More To Explore:
ECO City Farm Incubator in PG County
Everybody eats and very few of us are able to do this three times a day without depending on an ever-dwindling number of farmers growing on ever decreasing farm acreage.
Nationally, and in Maryland, the average age of our farmers is just over 59. The nation lost more than 100,000 farms between 2011 and 2018. And though we are fortunate to have family run farms in Montgomery County that will be passed along to the next generation, these do not number nearly enough to address the growing need for local food production.
Moreover, we must provide equitable access to land and resources for skilled diverse new farm businesses. The Agricultural Reserve, at over 90,000 acres, has plenty of room for more farms, and we will all thrive with greater inclusiveness. At MCA, we've been successfully matching farmers with landowners through our Land Link program since 2011 but farmer demand for land far outstrips supply.
Last June a group of diverse producers, all growing in Montgomery County, met at Dodo Farms in Brookeville with Councilmember Gabe Albornoz to share concerns about the difficulties new farm businesses encounter. Uplifting news of the growing diversity of local producers and products, especially culturally relevant crops, was tempered by the universal frustration about the myriad barriers to getting started. As we seek to grow the next generation of local farmers there is not a moment or a famer to waste.
It is time for an Montgomery County Farm Incubator - Learn More and Join Us
Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) and the County’s Office of Agriculture (OAG) have partnered to produce an online guide for new and expanding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers. (Press Release)
The guide seeks to marry Montgomery County's dual commitments to equality and agriculture by providing farmers of color with specific resources to get growing and sustain farm ventures in the County. The county is home to the Agricultural Reserve, an area of over 90,000 with special zoning set aside for open space and ag preservation 40 years ago.
“We have a ways to go to achieve a just and equitable food system. Montgomery County has plenty of room for more farms, and we will all thrive with greater inclusiveness – it’s our hope that we will need to update this guide often with more and more success stories and opportunities,” ~ MCA Executive Director Caroline Taylor.
Have a resource to add? - Info@MoCoAlliance.org - our thanks to Allison Millman for her work on the guide, our partners at Office of Ag and the county's past, current and future BIPOC producers.
MCA joins petition to EPA urging reform of nicotinoid pesticide policy that decimates bird, pollinator populations
What if there were a class of pesticide that in study after study was linked with dramatic die-off of birds and other pollinators as well as systemic impacts in the ecosystem.
The data is in on a class of pesticides called Nicotinoids detailing their pervasive harm to 100 million acres in the US each year - what has not been extensively studied is whether these pesticides actually are even effective for their intended use. All the irrevocable harm - where is the benefit?
MCA is proud to join Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the American Bird Conservancy along with many other organizations to urge the EPA to to discard a 1984 regulatory waiver that allowed companies to register pesticides without first submitting “efficacy” data showing that the product actually provides claimed benefits. Instead of requiring data on the costs versus the benefits of a pesticide application, the Reagan-era EPA simply formally declared: “rather than require efficacy data the Agency presumes that benefits exceed risks”.
Press from Environmental Health News
Press Release and Petition here
More News Fresh from the Ag Reserve:
Good Fences Grant Now Open
Together we are growing the next generation of farmers who are in turn growing a stronger food system. Here is a direct way to invest in viable farms and hunger relief efforts in Montgomery County.
The application will remain open until March 24 2023. Learn More and Apply Here.
Candlelight Concert Featuring Desiree Jordan
February 11th, 7:00 pm from the Sandy Spring Slave Museum
Come with your "boo" or meet your future "boo" at an intimate candlelight concert featuring local artist Desiree Jordan. Ticketed.
Unshakable: The Rise of Newmantown at the Agricultural History Farm Park
Every Friday and Saturday in February 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The exhibit “Unshakable” explores the history of Albert and Mary Newman, freedmen who emigrated in 1862 from Virginia to Montgomery County, Md., and became landowning farmers despite unprecedented circumstances. Albert and Mary Newman, and their children, built a thriving African American kinship community known as “Newmantown,” located on the grounds of the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood. The exhibit showcases photographs, documents, family mementos, local history, and rarely seen artifacts excavated from the site. Free.
