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:
- Food insecurity is up 50% in Montgomery County and across the country since 2020. Each year our local farmers produce hundreds of tons of produce for local food banks, rounding out shelf-stable foods with fresh, healthy options for our food insecure neighbors. MCA is matching more of these producers with land through our Land Link program. Meet the farmers and landowners behind the matches.
- Outdoor recreation opportunities in the Reserve became even more sought after by regional residents during the pandemic. MCA presses actively for the best stewardship of our County and State parkland, rural and rustic roads, and wildlife habitats.
- In support of renewable energy, MCA led the effort on responsible siting of large scale solar power installations in the Reserve. While the solar industry and some Council members pushed to open all farm acreage to industrial solar fields, we arrived at a solution which best protects farms, forests, and water quality. At the same time, MCA is promoting regenerative agriculture practices that enrich soil, save water, and sequester carbon.
- Planted 5000 native trees to date through our Re-Leaf the Reserve Program.
- Connected a diverse group of new farmers to landowners with land to lease, increasing our food production including crops important to immigrant communities in our diverse county and region.
- Helped secure full staffing for the County Office of Agriculture to better support the growing agricultural sector - particularly to provide expertise on meeting climate challenges.
- Continue to grow the next generation of farmers through our Land Link Program (MocoLandLink.org)
- Collaborate to establish a farm incubator connecting new farmers with land and training to jumpstart diverse new farms and expand regenerative agricultural practices in the County.
- Maintain vigilance to guard against unwise land use proposals, legislation, and regulatory changes and monitor the roll out of the recently approved Thrive 2050 plan.
- Plant more acres of native “forever forests” and urge the new Council to adopt a strengthened Forest Conservation Plan for the whole County.
Peace and good health to you and yours this holiday season,