go lamb go! 
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
News from the Agricultural Reserve
March 2011  
In This Issue
March Events
What do you value about the Reserve?
Land Link Program
Issue Updates
MCA Producer's Summit: Many Opportunites for Partnership
An Organic Farm into...Soccer Fields?
Get Plantin'!
Our Business Sponsors

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Quick Links

March/April Events

March 26, 8:30 pm

Earth Hour: Turn off your lights as a commitment to the environment   


March 29
Cell Tower Balloon Tests on Mt. Ephraim and White's Ferry Rd.
April 4+6

UMD Food Preservation Classes 



Ongoing Events   

Energy Audits, Rainscaping and more with Poolesville Green

Conservation Montgomery Networking Event and Spring Fling

The Results are In!

See what area residents value about the Reserve and the most effective ways to protect it.


Read Survey Results Here.

Calling All Farmers and Land Owners...land 

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MCA is starting a Land-Link Program, constructing an online database to match those looking for land to farm and those with land to offer for long term lease, sale or donation to a non-profit CSA. We are lucky to have Farmer Shannon Varley of Bella Terra Family Farm heading up this effort. If you have land to offer or are looking for some acreage to farm, get in touch: landlink@mocoalliance.org  


learn more here 

Calling all Producers... 

little sprouts

At the recent Producers Summit, farmers shared that they need better access to information of all sorts. Whether it's finding the prefect cover crop, marketing to restaurants,  or what to do about stink bugs (any ideas? anybody?), some of the answers are closer than you think, maybe even right up the road. Join the producers listserve by sending an email to  producers@mocoalliance.org with "join listserve" in the subject line.

(this is not a venue for marketing any products)

A warm welcome to our newest Board Member,


Greg Glenn Jr. of

Rocklands Farm 

(CSA shares still available!)  

greg glenn angus

photo: Brian Lewis/Gazette

Rocklands Farm's credo is "Locally known, Sustainably grown". Greg has lived on the historic Rocklands Farm since his family moved to the Reserve in 2003. This year is Rocklands' second season growing sustainable veggies, berries and free range eggs along with beef cattle, pigs, goats and now lambs.

Even with the rigors of starting a farm, Greg and Rocklands Produce Manager Shawn Eubank have found time to advocate for the protection of the Reserve and share the lessons of the farm with school groups. We are thrilled to add Greg's insight and passion to our Board!

Spring is Coming...Do you know who your Farmer is?

That's right, it is CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Sign-up season! Folks "subscribe" to a farm by paying up-front for a season's worth of produce (sometimes eggs, meat and flowers too) to be picked up or delivered weekly.  This is the very best way to eat local.

What CSAs are available?

Find your farmer here!


Building Lot Termination (BLT) Applications Open!

 barn pond

Not just a sandwich, the newest tool for protecting farmland from the fragmentation of residential development. Although the legislation was passed in 2008, the first landowner applications will be accepted April 1- May 31.    

  Click Here for more info

Enhanced Tax Incentive for Conservation Easements Renewed Through 2011!

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From MCA Board Member Jim O'Connell:

Conservation Easements are an essential tool for keeping land protected and there has never been a better time to take advantage of this program. Please contact me at Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy 
(301 972 8307) or visit the Maryland Environmental Trust site  to learn more. 

Program Open Space Still Needs Your Help!


The Good News: Because of your letters and calls,

the recommendation to permanently redirect POS funds has officially been rejected.

The Bad News:

The House and Senate now want to take the POS FY 2012 funding.

The conservation of our parks, farmland and open space is not a one year deal.

What You can Do:

Reach out to members of the Capital Budget Subcommittee. Click here to take action!

Manna Food Bank Needs Your Help 

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The economy may be slowly recovering, but local food banks are still overtaxed. MoCo's Manna Food bank feeds 800 families per week, half of their clients are children. Visit Manna's site to see how you can help.



Folks are bustling here in the Reserve!  Farmers have already started seeds, manured fields, shored up outbuildings, and cleared away debris from a rough, rough winter. Our farms have babies... chicks and lambs, calves and ducklings and piglets! Our treasured parkland is also getting the once over in anticipation of the throngs of Spring visitors.  Recently we saw a catchy title in the local food pages:  Beauty and the Feast.  That just seems to sum up our Ag Reserve, a place of spectacular beauty and abundance.


