- Education- the Key to our Future: Our program provided for class, field and on farm learning for local high school students. Now expanded to 4 schools and working with partners at Montgomery County Office of Agriculture, the program aims is to ensure that the next generation understands the value of a healthy food system and discovers the potential for careers and participation within it. Erin Binns of Poolesville’s Global Ecology Program writes: “MCA’s program has been excellent and the level of student interest in both their environment and food system is growing.” We are proud to have mentored student filmmakers’ award winning short documentary “The Call of the Land.”
- Building Strong Community: Through popular events including Field and Fiddle, the Royce Hanson Award Celebration, Ride for the Reserve, screenings of our “Growing Legacy” film (GrowingLegacyMovie.com) and a new batch of photo safaris, we promoted greater affection for and understanding of The Reserve and agriculture. Through our producers listserve and newsletters we connect farmers and residents to one another, local news and educational opportunities.
- Growing Farms = Growing Economy: Our Land Link program continues to thrive – matching farmers with landowners – leading to the addition of over 400 acres of new or expanded local farm businesses (MoCoLandLink.org). Staff worked with local farmers and the County Council to provide for regulation and zoning updates that support agritourism and increased farm earning potential. We helped to establish the new Common Ground Market, allowing Reserve producers an outlet to sell their products near their farms- bringing consumers to the Reserve and saving time, cost and labor for the farmers.
- Protecting Natural and Historic Resources: Maybe you’ve seen them… our action alerts that foster collaboration to protect water resources, historic rustic roads and communities, encourage wise land use decisions. These alerts and our newly refurbished website provide tools for citizen participation and help our elected representatives understand what is important to us… what matters. The alerts have generated hundreds of emails and calls and results.
- Growing our local farm economy: The success of local farming is the success of the Reserve. To further that end, we will host a buyer – grower summit this winter helping to connect our producers with markets and restaurants. Tanya writes: “Thanks so much for your help connecting with Dawson’s Market, just delivered my first shipment of horned melon, Kiwano, and I will work with them again next season.”
- No Outer Beltway and Potomac River Bridge! A recent alert from bypass/bridge booster Northern VA Transportation Alliance declares that the needs of the many must override the opposition of the few. We will ramp up efforts to demonstrate that local food production and land preservation matter to many.
- Protecting our water: MCA will facilitate important hydrogeological studies of the characteristics and vulnerabilities of the Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer, the groundwater supply that serves as only source of potable water for Reserve farms and communities.
- Connecting Residents: Our popular Explore Guide will be revised and an interactive online version launched, better linking residents with both goods and destinations in the Reserve.
Your gift works all year to protect farms, water and open space right here in Montgomery County.