Timothy Hodges Presents Captain Robert Smalls
February 12th, 2:00 – 3:00 pm at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum
Smalls’ daring escape from slavery using a Confederate ship that he commandeered captivated the nation and inspired many in the Union to push for Emancipation. Smalls’ ability to pilot a Confederate naval vessel through the harbor defenses of Charleston, SC in may 1862 helped to convince President Lincoln and others that African Americans should be given the opportunity to fight with Union forces. Smalls would go on to command Union naval vessels during the Civil War and become an influential U.S. Congressman. Ticketed.
Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army
February 14th, 2:00 pm Virtual Event from Montgomery History
More than 163 years later, John Brown's October 1859 ill-fated raid on Harpers Ferry to seize its federal arsenal and incite a slave rebellion is well known. Less known are the stories of five African Americans who joined with him. Their sacrifice continues to resonate, as the legacy of slavery, America's original sin, remains. Author Eugene L. Meyer tells us of the world in which they were born, lived and died, and of the aftermath, as the struggle for racial justice and equality rages on in 2023. Free.
History Happy Hour: Martin Luther King’s Vision of Democracy
February 17th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm from the Sandy Spring Museum
Racial integration and interracial harmony were important, but structural inequality formed the root and branch of a broken America. Dr. Quincy Mills, historian at the University of Maryland, College Park, will discuss King’s ideas on the importance of economic security in American democracy. The problems, in fact, rested with the core beliefs in liberal democracy, which King believed needed to be restructured to arrive at any sense of humanity. To learn more about the museum click here. Ticketed.
Black History: A Living Resistance in Dance & Music
February 18th, 1:00 pm at the Aspen Hill Library from the Sandy Spring Slave Museum
Experience how dance and movement from the African and African-American perspectives lift the spirits of youth and marginalized communities. Join us for fun social dances with drumming after the dance demonstrations for all ages. Free.
Jim Crow on Street Cars
February 18th, 1:00 – 2:00 pm at the National Capital Trolley Museum
Join us in the museum auditorium for a discussion, led by Eric Madison, on the origins of segregation on streetcars beginning in the 19th century and the attempts made nationwide to challenge both the custom and later the codification of "separate but equal" practices. This program is included with regular museum admission. To learn more about the museum click here. Free.
Black History Month Family Day
February 18th, 1:00 pm at the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
Bring the whole family for a self-guided exploration of Montgomery County’s Black history at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. Drop by the Visitor Center to pick up take-home activities (for ages 5-12) and trail maps to explore the Underground Railroad Experience Trail on their own. This is a great opportunity to connect, learn, and get exercise as a family. Free.
When the Stars Align: Celestial Navigation and the Underground Railroad
February 25th, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm at the Josiah Henson Museum and Park
Learn about the crucial role of the night sky in guiding and empowering freedom seekers in their perilous journeys north along the Underground Railroad. Guest speakers: historian Sylvea Hollis, astronomer Lou Strolger and Sophie Hess. Free.
Annual Gospel Train Ride to Freedom Concert: Reflections of Historical Roots
February 25th, 4:00 – 6:00 pm from the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation
Continue the historical journey through the annual “Gospel Train Ride to Freedom Concert: Reflections of Historical Roots!” and to celebrate the 46th Anniversary of the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the only Black Research Center in Montgomery County, the Leroy E. Neal African American Research Center. We will travel the historical roots through spiritual uplifting, songs and praises, and performances conducted by individuals, gospel and combined choirs, and artists across the state. Reserve Your Seat by February 15, 2023. Contact email@example.com to RSVP Ticketed.
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
Update: The Public hearing for this bill took place on 2/7/23 - see MCA's testimony here. The law was unanimously passed on 3/21
Thanks to all that took action, County Planning staff and the members of the MoCo Forest Coalition:
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Cedar Lane Ecosystems Study Group
Cedar Lane UU Church
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Friends of Sligo Creek
Friends of Ten Mile Creek & Little Seneca Reservoir
Green Sanctuary Committee of Unitarian-Universalist Church of Silver Spring
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Montgomery County Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Rock Creek Conservancy
Safe Healthy Playing Fields
Sierra Club Montgomery County Maryland
Sugarloaf Citizens Association
Stormwater Partners Network
Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee
Transit Alternatives to Midcounty Highway Extended (TAME Coalition)
White Acres Farm
From the MoCo Forest Coalition Press Release - our own Caroline Taylor explains the impact of this law: "The well being of our communities and needed resilience in the face of climate change is inextricably tied to the health of our forests. Three cheers to forward thinking council members and collaboration!"