So get ready for the growing season ahead with news, local events and celebration of good stewards of the land. We thank all those that have written in on several critical pieces of legislation.  Your efforts have ensured, for now, that Program Open Space will not be permanently defunded and that our County's parkland will continue to be carefully managed and defended.  


Spring Membership is underway!  Your membership and donations keep us working toward a vital, enduring Ag Reserve!   


Become a Member today.

Warm regards,

Caroline Taylor and Kristina Bostick

MCA Staff  

This Sunday!!! Sustainable Ag Superstar Will Allen in Sandy Spring! will allen  

He can grow veggies on asphalt or talapia in a greenhouse, this guy is incredible! (
science friday videos)

Will Allen, son of a sharecropper who farmed on Montrose Road, founder of Milwaukee's Growing Power, MacArthur Genius Award Winner and the man Michelle Obama chose to introduce her "Let's Move" initiative last year, will be in Sandy Spring at the growingSOUL Sustainable Small Farm Co-op THIS SUNDAY, March 27 at 11:30 am. Please join us as we welcome him to celebrate the re-opening of the Country Market at 1610 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.


This event is an opportunity to learn about Will's amazing work and get involved with MCA partner group growingSOUL.  



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MCA's Producer Summit: Many Opportunities for Partnership

On February 25th, nearly 60 farmers filed into Linden Barn to discuss the victories and challenges associated with farming in and around the Reserve. Though the participants came from farms of all sizes practicing all kinds of agriculture, the feeling in the room was that all farmers share some of the same concerns and there are many things we can do together to make protect farmland and keep rural communities vibrant.
The Summit was just the beginning - there is much work ahead. Read on for all the ideas and next steps that came from this great meeting.

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Farmer Shannon Varley explaining the Land Link Program

 at the summit.

    An Organic Farm into Ball Fields?!

In pursuit of process...


nivk maravell

Photo: Chris Rossi/ Gazette

Long time local resident and Organic Farmer Nick Maravell has been cultivating non-GMO organic seeds on the same piece of County land in Potomac for 31 years. The County gave him two weeks notice that his farm will become soccer fields.  

MCA, local residents and farmers all spoke in defense of not only Mr. Marvell's farm and the critical resource it provides, but demanded the proper public process for this sort of drastic change that would put a small community business out on its ear and drastically change the quality of life in this Potomac neighborhood. 

 Despite valiant, last second efforts, the BOE voted to let the land become soccer fields, but extended Mr. Marvell's lease until the end of 2011.   

An opportunity lost?

Why doesn't the county explore using this land as an outdoor learning lab to discover where and how their food is grown?


We are still troubled about  the lack of transparency and public process in this issue. County residents expect and deserve a chance to discuss this change to the use of public land.  The County knew of the change 2 years ago... 



 Read on here... 

become a member


The good folks at LAND have been mighty busy:  organizing road cleanups in the Reserve, planning for Potomac River

Watershed Cleanup 

and teaching area school kids to love the land and grow.



  Learn more about Land and how you can help too!

    Speaking of cleaning up our watershed...  

 plastic bag turtle  


Montgomery County's Bag Bill  

is up for public hearing on Thursday, March 31.

In other cities, (including DC) a small charge for disposable bags at retail outlets has made a real impact on the amount of litter entering creeks, streams and rivers.This commonsense bill needs your support, please email the council or sign up to testify at the hearing.  

More Info here.  

~Local Food Corner~

pea seed packet final

Marching toward Spring

Get your hands in the soil now, its  time to start planning for spring planting. The following are a few useful links to get you started:  

What to Plant in Spring (spinach, arugula, broccoli, onions! Note: MD is in Zone 7, we can expect the last frost by April 30)


Consider these tips from the MD Home and Garden Information Center, and these step by step guides from MD's Grow it Eat it program. 


     Many Thanks to Our Business

Thompson Apiaries, Potomac  

Greener Pastures Equine LLC- Clarksburg

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Write us ~ Learn More!

info@mocoalliance.org ~ www.mocoalliance.org