National Colonial Farm

est. 1958
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    National Colonial Farm

    18th century agriculture

The National Colonial Farm is a historic farm museum established by the Accokeek Foundation in 1958. The farm demonstrates 18th century agriculture by preserving rare breed of animals and crops. Structures located within the farm site are open to the public and include a circa 1770 farm dwelling, an 18th century tobacco barn, and an out-kitchen.

The kitchen garden features 18th century varieties of herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Historic varieties of field crops such as “Orinoco” tobacco, “Virginia Gourdseed” corn are grown and cultivated for seed. The National Colonial Farm is a recognized leader in the field of historic plant preservation.

Ecosystem Farm

est. 1992

Established in 1992, the Ecosystem Farm is a model of sustainable agriculture through research, demonstration, and education programs. This 8-acre solar-powered farm engages learners of all ages in sustainable practices through a display garden themed, sustainably-minded system. Whether you’re interested in fruit forests, skin-care gardens, orchards, wetland habitats, composting, trading labor for veggies, growing fields or planting a window box, the Ecosystem Farm has something for you. We welcome you to come and learn as we grow!

View our Pretty Produce grown on the Farm!

Ecosystem Farm Workshare Volunteer Positions

Ecosystem Farm Workshare Volunteer Corps: Learn about sustainable agriculture and growing your own food by volunteering on the foundation’s 8-acre Ecosystem Farm!

The Accokeek Foundation is seeking workshare volunteers for the growing season. If you are interested in the principles of sustainable agriculture and farm market operations, and are able to commit to 2 – 4 hours per week, then join the Ecosystem Farm Workshare Corps. As a workshare corps volunteer, you will receive a weekly share of produce in exchange for the opportunity to be stewards of the land, and working on a nonprofit, educational farm operation as you learn about growing produce, raising chickens and egg production, permaculture, and farming sustainably.

Workshare opportunities include:

  • Field Crew – Field Crew volunteers will help with field prep, sowing seed, setting irrigation, weed management, and general farm tasks. This opportunity is ideal for someone who enjoys physical work and getting dirty, and is eager to learn about principles of sustainable agriculture such as seasonality, permaculture, and propagation from cuttings.

Scheduling: Tuesday and Thursday afternoons; Friday morning, and Saturday morning(please note: times vary throughout growing season)

  • Market Crew – Market Crew volunteers will help farm staff at on- or off-site markets with set-up and breakdown, greeting customers, and processing payments. Knowledge about farm produce, and cooking and eating seasonally is ideal, but not required.

Scheduling: First Saturday of each month, 8 am-3 pm.

To apply: Complete the Accokeek Foundation’s online volunteer application form, or contact Casey Lowe at volunteers@accokeek.org.

Museum Garden

Agricultural Education
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    Educational Space

    Sustainable Agriculture

Maintained with the help of volunteers, the Museum Garden is an educational space that explores and honors the cross pollination of Native American, European, and African agricultural knowledges and foodways that informs the interpretation on the National Colonial Farm. The garden’s multiple beds demonstrate various planting and growing methods, from companion planting and trellised vines to a space that mimics the natural flow of a forest. Its hundreds of plant varieties allow visitors to explore the ways in which humans have used plants for food, medicine, textile dyes, and more for hundreds of years. And the butterflies, songbirds, and other creatures that are attracted to this space demonstrate how a garden can act as a miniature ecosystem.

Schedule a Garden Tales & Tea Group Tour!

Cate's Garden

Historic Preservation

Cate Sharper is a historic person once enslaved in close proximity to the land currently used for the National Colonial Farm interpretation.  “Cate’s Garden” is a living stage that enables interpreters to tell the story of African American foodways–a story of cultural heritage, resilience, creativity, perseverance and the dignity of labor that transcends unthinkable exploitation and hardship.

In an effort to link historical accuracy with contemporary sustainable agriculture practices, multiple varieties of selected vegetables are planted including several varieties of pole bean and okra.