Potomac Almanac Coverage of Tree Loss
MCA wants to thank everyone who took action in support of a strengthened County Forest Conservation Law during the last council session.
While MCA and the whole MoCo Forest Coalition were disappointed to not have stronger protections in place in 2022, having the new Council enact strong protections as one of their first actions in office sends a strong message about the importance of forests in the County.
In the last decade, MoCo lost 4000 acres of forests - the second highest rate of loss in the state. The "No-net loss" forest provision in this new law will go a long way to help keep and add forests across the County.
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The County Must Prohibit Use of Fertilizers With Off the Charts Levels of Forever Chemicals (PFAS)
The Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer - especially susceptible to contamination and the only water source for much of the Ag Reserve.
“These are some of the highest levels of PFAS in biosolids we have seen in the country,” stated PEER Executive Director Tim Whitehouse, a former enforcement attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and resident of Poolesville. “We are urging Montgomery County to take immediate steps to stop the use of contaminated sewage sludge on county farms and other lands.”
In mid-December two wells in Poolesville tested positive for PFAS - often called "forever chemicals" because they never break down in the environment. This group of around 5000 different man-made compounds created for foams and non-stick coatings among other purposes have been linked to serious health issues including hormone disruptions and various cancers.
Laboratory testing of biosolid fertilizers sold in Maryland has confirmed ultra-high levels of toxic per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to results released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
PEER, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and the Sugarloaf Citizens Association are asking Montgomery County officials to prohibit the application of class A and B biosolids, such as Bloom fertilizer products, on county agriculture fields, golf courses and public lands to prevent further contamination of ground and surface waters.
Letter to the Council and Executive
Summary Lab Test
Full Lab Report
What Are Biosolids and Why Are They Such a Problem?
PFAS from biosolids migrate to surface water and groundwater. They are also taken up by plants and ingested by humans and livestock. Impacts of spreading these biosolids have lead to farms in Maine with elevated PFAS levels having to shut down. Governors in New England have banned biosolid fertilizers for this reason. It is important to note farms certified USDA Organic and Certified Naturally Grown are prohibited from using biosolids.
The Reserve is particularly at risk of this kind of contamination of drinking water as it sits atop the federally designated Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer - the only source of drinking water for local wells in the western Reserve - outside the WSSC envelope by design. (How does a well work?). With the thin soils and fractured geology of the area, there is more transmission between ground and surface waters in this area.
The EPA will complete the risk assessment for PFOA and PFOS in biosolids by December 2024. It would be prudent at minimum, given the persistent nature of these chemicals, to suspend land applications (all sources in MC) until the assessment is complete.
Why This Matters:
What can a reasonable person do?
From a study at Duke of the most effective water filters, “Home filters are really only a stopgap. The real goal should be control of PFAS contaminants at their source.” PFAS are already everywhere but many of them bio-accumulate, meaning reducing further exposure can mitigate health impacts. Track PFAS contamination with this interactive map from Environmental Working Group. It is important to note that these substances are widespread, toxic and largely un or under regulated - leaving the consumer to invest in their own protection. When the level of protection is based on what solutions a household can afford, this becomes an environmental justice issue.
- Check to see if your drinking water source has been tested for PFAS; if not, consider collecting tap samples and sending them for testing to My Tap Score. Given the relatively reasonable costs, consider ordering both the advanced water test AND the PFAS test.
-Duke and NC State compared a number of water filters for their ability to filter out PFAS. This was one that fared well in testing.
-Ditch any teflon or other non-stick cookware
-Use the Environmental Working Group Database to find personal care items that have been found to be safer. Start with your floss.
-Achievable steps from the EPA
Success! This ZTA was withdrawn! Thanks to everyone who took action. Your voice made a difference! Be sure to follow along with our friends at Friends of Ten Mile Creek and Little Seneca Reservoir as they continue to steward our water resources.
Our partners at Friends of Ten Mile Creek and Little Seneca Reservoir need your action - please take two minutes to support their action alert - and clean water for all.
On January 17, 2023, the Montgomery County Council will hold a hearing on a Zoning Text Amendment, ZTA 22-12, that would exempt the impervious surfaces of master-planned bikeways from being counted toward the impervious limits that protect the Ten Mile Creek watershed (that's the fragile back up water supply for 4.3 million).
