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Gail Taylor

PASA Member Since 2009

Three Part Harmony Farm
Washington DC

Gail Taylor is part of the generation of mostly new and young farmers, who for various reasons, didn’t come from families that farmed recently enough to have the benefit of inheriting land. She comes from a family that, like many Black people who have roots in the South, descended from a legacy of slavery, which was followed by sharecropping and mired in discrimination and extreme cases of lack of opportunity. Her grandfather picked cotton on the same farm in Mississippi that his parents had worked and he escaped that endless cycle of sharecropping poverty by traveling to the industrial North where he worked for a railroad for the rest of his life.

This is an important part of her story and an important part about how she views sustainability in farming. As she works to establish the first commercial urban farm in DC (in this century) she has to constantly emphasize the importance of a society that values its farmers, the hands that feed us, and to emphasize the role of for-profit farms in our urban environments.

Sustainability to her means that it can keep going without end. She explains, “The way I grow happens in a way that rebuilds the soil so that even future generations can keep growing; that the way I use water happens in a way that is resource efficient and not wasteful; that the way I choose which equipment to use keeps in mind that fossil fuels are not a renewable resource; and finally (perhaps most important) that I keep in mind that I will be farming for the rest of my life and I need to make sure that my back, knees, etc. as well as my own financial well-being needs to be as healthy as the food I grow for others.”

PASA’s annual conference has been the most beneficial to her because it's great just to be able to learn from veteran farmers and to be able to ask detailed questions about IPM practices, choice of tools and equipment, varieties that work well, etc. You can only get that from a real person who has already done the trial and error that young farmers like herself haven't experienced yet.

“I joined PASA because it seemed appropriate if I was going to take advantage of the conference, information, networking opportunities, and continuing education opportunities. I think it's important to demonstrate the strength of a member-based organization by being a member of that organization.”

Last year she volunteered with the GMO Right2Know Campaign. She was proud and grateful that PASA came out right away and without hesitation to take a stand against GMOs by sponsoring the March and even encouraging folks to come out when the marchers passed through their area. It was great to have yet another connection with PASA in an on-going manner.

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