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A bit of fun from your friends at MCA. Peace of the Season to you and yours. We will just have to wait until MoCo's orchards open again in the spring. In the meantime take our quiz to find out what variety of apple you are. We'd love to hear the results on our Facebook page.
It is nothing less than the global challenge of our time. A slow motion disaster, caused and perpetuated each day by all of us - leaving each of us either feeling powerless in the face of its enormity or in denial of an inconvenient scientifically proved truth. Our world is warming.
Recently predictions have gotten more dire, more certain. There is now a timeline for serious impacts to be felt. Much like the adage about planting trees, the time to act was either 20 years ago - or now.
Montgomery County's 93,000 acre Ag Reserve was envisioned at its creation in 1980 as a way to keep farms on the landscape and it has been successful, but it has also served as a "green lung" and water filter for the region, its forests sucking in Co2, its pervious surfaces allowing re-absorption of large rainfall events. But the County, the Reserve and MCA as its steward can (and must) do more to combat our climate challenge and mitigate the coming impacts.
The county has made a climate change pledge for the county of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The county is also working toward Executive Leggett's goal of being a zero waste county - starting with recycling/composting 70% of materials by 2023. MCA is proud to serve on the county's Zero Waste Task Force.
We are proud to have collaborated with the 38 other organizations making up the Stormwater Partners Network on the Clean Water Blueprint - to be addressed by the Elrich administration. The document lays out how we protect water across the country going forward and provides metrics for gauging success. Among the recommendations are several Ag Reserve specific provisions that MCA will help to implement including:
~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
At MCA, our mission is to protect the farms and open spaces of the Ag Reserve but we all have a role to play in the challenges ahead. We can choose grim disaffection, denial or action. Help us position the Ag Reserve as a climate change mitigation tool for our county and region. We would be honored by your tax-deductible end of year gift. Thank You!
Having just joined the family in the annual It's a Wonderful Life viewing, I thought, once again, about how truly remarkable and unique the Reserve is... and how fragile. Remember the film's gripping scene when there is a run on the local bank and George Bailey spots a crowd of frightened shareholders descending on the family's savings and loan? George Bailey's earnest explanation of the benefits that the Savings and Loan provided, both individually and collectively, brought all but one, who still demanded his entire $242, to understand that there was a imperative to sustain the institution. They each took what they needed without crushing the savings and loan.
So it is, as I see it, with the Ag Reserve. We could easily wring every last dime out of the land for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many... sure we could.
And we could do so after expending millions of public and private dollars on preservation easements and countless hours establishing, supporting and defending land for farming and open space preservation. We could
deplete the Reserve by turning a blind eye to important preservation goals for open space and natural and historic resources. But much like the community service provided by Bailey Bros. Savings and Loan, the Reserve pays dividends in clean air, water quality, open space, food and fiber - the list goes on. The survival of farming and the Reserve is a commonly shared goal and we have all invested so much in it.
How do we arrive at a consensus as to the best means to keeping the land in farming and protecting open space and natural resources in the face of myriad challenges and pressures? Meeting this challenge is precisely what we do each day.
Since 2001, we have been the organization on the ground protecting the quality of our farms, open space and water supply. Our collaborative and tenacious approach has lead us to be called "one of the best" nonprofits in the region. Your tax deductible investment in our community stays here but goes far to ensure a future for local farms.
Peace of the Season to you and yours,
Caroline Taylor, Executive Director
Increasing the reduce, reuse and recycling of our waste is going to take some re-thinking about how we live currently. We found some interesting tidbits to share:
-Terracycle partners with large international brands to offer reusable containers called LOOP.
-Why do toothpaste tubes come in outer boxes?
-Cities that have cut 80% of their waste
-Waste to Fuel with a new waste digester in Utah
- The all second hand and upcycled shopping mall in Sweden
MCA has been an active member in the County's Zero Waste Task Force. While the recycling rate is at 50% currently, the County is aiming to recycle 70% of its waste by 2023. Zero Waste is a really big goal and we are proud to work on it with other local stakeholders. The first step in the undertaking has been gathering data- that is why both MCA and the County have undertaken surveys to find out what is working at the household level. Thanks to all those that took the time to participate. The results are below.