The 2014 Clarksburg master plan was written specifically with strict, science based limits on paved surfaces in this watershed to protect water quality. This proposed ZTA conflicts directly with this master plan.
This is not a bike path vs. clean water choice. We can have both. But the science is clear. The proposed housing and other land developments in Ten Mile Creek, in combination with the bike paths and all other forms of hard surfaces, need to conform to limits previously established by Montgomery County. Any proposed weakening of these protective limits should be rejected.
Take two minutes to take action here.
Rally to Re-Open White's Ferry - Now Action
Hundreds showed up in the final days of 2022 to rally for White's Ferry to re-open - 2 years after it closed. Rally organizers estimate that 9 million extra miles have been driven as the result of the ferry's extended closure.
Good noise made. Now… action.
This centuries old and much relied upon transportation corridor must be reopened to the public. Maryland should explore legal options. There was long term, open use of the VA side landing… establishing a public right of way to a public road.
Rally Organizers Guest Column in Montgomery Perspective
WaPo Cover's last year's anniversary of the closure
Two wells in Poolesville have tested positive for PFAS - often called forever chemicals because they never break down in the environment. This group of around 5000 different man-made compounds created for foams and non-stick coatings among other purposes have been linked to health issues. Pesticides known to contain PFAS that the EPA has failed to regulate are are one way that the compounds end up in the soil, plants and water supply according to our friends at PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).
Poolesville has released a letter to every resident and this press release.
The Reserve is particularly at risk of this kind of contamination of drinking water as it sits atop the federally designated Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer - the only source of drinking water for local wells in the western Reserve - outside the WSSC envelope by design. (How does a well work?)
Collaboration (State, County, towns, groups) and tenacity will be needed to address the important issue. The Town will hold an information session on January 3rd at 7pm
In the meantime - here is the EPA list of actionable steps and resources to better understand PFAS.
WUSA video coverage below and transcript
Since 2001, MCA has been the organization devoted to protection of the Region's farms and water resources. We are committed to work with decision makers at all levels and local residents to secure water resources. Collaboration and tenacity are required here and that is what we bring. Your support helps us connect resources to deal with this threat. We'd be honored by your tax-deductible donation.
A Year of Land Links
Here at MCA, the short, short version of our mission is "We Connect." We connect farmers both new and established with plenty of resources but our expensive region access to land is a real stumbling block for new or expanding farmers.
In 2011 we responded to this need with a new program - Land Link Montgomery. Since then 30+ farmers have been matched with leases to grow everything from flower and herbs to persimmons to tomatoes and peppers, nightshade and kiwano melon and even cattle and sheep.
In 2022 we matched 6 farmers - here are a few of their stories.
We wish these fledgling farmers many happy seasons in MoCo - and we are here with resources to help them thrive. There are many more farmers still seeking land and your support helps us connect these farmers with the land and resources to get started. We would be honored by your tax-deductible end of year gift.
As the year ends we are counting down the final 12 days till 2023 in the style of 12 days of Christmas. For the 8th day (8 Maids a milking) we are highlighting MoCo's dairies past and present. Here at MCA we dig in to protect MoCo's farms and farmland - we would be honored by your end of year support.
Brown Cow Creamery at Savage Acres creates delicious cheese from grassfed cows in Dickerson, Maryland (see their primer on the benefits of grassfed beef here.) They also offer flours from their corn and wheat along with beef, pork and eggs. The Savages have a closed loop system with a local distiller where their corn is used to make whiskey and the spent grain is then fed back to the cows. You can find their products online and also at the Poolesville Farmers Market.
Rock Hill Orchard in Mt Airy is a pick-your-own and the site of Woodboune Creamery - the nations first all pasture raised robotic dairy. Having trouble picturing the laser guided nozzles and mobile linked updates of their dairy barn- this video will help. Since that video, the Fendricks of Rock Hill have added an ice cream parlor - the only Montgomery County stop on the MD Ice Cream Trail. Though the gals are slowing down milk production for the winter products are available at the farm and Germantown pick ups. Learn More.
John Fenderick was kind enough to join our Farm Accessory Solar webinar to detail the system on his barn roof. Watch the recording here.
