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Update: The Transportation Planning Board has chosen 5 of the 10 studied transportation projects as priorities for the coming years. Not among them - the Potomac River Bridge and associated highway through the Reserve, and for good reason. Read on below for our original post diving into the data behind the Bridge's poor showing in comparison to other land use measures that would better reduce traffic congestion with far fewer ill effects and cost to taxpayers. To read a great synopsis on this - see this article from Greater Greater Washington which explains how traffic is more like a gas while these misguided big projects treat it like water. Also - A Wrap up from the TPB Really worth a read. Thanks to our partners on both sides of the river and our supporters who wrote in on this issue. We've called this project the 'Zombie Bridge' so no promises that it won't re-animate from the drawing board in a few years - stay tuned.
Click here for an end of year letter from our friends at Historic Medley District, the small but mighty organization dedicated to preserving the Reserve's history - including Poolesville's Old Town Hall (pictured here), The John Poole House and Seneca School House. Your tax deductible donation to HMD helps continue this important work.
At MCA we have the mission statement that can be summed up in a paragraph - but also the shorthand version - "We Connect." We connect farmers with land and community, residents with local food, students with a 93,000 acre classroom and those who care to protect land and water with the opportunity to take action and get results.
One way we connect folks is through our Producers Listserve, an email list of more than 100 local farmers who swap know-how and share equipment, when we got the ask from soon-to-open Astrolab Brewery in Silver Spring about finding a farmer to haul off spent grain (pigs love to eat spent grain, it's also a great compost ingredient) - we posted it on the listserve and within hours, brewery co-founder Emma had heard back from two farmers. Emma says, "Thank you! You always go out of your way to support farmers and the community. "
Thanks, Emma - you may have just given us another shorthand for MCA's mission statement.
Folks, in this time of giving, we want to connect with you- please consider becoming a member of MCA with your gift today - or even better - become a sustainer with automatic gifts each month in any amount. And Thanks!
There are many other ways beer and winemakers partner with farmers - some even are farmers. Click here to see the Reserve's local breweries and vineyards.
If you'd like to be part of our Producers Listserve - click here.
Recall that whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of the dirt. ~Barbara Kingsolver
As the year draws to a close, we at Montgomery Countryside Alliance give heartfelt thanks to our members and supporters. No question- we could not do it without you. A quick note to share the top 4 reasons to support MCA before the end of the year:
1. Education – creating the next generation of farm stewards: In a county where 1/3 of its land is preserved for agriculture, Montgomery County has no formal agricultural curriculum. MCA is helping to fill the gap. Over the next 5 years, every single MCPS elementary student is getting hands-on, curriculum enhancing Ag activities aboard a mobile Ag Science Lab – with funding secured through a partnership between MCA and the MoCo Farm Bureau. Now entering its 4th year, our high school program now reaches 4 schools with farmer visits and field trips to local farms. Farming touches on all subjects – it’s a career day, civics lesson and master class in entrepreneurship all in one.
2. Growing Farms = Growing Economy: The success of local farming is the success of the Reserve. That’s why we have matched more than 20 new and expanding farmers with long term leases on more than 400 acres through our Land Link Montgomery program. Land is one hurdle but training and access to markets is another. With additional resources we will advance the New Farmer Program aimed toward growing the County’s next generation farmers. We are also serving on the Montgomery County Planning Department’s agritourism working group focused on increasing farm profitability.
3. Connecting people to place
“Wait, what is the Ag Reserve?” We hear that a lot. It’s a problem. So, we’ve created a number of annual events (Field and Fiddle, the Royce Hanson Award Celebration, Ride for the Reserve, screenings of our “Growing Legacy” film) bringing in a record number of residents out to explore the Reserve and understand its purpose, along with a revised Ag Guide and online interactive map to help them find the best local food, history and recreation opportunities.
4. Protecting Land and Water
A shocking fact for those who rely on water – the DC regional comprehensive water plan expired over a decade ago. MCA is on the front lines with partner groups to push for a new plan for our most precious resource as the climate changes and higher demands are put on current systems. We are also partnering with allies across the river to once again battle back plans for a Potomac Bridge crossing and outer beltway that would bisect the Reserve. This time around the interests behind this boondoggle are even better funded and more influential– but it’s an objective fact – there are far better transportation solutions that address congestion while preserving quality of life and tax payer dollars.
We are pleased to share that the American Planning Association awarded the 2017 Planning Landmark Award for Montgomery County’s courageous commitment to agriculture in founding the Reserve almost 40 years ago. And with your support MCA will continue to tenaciously meet the challenges, build a greater base of consumer and advocacy support and grow our local farm economy. Your gift works through all seasons to protect farms, water and open space right here in Montgomery County.
The 2018 Calendar is Sold Out - thanks to all of those that ordered one. We'll have more next year.
Enjoy the second annual Ag Reserve Calendar with photos from the many farms and open spaces that make up the Reserve. Ready to ship on December 18 with your gift of $100 or more with the donate button below or a new automatic monthly sustainer donation in any amount. Makes a great gift!
Super Moon at Montevideo ~ Martin Radigan
A year in images from Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve from your friends at Montgomery Countryside Alliance
We are pleased to share that the American Planning Association awarded the 2017 Planning Landmark Award for Montgomery County’s courageous commitment to agriculture in founding the Reserve almost 40 years ago. And with your support MCA will continue to tenaciously meet the challenges, build a greater base of consumer and advocacy support and grow our local farm economy.
Learn more about just how amazing the Reserve is.
4 Reasons to Support MCA in our work to protect the Reserve.
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • firstname.lastname@example.org
MCA is proud to announce that we have been once again recognized as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.