The new President toured a woman-owned microgreens farm in DC
By Anna Spiegel for the Washingtonian
March 9, 2021
Dogs. Jeans. Bagels. Empathy. These are just a few of the regular human things President Biden has shown an affinity for since taking office in January—a big departure from the last four years.
On Tuesday, Biden did what could very well be the most un-Trump thing yet (we’re still processing): He toured a woman-owned microgreens farm in Northeast DC.
Biden dropped by Little Wild Things Farm as part of a visit to small DC businesses that have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, and to highlight changes his administration is making to PPP. He first visited W.S. Jenks & Son, the oldest hardware store in DC, whose building houses two urban farms, including Little Wild Things and Cultivate the City.
Little Wild Things owner Mary Ackley, a career foreign service officer turned urban farmer, says she didn’t think a tour of her facility was on Biden’s schedule. But she asked, he accepted, and she was soon showing the President rows of pea shoots and celery microgreens, radishes and mixed brassicas. A lovely pink light colored the scene from a new hydroponic system that grows edible flowers.
Ackley says her seven-person operation, which pivoted from supplying restaurants to a new delivery “salad share” program during the pandemic, would not have survived without PPP.
“I told him we produced over 18,000 pounds of food last year from this space, and he was really interested in that,” says Ackley of Biden’s visit. Ackley says she gave the President a bag “of the most beautiful micro greens and salad blends we have.” An avid sewer, Ackley also made two Little Wild Things dog bandanas for newly exiled first dogs Major and Champ. She says another member of the White House entourage expressed interest in sourcing her microgreens, shoots, and edible flowers as well as more local produce.
“It’s like a dream come true. We’re the smallest of the small, and we’re working on issues he cares about like climate change,” says Ackley. “We’re trying to move forward and innovate through the pandemic and change the agricultural system. I’m so glad he was able to see the farm and take the time—that extra ten minutes meant so much to us.”
By Anna Spiegel, March 9, 20201