The county staff issues briefing can be found here
MCA's suggested edits on the framework can be found here
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The County is undertaking a 50 year plan that will guide land use, environmental and historic resource stewardship, the health of our communities and the viability of our farms. The plan is called Thrive 2050. At this point, the county is gathering opinions from residents (and folks are encouraged to weigh in here) and hosting way-seeking conversations about the things that matter (MCA was honored to moderate the first such conversation - the Future of Food).
The county staff issues briefing can be found here
MCA's suggested edits on the framework can be found here
MCA is on the ground defending the county's open space, farmland and water supply and we have a seat at the table to help guide this important process because for more than a decade we have operated as a collegial and collaborative partner with the county and other civic groups. Your support is needed now more than ever as we help chart the next decades of life in Montgomery County. Please consider making a tax deductible gift today.
As part of the Thrive 2050 campaign to update the county's general plan, the planning department is hosting a number of panel discussions on big topics. We were proud to be the moderator for the first topic - 'The Future of Food'. Our own Caroline Taylor moderated a discussion with Ben Butler of Butler Orchard, Greg Glenn of Rocklands Farm, Darryl Perkins of the Broccoli City Festival and Hannah Shoulder of the Koiner Center for Sustainable Farming It was an over capacity crowd on a rainy evening to connect and discuss how we feed ourselves and our neighbors in this new decade. You can see the whole session below.
January 14, 2020 Thrive Montgomery 2050 Winter Speaker Series
Photo: Josie O'Connell
It is that magical time of year, the resolutions are still sticking. Look at you- meeting your goals, full of hope in the dawning of the year and new decade. While it may seem that your couch, TV and remaining holiday chocolate are all conspiring against your new habits - there is one person who wants to help you succeed - your local farmer!
Whether you resolved to eat better, cook more, or be more community minded - a CSA (Community Supported Ag) share checks all the boxes.
A CSA is like a farm subscription, each week of the growing season you get a box of whatever is in season that week. The "Community" part means that you are buying into the farm with other subscribers - investing in a farm at this time of year when they need it most to plan and plant the coming harvest.
The benefits of a CSA are many - local food is great for the community and the environment and also great for your health. You are locked into eating your veggies each week/getting produce at the peak of freshness from people you build a relationship with over the season. Worried that you simply won't know what to do with kale or heaven forbid a parsnip? Many of the farms offer a treasure trove of recipes built up over the seasons. (or check out MCA's own "How do I use all that ____" series where we take on how to cook the less popular seasonal vegetables.)
Find your CSA Right Here
A few farms are making it even easier to join a CSA for those not ready to commit.
Any CSA can be split among friends of family - alternating weeks or splitting up a larger share is an easy way to share the harvest and be sure there is always someone there to pick it up.
Common Root Farm of Derwood is offering "Farm Cards" in addition to their typical CSA - you can buy a share of the harvest redeemable at any time. Say you are out of town a lot but want to get a share of produce when you are home. Buy a card now and redeem it when you would like at the farmers market, their online store or on-farm market.
One Acre Farm of Dickeson is offering the option to pay for your CSA in installments.
Dear Friend of MCA,
As the year closes, we wish to thank you for support of our efforts to protect the Agricultural Reserve, its farms, parkland, open spaces, waterways and habitats For the third time MCA has been recognized as "One of the Best" small nonprofits in the Washington region by the Catalogue for Philanthropy because of the work we do.
Because of Your Support We Were Able to Undertake:
As a response to our climate crisis, MCA is proud to partner with Montgomery County Planning to identify landowners in the Ag Reserve with sensitive waterways in order to plant acres of native trees. Forest conservation easements and deer fencing will protect these new plantings - and the streams they help stabilize.
To increase crop yields, reduce pesticides and capture atmospheric carbon, regenerative agriculture practices include the use of cover crops, perennial vegetation, less soil tillage and more compost to lock Co2 from the air into the soil. And it means healthier food for you and your family.
The County is undertaking a new Master Plan process called Thrive 2050. It will guide how our County grows and functions for the next thirty years. A short quiz from the Planning Department was issued to residents in order to gauge support for land use changes. It was quite disturbing. With a total of just ten questions, two of them directly suggest erosion of the Ag Reserve:
We know how you would vote - against destroying the crowning land use achievement of the County's last forty years. On the eve of its 40th anniversary we should not stray from what is a nationally acclaimed land use model — but we must innovate. For all it does — protecting farms, open space, water and air quality and adding to the economy - the Ag Reserve can do more.
Together we can...
• Grow the next generation of farmers and link them with affordable acreage (Land Link).
• Continue to bring more farmers to classrooms and students to farm fields.
• Watchdog our elected officials as well as County and State agencies.
• And re-forest non-arable land in the Reserve to meet the County's ambitious carbon sequestration goals before it is too late.