Both of these farms are practicing rotational or intensive grazing - moving the cows regularly through multiple pastures. Rock Hill details how this works. The result is healthier soils that are able to hold more water runoff - preventing erosion and improving water quality. A deep dive on this can be found at Maryland's Million Acre Challenge
The King Barn Dairy Mooseum catalogs the history of MoCo's many, many dairies. Open May- October they feature interactive exhibits on the historic King Farm. An interactive map shows the sea of small dairies that used to operate throughout the County.
Rainbow chard grows at the AfriThrive Farm in Poolesville from seedlings provided by Common Root Farm of Derwood – AfriThrive harvests are distributed at free mobile markets to address food insecurity in Montgomery County. AfriThrive was matched with farmland through our Land Link program.
Dear Friend of the Ag Reserve,
As the year closes, we thank you once again for your support of our efforts to protect the farmland, open spaces, natural resources, and historic assets of our nationally recognized Agricultural Reserve. Since 2001, MCA has emerged as a regional force that recognizes the critical role of local activity and engagement in support of global imperatives of protecting farmland and natural environmental services in the face of our changing climate.
Close to home, the Ag Reserve is critical infrastructure for a resilient future:
At MCA we say "We Protect What We Love." Together with supporters who love and understand the value of the Reserve, and embrace the power of grassroots organizations, we have achieved much:
With new faces at the Council and Planning Board, there are both opportunities and challenges ahead. MCA has spent over 20 years rolling up our sleeves and “digging in,” often in effective collaboration with partner groups. Elected officials, county staff, and civic leaders are increasingly aware of our well-informed and effective advocacy. When the discourse becomes antagonistic, MCA seeks to find the common and supportable way forward. We are a tenacious but collegial advocate for the region's critical resources.
With your help in 2023 we will:
We appreciate and continue to need your support for our efforts to ensure the best possible stewardship of this special resource we all love. We invite you to join us as we keep our eyes on the prize and “dig in.”
Peace and good health to you and yours this holiday season,
Decision Tool for Group Farming
Land for Good has done a webinar series to help folks better access this tool. Find the recording of the session for farm service providers here and the session for farmers here.
If you want to go far, go together....
MCA has been so proud to be invited to work with the FRSAN -NE (Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network) chapter as part of the new farmer/land access cohort - a project run by the National Young Farmers Coalition bringing farmers and farm service providers together to tackle some of the root causes of farmer stress.
Finding and maintaining land to farm is a constant stressor in a farming career. Toward the end of last year MCA staff partnered with farmers and farm service providers in the cohort to create a decision tool to help new farmers consider different ways of accessing land besides just the typical rent/buy dichotomy. The cohort was particularly interested in sharing newer solutions for group farm tenure that are becoming more common like farm incubators or land trusts. Pooling your resources with like minded farmers can help you get farming faster.
Land for Good is the clearing house for the new toolkit, just one in a treasure trove of resources they offer to farmers and landowners seeking to access and secure land.
We'd love to hear your experiences with this tool - firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the tool here
Interested in Land access? - Check out our Land Link program where we connect local farmers and landowners.
Michael Nardolilli, executive director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, told WTOP the water supply is vulnerable: “We do run the risk of the Potomac River becoming unavailable due to, say, an extreme drought caused by climate change, or a contamination event that could be either accidental or intentional.”
WTOP is reporting that the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, or WRDA, would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct studies to find a secondary drinking water source and additional drinking water storage. This bill is up for approval in the next two weeks.
Local water officials have been studying the use of the Travilah Quarry. However it is likely that even more capacity will need to be found to meet demand as drought threatens supply.
Get Your Holiday Greens ...Locally!
For many, finding the perfect tree is an exciting part of the holiday. This year, consider making a outing of it and visiting Montgomery County's tree farms. We have some great family-owned options farms to choose from.
Naughty Pine Nursery
An add on excursion- you can time your tree expedition to visit the Countryside Artisan's Open Studio Tour weekends. Or maybe a winery or brewery.
For those of you with affection for our County’s wonderful rustic roads- take a little time to hear from those giving voice to the benefits of the program and continued stewardship of these byways.
(MCA’s testimony begins at approximately 6:07:00 - but hear others strong testimony as well.)
The record will remain open until December 9 for folks to write in to support the program and important Rustic Roads Advisory Committee recommendations (testimony here.)