A few takeaways:
- Food Scraps make up 21% of total landfill-bound waste in the County. While much of that food would biodegrade to make soil in the right conditions, this does not happen in a landfill. Many respondents want to see curbside composting.
- Residents also want to be able to recycle more of their waste (specifically plastics, styrofoam and bulk items such as mattresses).
-Better education on what can be recycled and why recycling is important was seen by many respondents as a good first step toward waste reduction.
Update - New Windsor in Carroll County has tried a "Pay as you Throw" approach to trash and it seems to be working.
A win for the backup water supply for 4.3 Million in our region
A small resident of Ten Mile Creek meets a Poolesville High School Student
Breaking news! Federal 4th Circuit Court affirms dismissal of Pulte Homes lawsuit that challenged Montgomery County's stage 4 Clarksburg development plan. Pulte sought to construct over 1000 homes in the creek's fragile headwaters and atop the sole source groundwater aquifer. The land use plan rightly set science based impervious surface caps in the important Ten Mile Creek watershed, providing a level of protection for the creek and Seneca Reservoir which serves as a back up drinking water supply for 4.3 million regional residents. MCA, Audubon and other partners labored for several years to ensure protection for high quality Ten Mile Creek and the back up drinking water supply.
Long story short - The court has found Pulte had no constitutional property interest in developing its land as it had contemplated, and local authorities had a plausible, rational basis for their actions in denying this development project.
In 2004-2006, Pulte purchased 540 acres of Clarksburg land, then governed by the 1994 Master Plan, which divided development into four stages. In the fourth stage, the area containing Pulte’s land was to be developed into residential communities. Pulte’s land was designated as a receiving property for Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) and was zoned for one-acre lots. Pulte could increase the allowable density to two units per acre by purchasing TDRs from agricultural properties in other Montgomery County areas, which would restrict future development of the agricultural property. Pulte invested 12 million dollars in TDRs. Under the Plan, there were prerequisites to Stage 4 development. All had occurred by 2009. The Plan stated that Stage 4 developments can proceed once public agencies and the developer have complied with all “implementing mechanisms,” which included Water and Sewer Plan amendments. Pulte submitted its Water and Sewer Request to the County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 2009, with a $10,000 filing fee. The County never acted on Pulte’s application. In 2012, Pulte submitted a Pre-Application Concept Plan to the Commission, which rejected the plan. The agencies refused to meet and stopped responding to Pulte’s communications but reopened the Plan to study the watershed in which Pulte’s land is located and ultimately imposed regulatory changes that severely reduced the number of dwellings Pulte could build and imposed additional costly burdens. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Pulte’s due process, equal protection, and regulatory taking claims, stating that federal courts are not the appropriate forum to challenge local land use determinations
Lets face it, the holidays come with a lot of stress. You start with the best of intentions- your heart swells with the first light display or card from a friend- but somewhere in there, you've just had too much pie, or paid too much for expedited shipping, you've just lost that peace on earth, goodwill toward all part.
Fear Not! Over the past few years 3 new days on the calendar have emerged as a counterweight to the frantic shopping and schlepping that the holidays can become.
Opt Outside is a campaign by outdoor retailer REI to urge families to spend their holiday time outside instead of at the mall on Black Friday. As they did for the first time in 2015, their website will go dark, their fulfillment center will go silent as their employees spend the day outside. Visit Montgomery County's amazing parks this weekend.
Small Business Saturday is November 24 this year- skip the mall and enjoy your local retailers that keep your money close to home and enrich your community. Farmers are the oldest small business there is. You might want to check out a year round farm and artisan market. Or visit an on-farm brewery or winery.
Wishing you a meaningful holiday- whatever that means to you- your friends at MCA
Give Where You Live and Sustain Agriculture on Metro's Edge
Happy #GivingTuesday - a day in the middle of the busy holiday season to think about what we can each give to our community. As you consider how you can give back, may we humbly suggest you support to your small (but mighty!), award winning farm and water protection non-profit. We have been the boots on the ground protecting Montgomery County's nationally renowned Ag Reserve since 2001.
Even better - one time donations of $100 (click donate) or more or monthly sustainers (click sustain) in any amount will get a 2019 MCA Calendar while supplies last (if you choose a calendar - be double sure we get your address!)
