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Summer Writing Resident Anna Tipton: On the Value of Eating Locally

Anna Tipton is the fifth and final writer of the Summer 2021 cohort to spend her week onsite participating in our local residency program at Northern Virginia's Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House and Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. Our summer writers-in-residence focus their weeks on-site exploring ways to rediscover and re-purpose place and place histories, and use writing as a means to build community, to bring awareness to critical social and environmental issues, and as a creative force of empowerment.


Read on for a peek into Anna's experience below. You can also read more about Anna and her fellow residents (past and current) here.


Inner Loop and the Woodlawn staff for the joy and privilege of being here. The staff have gone out of their way to answer questions and find resources for me, and the week has been a prized time-out-of-time to learn, wonder, and write.


I spent most of my time in the Underwood Room, which is air conditioned and looks out to the flowering trees and driveway on one side and the front lawn on the other. When I wasn’t studying, I walked the lawns or wandered the rooms and imagined the lives of the household.


On a tour of Arcadia Farm, I was excited to listen to Juan talk about their commitment to serve the community. They provide numerous education programs and bring organic produce to food deserts and other areas around D.C. on “mobile markets.”


I was also interested when Juan talked about their sustainable practices and the value of eating locally. Food that sits on a shelf in the grocery store is disconnected from its origins, and consumers are used to having all kinds of common produce available year-round, even if its availability has taken a great deal of water and energy to be shipped from around the world. If shoppers buy food that’s local and in-season, they would be supporting a sustainable way of agriculture, though it might mean there would be more empty shelves in the grocery store.


Students and other visitors who come to Arcadia Farm have a personal, hands-on encounter with the gardens. They smell crushed lemongrass and bite into vibrant orange cherry tomatoes. They see the gourds which can be dried into sponges to eventually become loofahs used for baths. Arcadia is telling the story of where our food comes from, inspiring mindful shopping and a farm-to-table way of life.


Anna Tipton was born and raised in Indiana. After studying prose writing at the University of St Andrews, she moved to Richmond, where she writes direct marketing for universities. She's currently writing her debut novel with Hidden Shelf Publishing.