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by Kristina Bostick
See Press Release Here
Click the map above to go to the interactive version.
When we convene with Farmers, either face to face or through our Producers Listserve. Some of the same challenges are shared again and again - the sky high price of land, which has lead to our Land Link program, and the lack of processing options in the local area. The first step to overcoming any challenge is collecting data and we were fortunate to have the help of our intern Todd Langstaff. Todd's research on local processing options has yielded the map above (click on map to go to interactive version) on what can be processed where. If you know of more slaughter facilities that would like to be added, let us know - email@example.com
We also have farmer recommendations for local label making companies for when it is time to label the final product: Hub Labels of Hagerstown Gateway Printing of Thurmont.
The few facilities on the map close to the Ag Reserve that process non-game meats are in high demand and have long waiting periods. Local farmers have told us that driving animals farther afield is not just inconvenient but puts unnecessary stress on the animals.
New Map Resource for Local Farmers Released: Reveals Need to Expand Services for Meat Production
Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) has released a map of regional meat processing locations in an effort to document current service levels and show potential for more processing locations.
See the map larger here
“Our local livestock producers have been frustrated with the lack of nearby meat processing and packaging services and have cited long drives and wait times that put undue stress on their animals,” says Caroline Taylor, MCA’s executive Director. The map, compiled by MCA intern Todd Langstaff, shows that while farmers located closer to the metro areas certainly benefit from increased demand for local food, the resources they need to get that food to market are much further afield. To maintain current farms and build the next generation of farmers, removing this sort of bottleneck from the farm to market system is an important step.
MCA was a proud lead organization of the January 2013 Farming at Metro’s Edge (FAME) conference which gathered farmers, educators, environmentalists, local officials and residents to chart a course for a strong Ag. sector and local food system in Montgomery and Frederick Counties.
The FAME report highlighted a number of ways to increase farmer profitability and local food production- including increased resources for Ag Extension services and better Ag Education for students and the general public. Specific challenges were also identified for small scale table crop and meat producers.
Currently, MCA is answering local land acquisition challenges with our Land Link program and the meat processing map represents another resource intended to help farmers find the tools to maintain farming as a way of life and a career in our metro region. Greg Glenn of Rocklands Farm commented, “as farmers, our time is so completely occupied with… farming. Having these types of resources available is so valuable.”
The strength of our local food system depends on collaboration and MCA continues to partner with farmers, consumers and local organizations to build on the findings of the FAME report and grow both our cities and our food in balance.
by Kristina Bostick
Become an MCA Sustainer with a recurring donation!
MCA is working hard every day to protect farmland, open space and our shared environmental resources. You can fund our work all year by setting up a secure, recurring donation through PayPal. Choose the tax-deductible gift level that's right for you and that amount will be withdrawn each month automatically- you can change or cancel your gifts at any time.
"I support MCA because of the many different ways it works to protect this rural area. I wish I could be more involved but long days, a long commute, and my farm keep me busy. By supporting MCA's work financially, I can stay involved in this effort that is so important to me. Being a sustainer is easy- you set the amount that is right for you and it just keeps rolling." ~ Grace Whitman - MCA Sustainer
by Kristina Bostick
The Agricultural Services Division of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development will open a Purchase Period for the Building Lot Termination Program beginning on February 1, 2014 and will close at the end of business on April 1, 2014.
No applications can be received prior to February 1, 2014 or after April, 1, 2014.
The application for the Building Lot Termination Program is available from the Agricultural
Services Website at the following link:
Application for the BLT Program:
To be eligible for the BLT program:
The APAB will make a recommendation to the Director of Economic Development as to who should receive BLT purchase offers based on the BLT ranking system. The Director will make a determination and direct staff to make offers to qualified applicants from the ranking provided by the APAB.
Landowners wishing to discuss the property in context with the BLT program can contact John Zawitoski (301-590-2810) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org He will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this program.
It should be recognized that it is very likely that there will be more applicants then funding available and therefore not every applicant can be funded. Any applicant not funded during this open purchase period will be automatically enrolled in subsequent open purchase periods unless otherwise directed they wish to be removed from consideration.
by Kristina Bostick
UPDATE- A new study has shown that in the 2002 drought, around 25% of the Potomac's flow came from Little Seneca Reservoir and Ten Mile Creek. The idea that this is not a current and future water source for 4.3 Million doesn't...hold water.
In an email to supporters, Pulte Homes (one of a few developers looking to start projects in the sensitive Ten Mile Creek watershed) said the following:
"The lake is not an emergency drinking water supply. It's a backup source of water for the Potomac River during times of severe drought. The Potomac is a drinking water source."
