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Pssttt... we sent our current members and sustainers a discount code for this event by email on 5/24. Didn't get it? Check your spam, still can't find it- contact Kristina @Mocoalliance.org
Field & Fiddle is a annual festival and fundraiser for Montgomery Countryside Alliance. Held this year on a farm in Boyds. MD, June 24.
Barry Louis Polisar is joined on stage by Jokgu the Chicken and the Flockstars and last years great time Justin Trawick and the Common Good.
Watch this chicken play "America the Beautiful" on piano and try not to feel things.
Jokgu and her poultry backing band The Flockstars will join us to perform live at Field and Fiddle June 25.
Also performing, kids music legend and Emmy awarded musician for "All I Want is You" from the Film Juno, Barry Louis Polisar and last year's fantastic headliner, Justin Trawick.
What effect will climate change have on the Washington region’s water resources?
According to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin – Plenty.
Their report indicates that by 2040 climate change could cut stream flows by as much as 35% on an annual average.Science should inform the region’s planning and goals of resource protection.
Some more resources about our coming water crisis:
How Maryland is adapting its drinking water plans to climate change
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Climate Change Fact Sheet
EPA Addressing Climate Change in the Water Sector
A Case Study: The City of Frederick's plan for addressing Climate Change Impacts on Watersheds
Evaluation of Travilah Quarry for Water Supply Storage (Phase 1)
The Journal of the American Water Resources Association- "Benefits of Water Supply Forecasting in the Washington, DC area.
Montgomery County Park and Planning Water Resources Functional Plan (May 2010)
Seven scenic routes of varying mileage, with a NEW shorter family friendly loop, delightful, fully stocked stops at Dickerson Market, Rocklands Farm and more, followed by the sumptuous gourmet picnic at Kingsbury’s Orchard. After an enjoyable ride around Montgomery County's countryside, you'll relax with friends, listen to great music and celebrate our cherished Ag Reserve. (Check out last year's fun).
In keeping with tradition, volunteers will deliver apples, preserves and fresh meat that you purchase from Kingsbury’s Orchard and Rocklands Farm back to your cars. Come ride with us!
MCA really needs volunteers to make this popular event work and we can offer SSL hours for students. Contact Ellen@Mocoalliance.org to sign up!
Sign up for secure automatic monthly gifts to support the Ag Reserve all year round and get discounts on MCA events!
We are about to unleash a bunch of 2017 perks for our sustainers - make sure you are one of them!
"I hate to see the farmland and open spaces around the DC area being developed. The Ag Reserve is crucial, but somehow had dropped out of my consciousness."
Please join Susan and many others in supporting MCA. Gifts are automatic, easy, secure and protect local farms all year round while you do other things.
Protecting our water and food supply, public health, providing greater economic opportunity/benefits for farmers - a number of well aimed bills in Annapolis, in addition to a recently passed provision for urban farming tax credits in Montgomery County, should make residents proud. The session is not over but for several key bills there is reason for optimism.
The answer is that you don’t have to look very far in the Agricultural Reserve to find good suppliers of fresh beef. One such farm is located in Dickerson, Maryland, where Bruce and Sandy Savage manage the R.B Savage & Sons Farm together with their three sons - Cody, Cory and Colin. The Savage family’s roots run deep both on their farm and in the Ag Reserve. Together, they manage about 1,000 acres farmland, including property on their home farm and acreage rented from other landowners in the area.
As spring comes back to warm our hearts- farmers are busy to fill our bellies. There are still a few CSAs with spots open. (Community Supported Agriculture- where you sign on for a season of weekly pickups of seasonal produce from a farm). If you have yet to find your farmer, read on. Still wondering if a CSA is for you? It probably is, but we help you carefully consider that question here. Read on to find your farmer!
Breaking: A massive WSSC sewer line pipe has ruptured, sending 3 million gallons (so far) of sewage into the Potomac at Piscataway Creek near Accokeek, MD.
This spill is big and has not been contained as yet. Each time something like this happens to the water supply it puts a finer point on the fact that the DC area's 50 year water plan has expired. With the drastic impact of climate change on the water supply, now seems like a good time to make a plan for the future of our water supply.
Here is a round up of press on the spil:
Our talented board and advisory committee never ceases to amaze...
*Mark Mills and Land Link producer Tanya Spandlha talk farming on Maryland Public Television:
*Gwen Reese and Sugarland Community featured in the new African American Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg42ThWgkr0
*Cheers to the Potomac Hunt - a preservation award:
Just released from Royce Hanson... Suburb
Our friends at Maryland Environmental Trust report that Governor Hogan's budget will fully fund the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, Rural Open Space and Program Open Space. Full funding of these program allows the creation of conservation easements that protect farmland and open space in perpetuity- the most powerful tool for land preservation.
The budget also includes funding to help communities adapt to the real and imminent effects of climate change - particularly sea level rise.
February 2017 Update:
Loudon County has project listed as a legislative priority.
MCA has partners across the river who will fight the project.
We are working to establish strong political and preservation protection against this boondoogle.
What is it that is said… oh yes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” And so it is with the boosters that ascribe global relief from traffic woes to the construction of a Potomac bridge and highway through Montgomery‘s Ag Reserve. More pavement, sprawled from population centers is truly geared to open corridors of farmland and open space to development. Studies have concluded, time and again, that this proposed boondoggle does nothing to relieve metropolitan Washington gridlock and yet its boosters continue to trumpet it as a priority.
Take note: MCA and partners will hold fast the line against this boondoogle. And our reasons are sound and compelling.
