. They will also learn that there are LEED Certified Homes and Businesses on Richmond Highway, with more on the way.

“The Arcadia Center will bring into the present day the long history of experimental farming at Woodlawn, from George Washington to the mid-19th century Quaker owners," said David J. Brown, executive vice president of the National Trust. "We’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Center to further educational programs about food and agriculture at Woodlawn.”

Susan Hellman, deputy director at Woodlawn Plantation, said that Arcadia is leasing five acres from Woodlawn; an acre of which is currently cultivated. They are growing hops on clotheslines, brussel sprouts, radishes, herbs and other spring plants.

Maureen Moody is the farm director and manages not only the planting, but also the volunteer groups who provide their time to work on the farm.

Photo by Gale Curcio<br /> <br />Hops planted along clothesline will fill in to form a fun tunnel for children to explore.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Hops planted along clothesline will fill in to
form a fun tunnel for children to explore.

“The hops are a perennial plant that will provide a fun, living garden for children to explore,” said Moody.

Pat Lutes, director of Arcadia, added that the blossoms on the hops are very fragrant and can also be used for potpourri.

Both Hellman and Laurie Ossman, director of the Woodlawn and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, are very excited about this new venture.
“It just seemed to work so well to bring the site back to its true farming roots," Hellman said. "It dovetails with the Historic Trust mission.”

Hellman said that there are 126 acres in all, but not all of them are farmable.
In keeping with the sustainable effort, they have tapped into the original well to water the garden. They are also using compost bins and have set up some bee hives.

Maintaining the garden has been a learning process. Fencing had to be installed to protect against the multitude of deer that roam the plantation; several of the bees decided to fly away and groundhogs continue to be voracious eaters, devouring the entire crop of pea plants.

In addition to radishes and herbs, Lutes said that they have also produced bok choi, kea shoots, lettuces and micro greens.

Produce has been used by chefs at Tallula, Birch & Barley, Vermillion and Evening Star Café.

“They are small amounts – usually just enough for one night’s worth for a tasting menu, but it’s just one hour lag time between the time that it is picked out of the dirt until it goes to the table,” said Lutes.

Businesses and other organizations that use sell or promote green and sustainable products will also participate in this event that celebrates how the Richmond Highway Corridor is becoming a cleaner, safer and greener place to live, work and play. Listed below are some of the participating businesses and their green initiatives.

Photo by Gale Curcio<br /> <br />One acre is currently between farmed, with potential for much more cultivation in the future.
Photo by Gale Curcio
One acre is currently between farmed, with potential
for much more cultivation in the future.

In support of the Renewable Portfolio Standard passed by the Virginia General Assembly to encourage the development of renewable energy in the Commonwealth, Dominion Virginia Power is developing plans to increase the amount of renewable energy provided to customers based on the following schedule that Dominion will be striving to achieve.

The Dominion Green Power program which launched on January 1, 2009 allows customers to voluntarily support the production and development of electricity generated from renewable sources.
This program offers a convenient and cost effective option for customers to match all or part of their electrical usage with renewable energy.  
In Virginia, Dominion is committed to meeting a voluntary goal of 15 percent of base year electricity energy sales from renewable energy sources by 2025.

Doctors Express Mount Vernon makes efficient use of power in their new office that opened on Richmond Highway in April.
Doctors Express Mount Vernon fills a gap for medical services in the Mount Vernon and Alexandria area. They open at 8 a.m. seven days a week and close at 8 p.m., except for Saturday and Sunday, when they close at 6 p.m.

A franchised operation with over 30 other locations, Doctors Express is different than some other urgent care facilities in that it provides high-quality, urgent care right in the neighborhood. Patients will always see a board-certified doctor and all nurses and x-ray technicians are licensed professionals.

Solo Flooring of Alexandria uses SmartStand with DuPont™ and EverStrand fibers, which are two ground-breaking methods to manufacturing carpet. These renewably sourced ingredients replace ingredients that traditionally were derived from petroleum – a limited resource.

Every seven yards of SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona renewably sourced polymer saves the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.
SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona renewably sourced polymer contains ingredients made from corn sugar – 37% of renewable resource. In addition to these carpet alternatives, Solo Flooring utilizes green hardwood floors like bamboo, cork and reclaimed heart pine wood, and leather flooring.

A-Line Architecture, LLC is a full-service architecture firm, located in Alexandria, VA. They have experience in architecture and design focusing on new construction and renovation of commercial, residential, interiors, space planning and functional art projects.  

The firm takes a holistic approach to all projects implementing design excellence with multi-sensory, sustainable, energy-efficient and cost-effective solutions. A-Line Architecture is registered in Virginia and Maryland, available for registration in other states - NCARB certified and LEED AP. They are also a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and International Building Code (ICC).  

ServiceMaster of Alexandria, VA, Ft. Washington, MD & Washington D.C. belongs to Green Seal, an independent, non-profit organization that uses science-based standards and the power of the marketplace to create a more sustainable world. Products & services certified with the Green Seal are perfect for those serious about being environmentally proactive. ServiceMaster is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.

Maid Brigade is Green Seal Certified and uses only green cleaning products that must meet several important criteria, including: no carcinogens; o human or aquatic toxins; no reproductive toxins; non-corrosive to eyes or skin; low volatile organic content; non-flammable; effective for intended use; formulated and packaged for reduced environmental impact; and microfiber cloths and mops to remove more dust, dirt and germs with fewer green cleaning products.

The goal of Continuum Energy Solutions is to benefit the world through the installation of commercial and residential solar energy systems that reduce carbon emissions using free energy from the sun. CES began as Metro Gutter and Home Services, a 20-year business with clean energy consultants already experienced in reliable and safe roofing techniques.  

MOM's Organic Market sells only 100% certified USDA organic produce, buys local, offers ink cartridge, plastic bottle-cap and C.F.L. bulb drop off recycling as a service to all customers and employees. One hundred percent of the power for their stores comes from wind power.

Chipotle provides ‘Food with Integrity,’ via family farmers as a source of local and organic produce and animals are raised humanly without using antibiotics or synthetic hormones.

In addition, several nonprofit organizations will be on hand to demonstrate how they reduce, reuse and recycle. Several levels of sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are still available. A portion of the sponsorship will benefit The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.

For more information on the event, visit

For more information on sponsor and exhibitor opportunities, please contact Tony Fontana at (703) 360-5008 or  

For more information about Arcadia, contact Pat Lute at or visit

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