What? That is one serious linguistic shell game. Pulte is just one of a number of people that seem either legitimately or intentionally confused about the importance of the Little Seneca Reservoir and Ten Mile Creek.Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words- like this sign at the edge of the reservoir (again, the fact that its called a "reservoir" should give you a clue that the water is being held for later use):
Not only are the reservoir and Ten Mile Creek part of our back-up drinking water supply serving 4.3 million metro area residents, but the reservoir is checked every year to be sure it can still be called upon to supplement our water supply, as this alert from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin to the County Exec and Council made clear this summer. In fact, water from the Reservoir had to be used for drought abatement in 1999, 2002 and 2010. The Commission also reports that droughts will be getting a lot more common.
So that's the Reservoir - what about Ten Mile Creek. When we say that Ten Mile Creek is the "Last, Best Stream" in the county, its not hyperbole. The creek is what is called a "reference" stream- a stream that is still pristine enough that we can compare degraded streams to it to see how bad off they are. As the first Council work session held yesterday showed, the draft planning board plan for development in the watershed would degrade Ten Mile Creek to the point that it will no longer be clean enough to serve as a reference- dirty just like the others. As one supporter asked, "can't we just have one clean creek?"So, how do we know that the proposed development will degrade the creek? Because the green parts on the right of the map below are not golf courses, that is the color of the water in our backup drinking water supply, as impacted by poorly planned development (click to see it bigger). Ten Mile Creek on the left, is still pristine and currently serves to dilute some of the degraded water. The point is- we have done this all before- the removal of forest cover, laying down impervious surface, and we can see the results.
We still have a pristine stream that serves 4.3 Million people and will only be more important in the future. The current proposals will impact our drinking water and that is why we are making so much noise.
The Council will decide on this in February- make sure they hear from you now.
Join us on Monday, January 27 for a rally in advance of the Council Worksession on the Water Supply issues related to proposed development in Ten Mile Creek's watershed.
9am- The front steps of the Montgomery County Council Building: 100 Maryland Ave. Rockville (google map)
Ten Mile Creek is part of the backup drinking water supply for 4.3 Million residents in the DC area.
FARMING REPORT DRAWS SUPPORT FOR EXTENSION, EDUCATION PROGRAMS, FARM-SPECIFIC REGULATION, FARM-TO-FORK COLLABORATIONRockville, September 15, 2013.
Leaders from farm, education, environmental, non-profit and government organizations called for a collaborative effort to improve farm profitability, environmental regulations, and local food production and consumption systems. Their comments came in response to key findings and recommendations in a report on Farming at Metro’s Edge, issued today at a briefing held at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, MD.
Montgomery Council Vice-President Craig Rice told the more than 65 people attending the presentation of the report at the Universities at Shady Grove that he would ask the Montgomery Council to consider the report’s recommendations, which were developed by over 200 famers, environmentalists, civic and nonprofit leaders, community members, and government officials in the two-day conference held last January at USG.
Rice said consideration should be given to creation of a farming magnet program in area schools and establishing a farm business navigator program (modeled after the existing Small Business Navigator) to assist farmers in growing this important segment of the economy. William Schlossenberg, representing the Universities at Shady Grove, offered his institution’s services as convener of groups working to further conference recommendations. Sara Ducey, Montgomery Collage reported that Montgomery College faculty, recognizing that local food as a rallying point were developing a Sustainable Food production Certificate program to help prepare future producers. Frederick County Commissioner David Gray said he hoped for new interest in farmland preservation in the face of urban growth in Frederick County. Mike Knapp, a consultant for the Town of Poolesville, reported that the town, located in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve was developing plans to become a food hub that could serve farmers and consumers, including major institutions and restaurants interested in increasing use of locally produced food.
Three themes emerged from the conference discussions according to the report: securing the profitability of farming, environmental regulations and their effect on farming, and collaboration between farmers and the non-farming public.
Conference participants expressed strong support for strengthening technical and business assistance through the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Services and county agricultural support agencies and higher education institutions in the region; educational programs for the non-farming and consuming public, especially youth; strengthening farmland preservation programs; and reviewing zoning and other regulations to prevent unintended economic impacts on farming.
The major environmental issue identified by the conference was the need for flexibility in the implementation of regulations to respond to the varying environmental impacts of different kinds of farming, and the importance of protecting large contiguous areas of farmland.
The majority of conference participants strongly supported collaboration of farming and non-agricultural groups to improve marketing of local farm products to consumers. Celeste James, Kaiser-Permante Healthy Eating and Active Living Initiative, said local foundations were increasingly active and interested in supporting local healthy food systems and the infrastructure to strengthen and sustain them.
