A warm ceremony on a chilly fall evening by the fire on the Locals patio celebrated PLENTY publishers Jane Perini and Wib Middleton as the honorees of this year's Royce Hanson Ag Reserve Champion Award. MCA honored Wib and Jane's ability to tell the stories of the Reserve in a compelling way that shows the vibrancy and purpose of this special place. Wib and Jane were awarded with a vase from Dusty Road Pottery (special thanks to Josh Goldman for the handmade base he hand crafted from local wood).
Speakers included MCA Board President and Shepherd Lee Langstaff, Father of the Ag Reserve Dr. Royce Hanson, MCA Board Member Tanya Spandhala who's farm, Passion to Seed Gardening, was profiled in one of the first issues of PLENTY in 2019 and finally Wib and Jane themselves followed by a few words from County Executive Marc Elrich.
Our thanks to Locals for hosting - the event attendees, our speakers and particularly Wib and Jane for taking on a labor of love to tell the story of the Ag Reserve in the County and beyond.
Here at MCA, we say "We Protect What We Love." We value PLENTY as an effective tool to inspire, increase and deepen affection for the Ag Reserve.
Join us in support of PLENTY's Ag Reserve coverage with your tax-deductible support
During the pandemic, food insecurity in MoCo and across the country increased 50%. Into the gap have stepped a number of nimble and innovative organizations to connect food insecure people with healthy food, much of sourced cost effectively by growing it nearby.
AfriThrive is one such organization and it has been our honor to match them with land in Poolesville through our Land Link program to create a farm to supply their food distribution hubs across MoCo.
The AfriThrive farm is a special operation as they focus on crops that are "culturally appropriate" - foods that their clients are familiar with preparing and eating that form the backbone of their culture.
AfriThrive is joined by other Land Link matched farms with a hunger fighting mission - including Beauty Blooms Farm and other farms focused on culturally appropriate foods such as Dodo Farms and Passion to Seed Gardening.
There are still a number of new and expanding farmers looking for land to buy/lease to grow specifically to increase food security - all farmer seeking land listings can be found here.
Considering hosting a farmer on your land? Start here with our landowner info session recording. Or reach out - firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall is a great time for planting most anything - but particularly a forest. We are excited to once again work with our partners at Montgomery County Planning" Reforest Montgomery and contractors Gardens By Garth. Shown here 400 trees on 2 acres leafing out nicely for Fall. This season's planting will be 4 acres, and another six acres next year. With this Spring's efforts we will be planting our 5000th tree through our Re-Leaf Program!
There are a number of ways to get involved in reforesting stream buffers in the Ag Reserve:
County Exec Elrich sent this memo to the Council today urging the Council to delay a vote on Thrive 2050 (the consequential update to the general plan that will guide growth and zoning for decades to come).
The Council plans to vote on the plan on October 25th - the same day they plan to assign interim planning board members after the former board members were asked to resign en-masse amid a number of scandals at Park and Planning.
Executive Elrich asks that given the upheaval at planning (including violations of the open meeting laws that may have stifled participation in creating the plan), a new planning board have another look at Thrive. He also highlights the way in which 3 chapters were added hastily to the plan without public hearing in the past few weeks. These chapters include passages on equity and the environment - but don't actually contain recommendations that will be part of the actual plan - citing lack of time.
MCA has joined with a broad coalition of civic groups concerned about low income housing, the environment and more to urge that Thrive be paused. The Council's hired consultant said it best "Compressed timelines are the enemy of equity." This consequential plan can't be rushed.
The agenda for the 10/25 Council meeting is here.
Firings and resignations at MCMNCPP create chaos and further undermine confidence in County decision making.
Press on the topic:
Washington Post- "Montgomery planning board resigns amid scandals, at council’s urging"
DCist - "All 5 Montgomery County Planning Board Members Resign"
Q+A with County Exec Marc Elrich - Montgomery Perspective
WTOP -"‘Dozens’ interested in filling Montgomery Co.’s Planning Board amid internal division"
Washington Post "Montgomery County sees 128 applications for planning board"
The full list from Parent's Coalition
Note: always a great idea to visit social media or even better call the farm before visiting - weather, availability and more can interfere with open hours.
Kingsbury's Orchard has Asian Pears and Apples. This 5th generation orchard is famous for peaches earlier in the season- including one of their own cultivars- Kingsbury's Pride.
Lewis Orchard is also open this month up till Thanksgiving both orchards are on Peachtree Road.
Pick-your-own opportunities abound at Butler's Orchard and Homestead Farm.
Rock Hill Orchard hosts a corn maze and farm-made ice cream - it's the only MoCo stop on the Maryland Ice Cream Trail
The cider is cold and hot at Doc Water's Cidery, part of Water's Orchard. Pick your own is winding down there for apples but cider (both hard and non-alcoholic) continue with food trucks and bands into fall.
