wHO WE ARE
Little Wild Things City Farm produces soil-grown microgreens, salad greens, and edible flowers on less than one-quarter acre in the heart of Washington, D.C.
We believe that environmentally sustainable, commercially viable farming is possible in urban landscapes—and we're proving it.
As a first generation farm, we combine the best of time-honored sustainable growing techniques with new innovations and a disciplined business focus to achieve high yields from our very small growing spaces.
We seek to develop relationships with customers who share our values to create a transformative impact on our local food system.
OUR GROWING PRACTICES
Our produce is Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), which means that we use organic growing methods and never use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs. The main difference between organic certification and CNG is that CNG relies on peer-to-peer inspections by other CNG growers and is more focused on transparency and direct relationships. Learn more about CNG produce standards here. We are also learning to use biologically intensive agriculture principles to sustainably achieve high yields from our very small growing space. As a first generation farm, we are constantly researching innovations in farming, trying new techniques, and learning as we grow. Some of our favorite models and farmers from whom we've learned include: Green City Acres (Curtis Stone) in Kelowna, British Colombia, Les Jardins de la Grelinette (Jean Martin-Fortier) in Quebec, Polyface Farms in Swope, VA, and the SPIN Farming models.
We source our compost locally from Veteran Compost and buy the majority of our seeds from these great seed companies:Johnny's Selected Seeds (ME); Mountain Valley Seeds (UT); Todd's Seeds (MI); and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA).
Meet the Farmers
Mary Ackley, Founder & Chief Veggie Officer
Little Wild Things City Farm is the dream of founder Mary Ackley. Mary discovered her love of plants in a graduate school botany course at the University of Vermont. Later, she began experimenting with urban gardening while living overseas in Colombo, Sri Lanka for her job with the U.S. Foreign Service. She continued to garden when she returned to Washington, D.C. in 2013 where she helped found the Harry Thomas Community Garden in Eckington in 2014. She decided to turn her gardening habit into something more in 2014 and is enjoying her third season on the farm. Mary was a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji from 2003-05, holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Natural Resources Management, and previously worked in international development.
Chelsea Barker, Director of Operations
Chelsea is the Director of Operations for Little Wild Things City Farm. She dreams of a future in which children are encouraged to grow up to become farmers within a food system based on seasonality, ethical and organic practices, and access for all. Chelsea developed her love of growing food working for organic and educational farms in Massachusetts, California, Tennessee, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, 2011-2012. She holds a B.A. from Maryville College, is a Master Gardener, and completed her Permaculture Design Certification in 2014. She's never met a variety of lettuce she didn't like.
WHAT OUR PARTNERS SAY:
"Working with Mary and Chelsea over the past several months has been incredible. I was lucky to find a team of urban farmers who really care about what they are growing and really want to have a relationship with the chefs and restaurants they provide for. Communication is key in any relationship and we constantly talk about what works, what doesn't, and whats next so its ever-changing and evolving." -Johnny Spero, Head Chef, Columbia Room, 2016
"Each Peach loves working with Little Wild Things - we're proud to champion a product that is grown with care within DC! The new online portal is simple to use and makes keeping a weekly subscription order a breeze. Mary and Chelsea are always prompt in answering any questions I have and the microgreens looks spectacular every time! They're incredible to work with and I would definitely recommend them!" - Each Peach Market, 2016
"Little Wild Things literally “completes us”: their micro greens are the finishing touch on every one of our tacos. Grown right here on home soil, thank you for being such an AMAZING partner. "
-Bettina Stern, Co-Founder, Chaia, 2016
"Little Wild Things is incredibly easy to work with and order from. On top of that they have the most beautiful, delicious produce grown in the DC area. It truly makes a huge difference in our end product. "
-Timber Pizza Company, 2016
"As a DC-based catering company focusing on local ingredient sourcing, we were delighted to begin partnering with Little Wild Things last year, not only because it's a farm in the same DC quadrant as us (can't get more local than that!!), but also because their microgreens truly are the best! Always fresh, beautiful, and even grown to order, Little Wild Things has been a dream to work with in providing us high quality products that take our food to "extraordinary" in design and taste." -Eat & Smile Catering, 2016
What We Grow:
We offer over 50 unique varieties of microgreens, shoots and edible flowers. Below is a list of our most popular varieties, but this list isn't exhaustive. Please reach out if you have a request for a specific variety or custom blend. Visit the HOW IT WORKS tab to shop wholesale online or find retail vendors (online and local to the greater Washington D.C., area).
- China Rose Radish (green with pink stem)
- Daikon Radish (green with white stem)
- Sango Radish (mixed deep purple and green)
- Signature Radish Blend (china rose + sango)
- Sunflower shoots (indoors year-round or field-grown May-Oct)
- Buckwheat shoots
- Nasturtium shoots and leaves (see flowers also below)
- Pea shoots (indoors year-round or field-grown available April-May & Oct-Dec)
- Popcorn Shoots (blanched)
- Red Russian Kale
- Purple Kohlrabi
- Mustard (Mizuna, Tatsoi, Garnet Giant)
- Beets (Bull's Blood)
- Cress (Curled)
- Micro Basil (Purple Opal, Genovese, Thai, Lemon, Italian)
- Red & Golden Acre Cabbage
- Swiss Chard (Ruby Red)
- Shiso (korean perilla, vietnamese)
- Sorrel (red-veined and large leaf green)
- Edible Chrysanthemum (Shungiku)
EDIBLE FLOWERS & Garnishes (SEASONAL AVAILABILITY VARIES):
- Mixed edible flowers (curated seasonally, also available through our partner Coastal Sunbelt Produce)
- Violas & Pansies (multi-color and size options). IN SEASON NOW (WINTER, 2017)
- Perennial Phlox
- Marigolds (Lemon, Tangerine & Red Gem, and Durango)
- Bachelor's Buttons
- Herb flowers (sage, oregano, thyme, cilantro, anise hyssop, chive, cilantro, yarrow, lavender, arugula)
- Squash blossoms
- Sweet alyssum
- Chrysanthemum (coming in 2018)
- Tangerine Lace (tender marigold leaves)
- Yarrow greens
- Nasturtium leaves
- Signature Shoot Salad (delicate blend of pea, sunflower, buckwheat, popcorn, radish and nasturtium shoots, suitable as a stand-alone salad mix) Also available through our partner, Coastal Sunbelt Produce.
- Radish Blend (purple sango radish & china rose radish)
- Spicy Mix (arugula, radish, mustard)
- Mild Mix (red russian kale, broccoli, red acre cabbage)
- Mizuna Mix (red and green mizunas)
- Signature Mustard Mix (mizunas, red and green mustards)
- 2017/18 Winter Mix (purple kohlrabi, red cabbage, arugula)