See the report here (pdf)
For further information, contact Tom Hartsock, 301-253-9528 or Caroline Taylor, 301-461-9831
Update: Philomena was nominated for 4 Oscars. The Sugarland Ethnohistory project has donated a number of photos to the permanent collection at the new African American Heritage Museum
The Reserve has many great resources, providing food, fiber and recreation to the whole region. Sometimes the gorgeous locations catch the attention of film scouts. Such was the case with St Paul Church, a historic church that was the center of life in the Sugarland Community, a group of freed slaves that lived just outside Poolesville. Their church was the site of Maryland's first interracial marriage.
The history of the place and the building itself are kept up thanks to the tireless efforts of MCA board member Gwen Reese and the Sugarland Ethnohistory Project.
The film follows the true story of former British journalist Martin Sixsmith traveling with an older woman, Judi Dench's Philomena, to find the son she gave up for adoption in the 50s. In the film, the church is transformed into a Catholic Church where Philomena comes to confess.
Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice.
On a hot day on at Red Wiggler Community Farm in Germantown, County leaders spoke to the vibrant legacy of agriculture in Montgomery County as they kicked off the farmer mentor pilot program. The program will match farmers interested in getting started farming in the county with landowners and seasoned farmers that will provide land and expertise to ensure their success in what can be a risky career. Assembled in a barn behind the microphone were County Executive Ike Leggett, Councilmember Craig Rice, State Senator Karen Montgomery, Department of Economic Development Head Steve Silverman and program advisors Wade Butler of Butler Orchards, Woody Woodroof of Red Wiggler and Caroline Taylor of MCA, along with MCA board member/Audubon Naturalist staffer and a landowner participating in the pilot, Dolores Milmoe.
See the video below for Ike Legget’s comments about the importance of agriculture in the county, and the importance of the Ag Reserve’s advocates like Caroline and Dolores:
Learn more and find the application here.
Previous Post below:
On Monday, August 6th, County Executive Ike Leggett will launch the New Farmer Pilot Project, which will help support sustainable-practice farmers and horticulturalists start new businesses in the County.
MCA, with partners Woody Woodroof and Wade Butler, has provided assistance to the County’s Office of Economic Development, in getting this program off the ground and (fantastically) two of our Board members, Dolores Milmoe and Mike Rubin, will provide initial acreage that will host the first wave of new farm start ups. Bravo!
The pilot is being funded for the first year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
You are cordially invited to attend the kick-off press conference, which will be held on Monday, August 6th at 2:00 p.m. at the Red Wiggler Community Farm, 23400 Ridge Road in Germantown.
See website for details.
With the Recommendation that Monocacy Elementary School in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain stay open, MCPS Superintended Weast gave us a reason to celebrate but more still has to be done.
Monocacy was slated for closure because it had fewer students than non-Reserve schools. This policy ignores the fact that the rural area feeding the school has limited development and population by design. There is no way for these rural cluster schools to keep up with enrollment standards that govern the rest of the County. More than a resource for students and parents, in the County’s rural areas schools are often the only public meeting areas, hosting meetings, events and generally serving as a community center. Having these buildings serve double-duty this way saves the County money.
MCA joined with our partner the Audubon Naturalist Society to push for a rural school policy that would protect these lower enrollment schools from closure resulting non-applicable standards for enrollment at the most recent BOE meeting. All testimony, a letter from Dr. Royce Hanson (Former Planning Board Chair and Architect of the Reserve) and MCA’s position paper on Rural Schools are below.
We are currently working with County Council members, including newly elected Reserve District 2 member, Craig Rice and staff to move forward with establishment of a policy that will better manage the County’s rural schools. The Towns of Barnesville and Poolesville are joining the quest. Please support our efforts by writing in.
MCA BOE Testimony November 11, 2010
Audubon BOE Testimony November 11, 2010
Ag Reserve Schools Position Paper
Dr. Royce Hanson’s Letter to BOE on Rural Schools
Town of Barnesville BOE Testimony
Town of Poolesville BOE Testimony
Letter to the BOE from a Poolesville Parent
MCA is challenging the Planning Board’s approval of a large suburban-style development on the last largest remaining farm in the Reserve, MCA filed a petition asserting error in the Board’s decision and respectfully asking them to revisit the matter. MCA challenges conformity with the Master Plan citing State legislation passed in 2009 that strengthens the requirement that land use decisions support and do not conflict with governing Master plans.
Breaking News: Developer has filed opposition to sending (remanding) the case back to Planning Board for their review and decision on MCA’s Petition for Reconsideration! Unbelievably, their filing claims that because the developer quickly filed their notice of appeal of the condition regarding tenant houses and density first…MCA’s petition for reconsideration should not be addressed. In other words, they are trying to prevent the process that allows for the Board to exercise their authority to reconsider matters when properly petitioned. This move is a real slap in the face to the community who merely seeks to ensure that the Board has fully evaluated the subdivision in light of the Master Plan and existing law.Stay tuned…
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 • email@example.com
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.