Since 2001, MCA has had boots on the ground to protect the County's bold commitment to agriculture. Your support has allowed us to grow into a lean but mighty, well respected organization. Charting the future decades of the County and its Ag Reserve requires all oars in the water and our collective voices at the table. We hope you will continue to support us with a tax-deductible year-end gift. Peace to you and yours this holiday season!
We spend a lot of time here at MCA doing the work - writing the testimony on land use issues, matching farmers with land, planting trees, educating students and hosting events. We don't always find the time to document what we are up to. Thankfully, our activities have been documented in videos and on the page, check out the following media about our 2019 efforts.
Montgomery Week in Review- Caroline Taylor introduces Re-Leaf the Reserve
3rd graders helping us mulch our new 1.5 acre Re-Leaf the Reserve planting
Ride for the Reserve - My MCMedia video:
Meet Dodo Farms - a farm that found land through our Land Link program
We are one of 4 Montgomery Magazine featured charities for their December/January Charity Issue. Read the profile here
Conservation Montgomery honored our Executive Director Caroline Taylor with the Joe Howard Conservation Award.
Land Link Montgomery is MCA's program to connect aspiring and expanding farmers with landowners offering long term leases. The program has matched over 400 acres in the County and continues to accept both landowners and farmers. Visit the Land Link site to learn more.
We usually get to see the match between farmer and landowner start over email but it is really gratifying to see the result of a match in crops planted and fresh produce at markets. There have been two recent profiles of local Land Link success stories - both now a few seasons in and having achieved the Certified Naturally Grown designation.
We received a joyful piece of correspondence the other day from Land Link farmer Olaniyi of Dodo Farms. We matched him with an acre some time back and he got in touch with an update and a documentary from the County of the thriving farm on his one acre.
I will like to thank you so much for matching us with Dorothy.
I am delighted to tell you that not only have we had the most amazing experience with Dorothy and her family, the county just released a documentary about our farm. We mentioned you in the documentary and your site was featured too.
You changed our lives, you made something that seemed unachievable, easy.
Thank you so much.
Another profile - this time in print- of another Land Link success story was in the harvest issue of PLENTY magazine - the fledgling publication devoted solely to covering the Upcounty and Ag Reserve. Read the article about farmer Tanya here. Tanya's Passion to Seed Farm is growing both native staples and crops, like Kiwano (Horned Melon) from her native Zimbabwe.
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 30th 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. We've been called "one of the best" small nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy for the third time.
As busy as we get, Thanksgiving is still a time that we return to time-honored traditions. These rituals still rely on local farmers. Give thanks for our local farmers by sourcing your feast locally!
Turkeys: (Please Note - pre-ordering ASAP is essential for local turkeys-get in touch as soon as you can)
Whether you are making an old favorite or finding new side dishes to try - they will be better with local ingredients grown right here in MoCo. A Farmers Market the week before Thanksgiving is a truly joyful place. Find your market here.
And this just in - if you need a lot of sweet potatoes our friends at Purple Mountain Organics can take your order for 50 lbs or more.
Stephanie's Secret Garden Flower Shop and Gypsy Flower Farm are offering a class to help you create gorgeous table arrangements for Thanksgiving. Stephanie can also create something gorgeous for you - like she did for our Farm to Fork Dinner.
For the Vegans:
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary hosts a Thanksgiving WITH the Turkeys each year (Nov.23 this year) - a vegan potluck for human visitors and all sorts of treats given to the Turkeys and other residents of this Ag Reserve sanctuary.
Wine and Beer:
Rocklands Farm Winery
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
Waredaca Brewing Co.
Brookeville Beer Farm
Fall Re-Leaf the Reserve planting is underway!
First of 3 sites being planted by our contractor Gardens by Garth on 1.5 acres of upland ground near Barnesville. Mixed native deciduous and evergreen trees from Schott Nursery are good sized 5-7 feet and will have 6 months to establish root systems before summer’s heat kicks in.
The property owner seeks to slow stormwater, provide habitat and wind break, and sequester carbon. Further great news: The Reserve farm will also host a new farmer who moved from Massachusetts to produce regeneratively grown table crops.
3rd graders from a MC school learned about the value of trees and how getting messy in soil is both fun and good for you. JOY!
MCA Co-President Gene Kingsbury, along with Poolesville High School Global Ecology veteran teacher Joyce Bailey, has spent some time with MCA's Ag Education program in the classroom with students. "In Poolesville, when we ask how many of them want to work in agriculture - maybe one hand goes up. " But in Damascus, he says, it is different. The leadership of this year's honoree, veteran Ag educator Lori Mayhew, has sparked an interest in agriculture among students and launched countless careers in the field. Lori also coordinates Montgomery County's only FFA (Future Farmers of America) program. Read more about Lori here. Visit our Facebook Page for more photos.
Our thanks to Lori Mayhew for her commitment to Agriculture Education! Thanks to St. Mary's Pavilion of Barnesville for hosting us, our board members for helping out with the event and to Dr. Royce Hanson, for everything.
Fifth Generation Orchard owner and MCA Co-President Gene Kingsbury shares his poem "Willow Creek"
Caroline Taylor is a leading advocate for Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve.
