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Arlington Board To Consider Turning Dairy Farm Into Learning Center

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Reevesland was the last operating dairy farm in Arlington.
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Reevesland was the last operating dairy farm in Arlington.

Nelson Reeves was the last dairy farmer in Arlington County. His estate, known as Reevesland, is now owned by the county government, which purchased the property more than a decade ago. Since then, very little has happened.

"I feel like the county has forgotten us," says Judy Norton, who lives in the Bluemont neighborhood near Reevesland. "If they were really interested in taking care of the house, they would have taken some action by now."

But now that the county has owned the property for a decade, the urban agriculture task force is finally presenting the county board with a recommendation to transform the house into a learning center. Neighborhood resident Joan Horwitt has already created a nonprofit organization to lead the charge.

"Michelle Obama is not doing this," he says. "Alice Waters, who is famous for her edible schoolyard, is not doing this, because it is about civic engagement, about involving our neighbors."

Third graders from Ashlawn Elementary School are already here, harvesting lettuce from a garden were Nelson Reeves once grew vegetables.

"It was fun to come out here and not have to go to the store to get them, because one, it's a waste of time, and two, it's boring to sit in the car a while," says Grace Gent, who is in third grade.

The kids even have a song: "Nelson Reeves. Nelson Reeves. Growing tomatoes beets and peas. Mile-high corn. Take what you please. Hi, I'm your neighbor Nelson Reeves."

Later this year, the board will consider a proposal to spend $1 million for the transformation of the old dairy farm into a place for students, teachers and members of the community.

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