Prince Charles visits D.C. urban farm

Correction: Earlier versions of this article, including in Wednesday’s print edition of The Washington Post, misstated the location of the “Future of Food” conference being held at Georgetown University.

The crowd began to gather around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Garden lovers, neighbors, medical students and staff workers from nearby Howard University Hospital, and loyal royal watchers surrounded the wooden fence at the Common Good City Farm in LeDroit Park to get a prime spot for glance of Prince Charles of Wales and a rumored visit by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

About an hour later, the prince arrived at Common Good with a police escort and was greeted by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).

The prince — traveling four days after son Prince William married Kate Middleton in a royal wedding that drew tens of millions of viewers worldwide — wowed the crowd as he went to the fence and shook hands with fans.

“He looks distinguished,” said Lottie Seward, 75, who has lived in the neighborhood for 47 years.

She excitedly arrived at the farm expecting to see Obama — who was not part of the visit — but she said she would take a prince. “I saw him on TV, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him face to face,” she said. “It’s amazing they’re coming to the neighborhood.”

Earlier this year, British Embassy representatives had conducted a walk-through of Common Good — dubbed the only urban farm in the District — but didn’t reveal that the prince would take a tour until two weeks ago. Prince Charles, who champions sustainable agriculture, is on a three-day U.S. visit that will include meeting with the president on Wednesday after delivering a speech at “The Future of Food” conference at Georgetown University, hosted by Washington Post Live.

“I had to keep it a secret,” said Pertula George, the farm’s executive director.

George said she and the prince discussed obesity during the visit and how thankful she was for his visit because it would boost the farm’s visibility.

“He said, ‘I’m glad, too, and that’s why I’m here,’ ” George said.

Prince Charles spent much of his time speaking with children at the farm. Of a group of them, he asked: “What are you doing with those apples?”

They were cutting them up for a salad, George recalled they said. Prince Charles responded that the task must be difficult because they were using plastic knives.

In June, the V Street NW farm will expand to begin selling some of its fruit and other produce to low-income residents who will be able to use WIC and EBT cards to purchase goods, George said. Common Good also is an education center, where residents learn how to grow their own food and eat healthy.

Still, the farm is hoping for a visit from local royalty. The first lady is known for her “Let’s Move” program, which promotes healthy eating and exercise.

“Maybe now she’ll come,” George said.

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