We are so deeply grateful to everyone for their time and energy as we collaborate to build a robust and equitable local food system.
Thanks to Wib Middleton of Plenty Magazine for photos. Please peruse the videos below.
Tope Fajingbesi and Niyi Balogun- Dodo Farms, Brookville
Tanya Spandhla, Passion to Seed Farm and MCA board member, Brookville
Nia Nyamweya - Beauty Blooms Farm, Barnesville
Indu Balasubramaniam, Vijay and Suriya Kandaswamy - Amaranth Acres, Dickerson
Truphena Choti - Afrithrive Farm, Poolesville
Nazirahk Amen - Purple Mountain Organics
Amanda Cather - Plow & Stars Farm, Poolesville - American Farmland Trust
Lee Langstaff - Shepherd's Hey Farm, Comus - MCA board president
Jane Thery - Maryland Horse Council Stewardship Committee, boards at Wyndham Oaks
Marci Guramatunhu - Chirandu Farm, Barnesville
Anne Davies - Stone Field Farm, Boyds, MCA board
Laura Van Etten - Monocacy Mills Farm, Dickerson
Mohammed Iqbal Khan - Neelamga, Potomac
Jane Perini and Wib Middleton - PLENTY Magazine, Darnestown
Caroline Taylor - Poolesville, MCA
- appreciation for the Agricultural Reserve (of course)
- good news of growing diversity of producers and products notably culturally relevant foods
-the many layered contributions of agriculture, notably by BIPOC and women producers with emphasis on meeting food insecurity
- farming, to exist and expand here, must be profitable
- Ag Census data (handout) that underscores diversity within ag sector
-Equestrian: Over 12,000 horses, 111 licensed stables including therapeutic riding, kid’s lessons, trails and horse operations on county land like Meadowbrook, Wheaton Stables and Potomac Stables. Great environmental stewards with grasslands, woodlots and wildlife habitat. Outdoor recreation and economic drivers with employment and many related services from hay to farriers to fence builders.
Challenges and potential solutions:
-Access to affordable land and resources such as fencing/wells/power/equipment
-labor shortages as well as absence of critical farm labor housing proximate to farms
-equitable access to capital cited as ongoing challenge
-establish in-county processing centers for protein/produce - this has become big issue
-provide clear resources to navigate various requirements for farm start ups and better facilitate approval for farm labor housing units
-inclusion: gaining a place at the table where decision making occurs
-educating consumers about local farms/products/challenges/opportunities (I.e. support for local media such as PLENTY magazine)
-Community land trusts/ incubators and building equity and opportunities for BIPOC/women producers to own land and long-term farm leases for small-scale producers
-For labor: facilitate connection with immigrants and under employed with ag backgrounds/ interests
- Land Link Get's It's Close Up - videos of Beauty Blooms Farms and more farm matches.
- More on Dodo Farms - we matched this successful farm with one acre and they have grown into a multi-acre table crop powerhouse.
- In this election season- there has been a misconception that the Reserve does not grow "real food." Check out all that the Reserve grows here.
- Speaking of election season - check out all the candidate responses to our candidate's survey plus much more voter info here.