Farm at Home is open for fall fun with pumpkins until Halloween.
Wineries/Breweries - there is a growing list of rural MoCo sips, many offering food trucks and live music.
Local Produce is available all over the county at your local farmers market. Find your closest market here.
If you want to secure a whole season of produce an support your farmer even more- consider signing up for a CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture).
We take great pleasure in announcing the 2022 Royce Hanson – Ag Reserve Champion honorees: Jane Perini and Wib Middleton – PLENTY Magazine
PLENTY has emerged as an important resource that inspires, educates, unifies, and uplifts. Please join us in congratulating them! (You can support MCA's Ag education efforts through PLENTY magazine here)
Wib Middleton writes (because that is what he does):
Having moved back to the area in 2018 after living in Arizona for almost twenty years, Jane Perini and Wib Middleton landed on the edge of the Ag Reserve in the Seneca area. It was May and the iridescent explosion of green was quite a vivid contrast to crimson-spired, high-desert Sedona. Early morning forays with camera in tow on back roads exploring miles and miles of forever farmland and gorgeous countryside begged the questions: what was this Ag Reserve, how did it come into being and was anyone telling its stories?
Conversations ensued with MCA about the possibility of creating a hyper-local magazine all about this treasured asset comprising 1/3 of Montgomery County. Caroline Taylor of MCA and other longtime stakeholders were most encouraging and hugely helpful. Together with long time stakeholders we enrolled local writers, nonprofit heads, farmers, and other Reserve dwellers open to telling their stories about life and work in the Reserve. Based on that we launched PLENTY magazine in summer of 2019.
Eleven issues later and three years in, PLENTY magazine has become a beloved local publication only possible by the abundant outpouring of gifted volunteer writers, photographers, distribution partners and the incredible family of PLENTY advertisers…all who collaborate with each issue to make it all possible.
For Wib and Jane, PLENTY is a labor of love to help inform, inspire and engage its readers about the preciousness of Ag Reserve farmland and open spaces, local history, culture, artisans, entrepreneurs and heroes—the farmers, CSA organizers, nonprofits helping with food insecurity and new farming trends. There are many more stories to tell from the stakeholders and stewards who love the Ag Reserve and protect it.
To be selected as awardees for the 2022 Royce Hanson Award is completely unexpected and so appreciated. PLENTY magazine is a reflection of all of us who have a stake in this area’s food and farming future. In this spirit and understanding we share this award with all of you. These are your stories, your struggles, your life’s work that show up in the magazine. We are the newcomers who are grateful and humbled to create a magazine to tell your stories.
The rave reviews for PLENTY are rolling in:
How have I lived 20+ years in this county and never heard about the wonderful Agricultural Reserve? This publication is a gem. I’d probably know more if I haunted more farmers markets. But I don’t and that’s a shame. I wonder how many other MoCo residents are the same as me. I guess the time is right and better late than never to learn about this resource. So thanks for your work. Cheers!
~ Jimilee Komolafe
Another GREAT issue of Plenty—you do such a terrific job!! Beautiful photos and well written articles. Your magazine just gets better with each issue. Thank you so much for your support of our Ag Reserve.
~ Sue Kingsbury Ketron
MCA was proud to be one of many groups pushing the White House to end support of incineration as a waste disposal method. See the letter here.
The science is clear - burning trash is just not an environmentally sound strategy and it disproportionately impacts people of color. Currently the EPA is sometimes promoting the burning of trash as a green power source. This needs to stop.
From the letter:
Nearly three quarters of the nation’s trash incinerators are among the top three industrial air polluters in their counties, 57% are among the top two, and 31% top the list, according to data from EPA’s National Emissions Inventory.
This air pollution contributes to asthma attacks, cancers, birth defects, heart attacks, strokes, and a myriad of other public health problems, exacerbating existing health disparities considering where the largest and most polluting incinerators sit. Studies that have found connections between trash incinerators and public health primarily notice increased cancers, respiratory diseases and symptoms, and cardiovascular diseases.
An interesting comment from Councilmember Riemer at yesterday's Thrive 2050 work session where he says that "urban heat islands are caused by not tall enough buildings." He went further to ask that "urban" be removed to better discuss heat islands across the county that are not all found in urban areas.