Update: The Farm Bill passed! Harmful provisions that would have limited SNAP benefits for our most vulnerable neighbors were not included but hemp can now be legally grown. If you think we are overblowing the benefits of this change, please see this article from Forbes "How Hemp And The Farm Bill May Change Life As You Know It" MCA will be working with the extension office and local farmers to help get folks on the ground taking advantage of this win for agriculture, waste reduction, carbon sequestration, soil health, the list goes on....
Industrial Hemp is a step closer to being a legal crop in the US. As the US Farm Bill passed the Senate last week the bill has one final hurdle before the President's desk - the Senate Conference Committee, where it is expected to make it through unscathed.
Everything you need to know about Hemp:
Hemp is Marijuana, right? Nope. While is is a kind of Cannabis, it contains none of the THC that makes its cousin a controlled substance in much of the US. This is an instance of one responsible sibling being lumped in with their wayward brother. In fact, you certainly have interacted with hemp at some point in your day already- it is in your car interior, possibly your breakfast cereal, and almost certainly textiles or other materials you have come in contact with. However, the hemp you interacted with today was grown elsewhere and imported - because it is still a "schedule 1" drug like marijuana and cocaine. The Farm Bill along with the rolling back of regulations by many states seeks to take this hard-working crop out of detention and into the field.
All these uses and it regenerates quickly (unlike a forest of Truffulas, or real trees for that matter), requires few pesticides or fertilizers to grow and actually improves soil unlike other commodity crops. It also fetches much higher prices than these other pesticide heavy commodities. In Virgina, corn will go for $5/ bushel, Hemp Seed $40/bushel with a shorter growing season.
I thought it was already legal in Maryland? Yes, with many caveats. The bill that passed, like others in other states, has paved the way for farmers to grow hemp in a research capacity in close partnership with an academic institution. We were proud to to support this successful first step and local growers will benefit from this much needed expertise being built with a new crop but the economic benefits of this crop will only be realized once the stigma and federal classification is removed - as the Farm Bill will do.
There was a productive stakeholder meeting on Hemp in May 2018 at the MC Farm Bureau. To learn more drop us a line email@example.com
Enjoy our third annual Ag Reserve Calendar with photos from the many farms and open spaces that make up the Reserve. Ready to ship in December 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! Check out some pictures from last year's calendar.
There are still a few days remaining to secure your turkey, pies and makings for sides locally. Have a farm to add to our list? - please let us know.
Plow and Stars Farm and Pizza Brama are offering a full heat and serve meal lovingly raised and expertly prepared. Order before the 19th
Red Wiggler Community Farm is doing their annual Thanksgiving Market 11/14 to 11/17
Lewis Orchard is taking pie orders till 11/18 and hams till 11/16
Kingsbury Orchard has their last days for the season this weekend. For those that want to do their own pie, they have Granny Smiths for your apple pie and delectable Asian Pear cider that will please everyone around your table.
Fox Hollow Farm Market has stoked up their ovens and are turning out pie after pie along with lamb, chicken and eggs.
R B Savage + Sons is taking turkey orders by phone - 301-370-7111
Common Root Farm in Derwood is still hosting their on-farm market with regular Saturday hours and also Tuesday (3-6)
Rocklands Farm and Winery has pasture raised meats and award winning wine for your table.
Your Local Farmers Market - Thanksgiving is our most culinary holiday and if you aren't a frequent visitor to your local farmers market, now is a great time. This weekend is the last market for many open air markets but some go all year-round. See this MoCo Office of Agriculture nifty tool to find a market near you.
Non food items:
We are thankful for our supporters. MCA works to protect the Ag Reserve to benefit the whole region. Our local focus relies on local support, please make your tax deductible gift today.
To honor both her love of the Ag Reserve and commitment to education, we have launched the Ute Aminzadeh Ag Reserve Education Fund. This fund will enhance continuing efforts to educate students on the importance of Agriculture and farmland natural resource protection. Our education program includes class visits from farmers and field trips to farms for local high schools along with a partnership with the Montgomery County Farm Bureau that has brought Maryland Agriculture Education Foundation (MAEF) Mobile Ag Education Labs to all Montgomery County Elementary Schools. It is our goal to scale up our efforts to ensure that in a County with 1/3rd of its land set aside for farmland and open space protection, agriculture becomes part of the formal curriculum.