Maryland loses an average of 20,000 acres of farmland annually... 20,000 acres! In Montgomery County, planners and representatives saw this disaster coming and did something proactively in 1980 with the establishment of the Functional Master Plan for the Preservation of Agriculture and Open Space - downzoning and protecting roughly a third of the County, roughly 100,000 acres.
Why? It's really quite simple:
Managed growth vs conventional development (sprawl) = Savings in cost in both human and natural resources.
Taxes and other revenues from residential development do not cover all the public services residents demand. The county needs a balance of land uses, including farms and open space, to reduce overall infrastructure costs and provide sufficient revenue to pay for these services. Otherwise, as more residential development occurs in existing subdivisions, services will be stretched thinner or cut—or property taxes will have to be raised. Put simply, agricultural land and open space pay more in local tax revenues than they receive back in services.
The Reserve provides for local food and fiber production, employing over 10,000 residents, contributing over 300 million dollars to the local economy.
Protected open space and well-managed farms provide for clean air shed and high quality water resources.
No shortage of past updates on this issue Click here to read through those.
Tanya Spanhla approached MCA back in 2014 to find land through our Land Link Program to grow some of the crops from Zimbabwe, her homeland. The following year she enrolled in the county's New Farmer Program - run by Montgomery County in partnership with MCA and the County's Ag Extension office. She started Passion to Seed farm on leased land in Germantown and aquired the expertise of the community through MCA's producers listserve when geese were ravaging her produce. She grows items that fellow immigrants have had trouble finding here (see her harvesting pumpkin leaves in this clip from MPTs Farm and Harvest show).
For those who have never run across it - the most factinating of her crops is the Kiwano- or horned melon. Looking like a heavily defended cucumber with deep emerald coloring and dull spikes, Kiwano has excelent health benefits and a fresh, cucmber-like taste. If you'd like to try it now's your chance, MCA has connected Tanya with Rockville's Dawson's Market and they now stock it. Eat it raw out of the spiky rind or wow friends and family this holiday with the fancy cocktails below.
Tanya's story is a perfect example of how we at MCA build support around a farm to help it not just survive, but thrive. Connecting farmers with farm land is the beginning - followed by fostering strong community and connection with fellow producers and consumers that help the farmer set down roots and prosper.
It takes a lot for a farmer to grow a farm (I mean, geese? Who saw that coming?) but you have to grow farmers first- and have farmland available.
Across Maryland, we lose an average of 20,000 acres of farmland per year. We will continue to build the resources that farmers need to thrive but we count on your suport to make it happen. Please make MCA part of of your end-of-year giving plan with your tax eductible donation.
Horned Melon Champage Cocktail served IN the prickly melon (perfect for New Years Eve)
Cheers From Your Friends at MCA!
A great piece on New Farm Program graduates Mark Mills of Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm and Tanya Spandhla of Passion to Seed Farm (starting at the 11 minute mark). Unmentioned in this piece is that both farmers (along with 400 acres of other farm buisnesses) were connected with their leased land through our Land Link program.
The Reserve and rural MoCo provide habitat for many creatures. This time of year, it is our fine feathered friends that draw the devoted humans out of bed on cold mornings with binoculars. Each year, birders take part in the international Christmas Bird Count (CBC ) sponsored by Audubon. Each CBC is conducted in a count circle, 15 miles in diameter on a single day between December 14 and January 4. On the day of each count, teams of volunteers go out in the count circle and count all the birds they can find, and the results are compiled by Audubon in a public database. This year’s CBC will be the 117th year!
There are two CBC count circles that overlap Montgomery's upcounty. The Seneca CBC will be held Sunday, December 18. The Seneca CBC count circle is centered on Violette’s Lock on the C&O Canal and covers a good portion Montgomery County closer to the Potomac.
The Sugarloaf Mountain CBC will be held on Monday, January 2. The Sugarloaf Mountain CBC count circle is centered on Sugarloaf Mountain and covers a good portion of Montgomery County bordering Frederick County. For a view of the two count circles See the map here. (when you go to the website type in “Montgomery County, MD” in the search box and it will zoom in to let you see the two count circles).
Both CBCs need additional folks, regardless of your birding skill level, to help count birds in the field. There is also an important role for folks who can’t get out in the field the day of the count but who live inside the count circle and like to watch birds in their yards and at their bird feeders. You can contribute very useful information to the CBC too. Doing a CBC can be a lot of fun. Both CBCs welcome newer birders to join their counts, and they will make sure you are teamed with a more experienced person for the count.
To get involved in either CBC, please contact the count compilers: Jim Nelson for the Seneca CBC at firstname.lastname@example.org andJanet Millenson for the Sugarloaf Mountain CBC at email@example.com They are happy to answer any questions you may have.
This year, Pantone - world wide authority on colors - has chosen a color meant to rejuvinate the masses. It is called Greenery.
They explain the choice this way:
"Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfiying our growing desire to rejuvinate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose."
We could not agree more. People, particularly those in a busy metro area, need connection with greenery in its many forms: outdoor recreation, healthy local food and just a place to unplug. MCA is the tireless, award winning nonprofit on the front lines of keeping the greenery of local farms and open space thriving on metro's edge. We value your tax deductible end of year gift.
The Earth is what we all have in common ~ Wendell Berry
As the year draws to a close Montgomery Countryside Alliance gives heartfelt thanks to our members and supporters. No question- we could not do it without you. 2016 has been a year of both challenge and success.
Your gift works all year to protect farms, water and open space right here in Montgomery County.
In Maryland alone an average of 20,000 acres of farmland is lost each year - and lost forever. Help keep farms growing on Metro’s edge.
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montogmery 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.