Two new urban farms are coming to Washington D.C.
In February, the city’s Department of General Services awarded two plots of land totaling 20,000 square feet. One, in Ward 4, went to Jeremy Brosowsky and his company, Agricity. Brosowsky plans to grow both food and flowers at his farm in both greenhouses and raised beds. The other, in Ward 6, went to Apogee Farms and founder Thomas Langan, a native of nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Langan plans to grow greens and culinary herbs hydroponically in a greenhouse.
"Those are the best way we could handle a large amount of production and feed as many people as possible," Langan says of growing greens and culinary herbs. His hope is to begin growing in the next eight to 12 months, depending on how long it takes for city permits for be processed.
"It's a great little neighborhood," Langan says of the farm site. "I've talked to the neighbors and they pretty excited about what's coming." He's also partnering with an organization called Cultivate the City to have students from a nearby school participate in educational programs at the greenhouse.
The Department of General Services received five applicants for the spaces after initially calling for submissions last year. Applicants were required to live in Washington D.C. or operate a business incorporated in the district. They also had to have prior experience in agriculture; Brosowsky owns a composting company in D.C. and Langan previously was a cannabis grower for a medical dispensary in Colorado.
Both Brosowky and Langan were awarded five-year leases with the chance to extend them for up to 13 years. The city does not require payment for the lease, but pay for construction, utilities and their own operating costs.
Langan says he's been working on the concept for Apogee Farms for the past two years with the goal of being ready to jump at a chance to build the farm in D.C. For him, it was the only city where he wanted to own a farm because his family is there and he loves the city. This program gave him that chance.
"Start-up costs are really significant and it's huge boost for us," Langan says of getting picked. "The legislation passed has given me a chance, honestly."