The same Tom Di Libreto that Councilmember Riemer quoted has a excellent Tedx talk about Urban Heat Islands. Mr. Di Libreto notes that urban areas are by their nature hotter - making removing the term "urban" from heat island a puzzling request. From Mr. Di Libreto's presentation:
Notable also here is the statistical correlation between racist redlining practices that have made communities of color susceptible to higher Urban Heat levels and conversely with less resources to handle that higher heat (again from Mr. Di Libreto's excellent talk)
Not just do urban areas have higher heat values - but skyscrapers in fact make it worse as the UN's IPCC has reported. “It’s impossible to solve our affordable housing crisis, our climate emergency, and people’s desire for improved quality of life against racism and disinvestment into separate silos.” There are ways to accomplish our goals but more density is not without cost.
In the midst of this - the County is updating its forest conservation plan. There are a number of ways to reduce urban heat but increasing tree cover is the easiest. Take two minutes to ensure that the forests conservation plan is as strong as it can be.
Below is a message from a forest coalition member to the Council to share these points and be sure that Thrive takes on Urban heat islands in a substantive way with the most accurate science:
"With all due respect, the URBAN heat island effect is real, and it is the term of art used by all climate scientists and the climate change and urban planning community. I strongly object to deleting this word from Thrive. This smacks of censorship and misrepresenting the science.
Also, Mr. Di Liberto, who Mr. Riemer mis-spoke by saying he was ‘head’ of climate.gov (but who is not head but is a social media manager for NOAA's Climate.gov) uses this term himself. Just because people stand in the shade of a building vs. in an unshaded area doesn’t mean the building (and all the pavement and concrete surrounding the building) isn’t absorbing heat. It is a scientific fact that urban areas are just plain hotter.
If there were shade trees to stand under, people would stand there instead of on the sidewalk in the shadow of a building.
There are ways to attempt to reduce UHI effect of tall buildings. We can and should discuss those. The most obvious is to increase tree cover, preserve or create vegetation, deploy green roofs, limit paved ares, and use reflective surfaces. In fact, Cambridge, MA is considering adopting a Cool Factor Zoning ordinance!
One of the best ways to implement a climate-resilient THRIVE 2050, climate resilient Master Plans, and adopt County policies that actually improve resilience is the expand forests, tree canopy, green infrastructure as well as addressing the building envelopes and exteriors. This requires an all-in approach, not half measures that misrepresent what we are dealing with.
Thank you - I assume you will put the word URBAN heat island effect back into Thrive 2050 and all other policies and ordinances.
To underscore these FACTS, here are some references:
Mr Di Liberto on URBAN heat islands: https://youtu.be/sXtjMcOTIzg
U.S Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment
See chapter 11
"Despite these differences, U.S. cities experience some climate impacts in similar ways. For example, prolonged periods of high heat affect urban areas around the country.21 Cities are already subject to higher surface temperatures because of the island (UHI) effect, which can also affect regional climate.29 The UHI is projected to get stronger with climate change.29 Another commonality is that most cities are subject to more than one climate stressor. Exposure to multiple climate impacts at once affects multiple urban sectors, and the results can be devastating.30 “
See chapter 18
"Northeastern cities, with their abundance of concrete and asphalt and relative lack of vegetation, tend to have higher temperatures than surrounding regions due to the urban heat island effect (increased temperatures, typically measured during overnight periods, in highly urbanized areas in comparison to outlying suburban, exurban, and rural locations). During extreme heat events, nighttime temperatures in the region’s big cities are generally several degrees higher than surrounding regions, leading to higher risk of heat-related death. In urban areas, the hottest days in the Northeast are also often associated with high concentrations of urban air pollutants including ground-level ozone (Ch. 13: Air Quality, KM 1). This combination of heat stress and poor urban air quality can pose a major health risk to vulnerable groups: young children, elderly, socially or linguistically isolated, economically disadvantaged, and those with preexisting health conditions, including asthma. Vulnerability is further heightened as key infrastructure, including electricity for air conditioning, is more likely to fail precisely when it is most needed—when demand exceeds available supply—with the potential for substantial negative health consequences.287 Finally, vulnerability to heat waves is not evenly distributed throughout the region. Rather, outdoor versus indoor air temperatures, baseline health, occupation, and access to air conditioning are important determinants of vulnerability (see Key Message 4).”
…"Present-day high temperatures (heat) have been conclusively linked to a higher risk of illness and death, particularly among older adults, pregnant women, and children (Ch. 14: Human Health). A number of studies have replicated these findings specifically in the Northeast (see Box 18.3; e.g., Wellenius et al. 2017, Bobb et al. 2014, Hondula et al. 2012305,306,307). Ambient temperatures and heat-related health effects can vary significantly over small geographic areas due to local land cover (for example, due to the urban heat island effect; see Key Message 3) (see also Ch. 5: Land Changes, KM 1), topography, and the resilience of individuals and communities.307,308"
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
University Consortium for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Now, if you want to discuss how to mitigate the UHI effect of tall buildings, we can start talking about these types of actions:
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.