Details (thank you Leslie Saville):
WHO: You, your friends and neighbors, residents, visitors, groups (civic, historic, environmental, recreational), farmers, farm market and CSA operators, vintners and brewers, artists, visitors, cyclists, equestrians, hikers, businesses--anyone and everyone who loves and uses our rustic roads.
WHAT: Please tell the Planning Board how your road (or your favorite road) is special to you. Your testimony doesn't need to be long, but if it's personal and heartfelt, it will be powerful.
Ideas you might include: These roads are historic and unique, as are the bridges, structures and landscapes along them. They are narrow, slow, and safe, leading to places of wonder--to views of Sugarloaf Mountain, to historic communities, both Black and White, past a one-room schoolhouse, a favorite barn or a row of 100-year old cedar trees.
Your testimony would be especially helpful if it highlights how valuable and irreplaceable these historic, scenic roads continue to be, that they are integral to our working landscapes, rural areas and villages, and the functioning of the Agricultural Reserve. They strengthen our rural businesses including our farms, markets, orchards, stables, wineries, breweries and art studios along them. These roads are safely shared by all users, and their narrow pavements protect the water quality in our streams and reservoirs. Heritage tourism along these roads is an enormous economic asset for our rural economy.
Love your own road! Please name your road (or roads). Include a stunning photo or two! Check your road description in the master plan and point out something specific you support. Examples--a new designation, a historic or one-lane bridge that's a Significant Feature of your road, a history write up that highlights things you might not know or that you hope others might learn, or historic sites, views or champion trees shown on the new map of your road.
Send email to:
Thanks for your support of our Rustic Roads!
Late breaking good news from Frederick County: Outgoing County Executive Jan Gardner has just announced that Frederick County will institute a Rustic Roads Program to protect 80 miles of roads that were identified in the 20 year old Rural Roads program with an "exceptionally rustic" designation and adds 287 miles of "candidate roads" that will be studied for inclusion in the program.
Executive Gardner: "We know that preservation is crucial to maintaining our community’s unique characteristics,” Executive Gardner said. “By launching this Rustic Roads Program, we can preserve Frederick County’s rustic roads in their natural and historic settings so future generations can understand and appreciate our rich agricultural history.”
Video of the proclamation here and County press release here.
Frederick's push for more protection for rural roads makes a strong case for continued protection for those same roads as they cross the border into MoCo's rural lands.
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 years 3 new days on the calendar have emerged as a counterweight to the frantic shopping and schlepping that the holidays can become. We are partnering with the county Department of Environmental Protection for the "Gift Outside the Box" campaign - urging folks to shop local, shop green and reduce waste and emissions and maybe even increase joy.
May we humbly suggest a Re-Leaf Honor Card - you give in honor or memory, we send a card to your loved one with thanks for helping plant forever forests in MoCo (5000 trees...and counting!)
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 26th 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.
Thrive 2050 Passes - Now The Work Begins
Thrive 2050, the update to the general plan meant to guide land use in the County for the coming decades, had its final vote at the Council at the end of October and was unanimously passed.
Thrive, through there were some efforts to address its problems in the weeks before the vote, remains flawed in a number of concerning ways.
Undergirding it is the view of densification as a panacea for all problems in all areas of the County, with no meaningful policy guard rails to ensure this new development is affordable for residents and beneficial for the county - be that economically, equitably or environmentally. Specifically, on water/forest/farmland protection, racial justice and more, we stand with the diverse coalition of civic groups who had been respectfully sharing concerns about both the Thrive plan and lack of transparency since the beginning - and providing compromise solutions for its improvement.
Both Thrive's supporters and its detractors have said that the plan is only a starting point - a beginning, not an end.
The real work of Thrive starts now as a new planning board and chair of unknown tenure and a mostly new and expanded Council take office (resignations and firings at Planning). There is both challenge and opportunity where these policies meet the road.
So now - we do as we always have… we dig in to press for transparency and public interest as the plan is rolled out. We are going to be all over this, like stormwater on pavement.
Thanks to your support we had a seat at the table to strongly suggest changes that would strengthen the plan. Your continued support will help us mitigate the roll out of Thrive as words on a page take shape on the landscape.
That is where it matters - with 20 years of advocacy and your continued support- that is where we will be.
We would be honored by your tax deductible gift this giving season.
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.