Conservation Montgomery is recognizing Caroline as a tireless educator and powerful advocate for farmers and communities in and around our Agricultural Reserve. With climate change now a high priority on our local agenda, we are recognizing Caroline as a key ally who works every day to protect farms, forests, and park lands in Montgomery County.
Here at MCA we know her to be the driving force behind many of our most successful initiatives: Re-Leaf the Reserve, Land Link, the Producers Listserve and many more along with her more informal bringing together of community stakeholders. Where others see challenges she sees opportunity and cheerfully marshalls local resources to solve problems. Her hand at the tiller has given the organization both its tenacity and heart.
Our shortened mission statement at MCA is "we connect" Caroline is the glue that brings voices into the conservation and stakeholders around the table to protect farms in Montgomery County.
See a wrap up of the event here
Magical evening... sweeping views across the historic farm (circa 1790) that hosted our first Field & Film!
Huge thanks to the Bergmann Family, the remarkable Van Mertz, Kingsbury’s Orchard, our board and community volunteers! And BABE!
Each year the Royce Hanson award honors a person or group that has improved the Ag Reserve or local agriculture - we call them Reserve Champions much like the Award's namesake- Dr. Royce Hanson the architect of the Reserve during his tenure as chair of the Planning Commission back in the 80s. This year we honor Lori Mayhew, a legendary educator on her 20th year teaching with both Damascus High School and the local FFA chapter. Lori has served three terms as president of the Maryland Agriculture Teachers Association.
Lori has expanded her scope to Ag Education beyond the school walls into the wider community. Her FFA chapter has started both a Damascus High School Farmers Market and “Great Big Plant Giveaway” where people who attend the opening week of the market receive 5 free vegetable or herb plants.
"We believe that everyone can grow something, and by removing the economic barrier of cost we believe more people will try. We believe that when people grow some of their own food they develop a better appreciation of the hard work it takes and they become better advocates for the agriculture community. You might not be able to grow everything, but everyone can grow something," she says.
Lori Mayhew has steered the careers of countless agriculture professionals.
"Mrs. Lori Mayhew, Damascus High School and FFA Chapter, encouraged social learning in a variety of independent and cooperative projects that integrated learning and fun so much, it was hard to tell one from the other. Those formative years of the school’s renewed chapter were only successful because of the fundraising prowess and no-non-sense attitude she had in the classroom and the innumerable hours of extracurricular activities. What set Mrs. Mayhew apart from all my other mentors was her ability to help students think about opportunities in terms of how they fit student’s individual goals. Without her encouragement, I would never have tried public speaking at that age and now it’s a crucial and sought after part of my job. Thanks for your dedication to #TeachAg.”
Please save the date to celebrate Lori Mayhew -
4pm ~ November 3 at St. Mary's Pavilion in Barnesville
(18230 Barnesville Rd, Barnesville, MD 20838)
Thanks For a Great Ride!
It was a chilly start but a gorgeous day to Ride for the Reserve - perfectly expressed by this county video:
It took a whole lot of hands to make it happen and we want to thank everyone - starting with the support of our Riders! There will be an after-ride survey sent to each rider so you can let us know how we can improve next year. We thank our pal David Ris who took a ton of great photos right here. And there are more from rider Peter Klosky on our Facebook. Please share your photos with us either on social media (tag @mocoalliance on all platforms) or by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Our SAG Support team, our Route Leaders and all our volunteers who made our rest stops, registration and picnic run smoothly!
Our stops - Barnesville School, RB Savage and Sons Farm Market, Linden Barn (thanks to SCA!), Farmer Anne and her volunteers at Stargazing Farm and Anne Davies at Stonefields.
Our sponsors Heritage Montgomery, Laren Rusin, PT (who shared some great pre-ride stretches here) and the County's Upcounty Regional Office, our friends at Bike Dr Frederick.
Our thanks for the grub to Panera, and Harvest Plates and Pints of Gaithersburg, thanks to Kingsbury's Orchard for the venue and cider also Wegmans and Costco. And thanks to Peace Run for the music!
Lastly, a big big thanks to our ride chair Lili Leonard-the definition of perseverance as she pulled of a great ride despite a very broken ankle - thank you!
Join Us for a Family Movie Night in the Ag Reserve!
We had to postpone this event after excessive heat in July (we will honor all tickets from that date) but October 19 will be Field and Film - a family movie night done Ag Reserve style. Join us on the historic White-Carlin Farm in Boyds for the the classic movie 'Babe' shown on a barn. We will have snacks and of course popcorn. Kids 12 and under are free! Tickets are limited!
Trunk rotation in lunge position and side bending: in a kneeling lunge position, start by gently twisting your trunk side to side, gently and slowly increasing the range of motion. Perform for a minute, switching which leg is forward halfway through. Then perform a sidebend and reach, to the left then to the right. Same thing, switch which leg is forward halfway through.
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 recognized for a third time 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.