~Educational outreach for well and septic owners
~Establishing science based impervious limits in the Reserve to protect the Sole Source Aquifer and stream quality
~Advance programs for regenerative agriculture
Land and Farms
Regenerative agriculture may be a new term to many. It is a set of farming practices becoming increasingly popular as a way to increase crop yields, reduce pesticide use and capture atmospheric carbon. The general idea is to increase cover crops and perennial vegetation, till the soil less and utilize compost to lock Co2 in the air into the soil while increasing plant growth. Farmer Matt Rales, formerly of Potomac is doing this now on 800 acres in Virginia. Maryland has been the pioneer state taking steps to promote this climate mitigation practice with the Healthy Soils Act of 2017. MCA would like to help interested farmers implement these practices in Montgomery County.
How we farm matters but crop selection can also have an impact. The recently passed Farm Bill has finally lifted a national ban on growing hemp. This crop has the potential to be a game change for sustainable farming, waste and carbon reduction. Banned from US farms since 1937 because of an unfair association with its wilder cousin marijuana, industrial hemp production is poised to have impacts in the fields of medicine, plastics, food, auto manufacturer, the list goes on. MCA is taking the lead on getting farmers growing here in Montgomery County.
MCA has embarked on a new program to accelerate reforestation in support of Montgomery's County's Climate Change Response Plan.
The Reserve is ripe for reforestation on lands that are not suitable for crops. MCA will be matching private landowners with the Planning Department to plan tree plantings along stream buffers. It is a win-win-win for water quality, habitat protection and carbon sequestration.