Gifts to this fund will provide for Ag Reserve curriculum materials crafted specifically for elementary aged students to provide engaging, hands-on lessons to connect our youngest students to the importance of farms. As Ute did, we love engaging with these future Montgomery County residents, leaders and stewards so they may carry on the legacy of the Ag Reserve.
The next County Council, which will be seated on Dec. 3, will decide the county’s next steps, if any, on small cell towers.
Lacking a clear majority for passage, the current council deferred action on zoning regs that would have decided where the towers could be placed. State law prevents a county council from enacting zoning or land use regulations after Oct. 31 in an election year. The new council’s first session is scheduled for Dec. 4.
More from My MC Media
Breaking: We understand that the Small Cell bill and associated procedural change at the Office of Administrative Appeals have both been pulled. Bethesda Beat has covered the cell bill here.
While this change to limit the public process has been pulled today, it may be revived at any point. Please read on for the original post.
Montgomery County Council eyes limiting public participation before the Office of Administrative Appeals for proceedings such as conditional approvals of land uses. In question is rule 4.2 e. to curtail the amount of time each side - for and against- is allowed to speak in a hearing regardless of the number of individuals/organizations on either side. There are often many unrelated parties in these sorts of hearings. In this case - an eye on the clock could very easily be public participation denied. And - this change for less public participation is being considered without a public hearing. What?!
Testimony from MCA , Sugarloaf Citizens Association, Conservation Montgomery, Friends of Ten Mile Creek and land use attorneyBill Chen
Write the Councilmemembers and County Executive with the form below to tell them to keep the participation rules unchanged in these administrative appeals hearings. Without a public hearing - this is the only way to make your voice heard.
This Event has been rescheduled for November 10 Register Here
From Our Friends at American Farmland Trust:
The American Farmland Trust has partnered with Montgomery County and Montgomery Countryside Alliance to their Women For The Land program this September 2018. The program is a Conservation Learning Circle for women landowners. The Conservation Learning Circle is a quick way to network with other landowners and learn how to access free conservation programs offered by state and local agencies.
There was a sense of history echoing through the 2018 Royce Hanson Award Celebration on Sunday. MCA Co-President Gene Kingsbury welcomed guests with a poem he wrote (Read 'Timothy Time' here) about making hay with his father many years ago as he reflected that the Rustic Roads of the Reserve were mostly unchanged since then.
Executive Director Caroline Taylor called event goers to the present with an impassioned defense of the Reserve's current farmers as policy changes and increasingly unpredictable weather events make it even harder to make a living as a small producer. The farmers require many different kinds of support to keep their businesses viable and Rustic Roads are one piece of that support.
MCA would like to thank our board, volunteers, St Mary's Pavilion, Peace Run, photographer David Ris, the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee, Senator Brian Feldman, Dr. Royce Hanson and particularly Dolores Milmoe for helping with the event. All of David's excellent photos of the event can be found here.
Montgomery Countryside Alliance is the small (but mighty!) organization founded around Ag Reserve kitchen tables in 2001. Since then, we have grown to a full fledged watchdog organization for Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve. Our focus on local farms relies on local support. Please make a tax-deductible donation to keep us engaging tenaciously on the issues that matter to you.
We are so honored that Diane, Joseph and Marion have planned this party to benefit MCA and the Ag Reserve. Please plan to attend a great evening with other Ag Reserve supporters to discuss how we meet challenges to green space and productive lands. Delicious local food and drink will be served. Do you love to throw a good party? Let us know if you'd be interested in throwing a house party of your own- firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're Invited - Save the Date!
Saturday, November 17, 2018
3pm to 6pm
3102 Edgewood Road, Kensington MD 20895
DownCounty House Party to Support Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Fundraiser & Networking Event at the Home of Joseph Horgan and Diane Cameron
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Did you know that one-third of Montgomery County is set aside for Agriculture and Open Space Preservation?
Fruit, vegetables, grain, herbs, cider, wine and beer are among the products of our Agricultural Reserve. Clean water, clean air, and a link to history are among the essential and irreplaceable benefits provided by our Ag Reserve.
Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) is a group of dedicated experts and advocates, working since 2001 to support farmers in the Ag Reserve, and protect our countryside from many threats. Along with Audubon Naturalist Society, MCA co-led the campaign to Save Ten Mile Creek. MCA was instrumental in establishing the Friends of Ten Mile Creek and Little Seneca Reservoir.
Ably staffed by Caroline Taylor, MCA Executive Director, and Kristina Bostick, Senior Conservation Associate, along with volunteers and Board members, MCA's work is essential - if we are to preserve what we love most about our county.
Please join us in supporting and celebrating the work of Montgomery Countryside Alliance on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at our House Party and Fundraiser for MCA. We'll serve food and drink grown and produced in the Ag Reserve. Space is limited!
Please bring your checkbooks - or donate on-line - to support this vital work. Donations of any amount are welcomed and deeply appreciated. Suggested donation: $50.00
Yours for the Ag Reserve,
Diane Cameron, Joseph Horgan & Marion Edey
Here We Go Again (Again).... Press Release Here
1988, 2001, 2004, 2015 and 2017- all years that a Potomac bridge and highway crossing have been studied and found to not be a good solution. And yet- the Supervisors in Loudoun County have funded yet another study to identify crossing points. Loudoun's study even parrots the negative findings of the 2017 Regional Transportation Planning Board:
Based on the results of the November 2017 study, a new Potomac River bridge would have “low” benefits to road congestion, incidents and safety, bottlenecks and reliable access to intercity hubs when compared to the current 2040 Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP). A new Potomac River bridge would have neutral impacts to transit crowding, inadequate bus services, and access to bike/pedestrian options, development around Metrorail, housing and job location, Metrorail repair needs and pedestrian and bicyclist safety when compared to the current 2040 CLRP. A new Potomac River bridge would have negative impacts to roadway repair needs, environmental
So... why are we studying it again, again?
MCA joins with our partners at Coalition for Smarter Growth and Piedmont Environmental Council, collectively representing our hundreds of thousands of supporters on both sides of the River in calling for Loudoun County to drop this campaign and instead focus on proven solutions that will actually get traffic moving - among them, fixing the American Legion Bridge and better planning land use patterns. As proven for the 5th time in 20 years, this project does not offer traffic relief and would do great harm.
The Maryland side of the map above makes it looks like the Ag Reserve has no obstacles to these proposed crossing points. MCA has made the case time and again - farms are not holding ground for future development, they are small businesses that supply our basic needs for food and fiber. “The bridge would directly impact the drinking water intakes for most of the region’s population; potentially impair the Piedmont groundwater aquifer, which serves as the sole source of drinking water in rural Montgomery County; create development pressure in the nationally recognized Agricultural Reserve; and increase vehicle miles traveled,” says Taylor.
Montgomery Countryside Alliance is the small (but mighty!) organization founded around Ag Reserve kitchen tables to battle back plans for the bridge in 2001. Since then, we have grown to a full fledged watchdog organization for Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve. Our focus on local farms relies on local support. Please make a tax-deductible donation to keep us engaging tenaciously on the issues that matter to you.
The Lady Farmer Slow Living Retreat is for the modern woman seeking an inspired and healthful life through changes in energy management, consumer behavior and daily rituals. You are invited to be nourished by organically cultivated and locally sourced food, and connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way. Taking place at Zigbone Retreat Center in Frederick County the perfect balance between retreat-style introspection and self care, and conference-style personal development workshops on topics such as organic gardening and living more sustainably.
The agenda includes speakers on a variety of topics including gardening in any space, farm-to-closet conscious consumerism, affirmative writing, a nature therapy session and more.
October 20 12-4pm
About the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
The Rustic Roads Program preserves Montgomery County’s historic and scenic roadways that reflect the agricultural character and rural origins of the County. The members of the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee oversee the program, and advise the County Executive, Council and Planning Board on matters affecting the Rustic Roads.
Seven citizen members (three farmers, two civic association members, a member with knowledge of roadway engineering and a member with knowledge of rural preservation techniques) serve on the committee, together with a representative appointed by the Planning Board and staff provided by the County Executive. The members review Master Plan designations of the roads, development proposals, public projects such as bridge replacements, and they promote public awareness and knowledge of the roads.
Master Plan Update
Take Action Now
Ten Mile Creek
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 • 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.