Site Offers Guidance for New Farmers!

Young farming families are growing in the Reserve!

Here’s a site that offers a fair amount of helpful information, including grant/funding opportunities.  Check it out!

Understanding and Protecting Ag Reserve’s Groundwater!

Map of Piedmont Aquifer

Montgomery County’s Ag/Openspace Reserve is, by design, wholly outside the WSSC service area.  Reserve residents, farms and businesses rely on ground water from the federally protected Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer- which also stretches into Frederick, Howard and Carol Counties. According to the EPA, because the aquifer has just one source and serves such a wide swath of communities,  the aquifer  ”if contaminated, would pose a significant hazard to public health.”

Whether you reside, work or play in the Reserve, understanding the finite and fragile nature of this high quality resource is important.  We can all work to protect it and continue to enjoy it’s high quality sustainably.  See these links for more information.

USGS Water Science Center

MDE Groundwater Protection Program

National Groundwater Association

Montgomery County Water Resources Master Plan Appendix

Calling all photographers! Deadline extended!

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Reserve by capturing the beauty of its edge habitat:  hedge and tree rows!  MCA’s photo contast is open to all and provides a great opportunity to get out doors and use your talent!

Deadline extended due to demand: 9/1/2010

See here for details.

Reserve’s Schools: Time for a County policy!

MCA has been serving on the “Poolesville-Monocacy Roundtable“  which has finished a several month period of meeting and conferring to address Mr. Weast’s determination that Monocacy Elementary School be closed because, though at 86% capacity, it fell under a newish criteria that no school have less than 300 pupils. Moreover, Mr. Weast indicated that both Poolesville Elementary and John Poole Middle School could follow suit under his enrollment guidelines.  Poolesville, Clarksburg, Northwest, Darnestown clusters, the Ag Reserve and others schools were represented during this collegial process.  In the end, their was consensus (unanimous) that the BOE and the County should issue a policy that Montgomery County’s rural schools be afforded a special status due to the fact that they are wholly located in and serve community within the Ag Reserve, which is by design low in population.  The group felt that it would be discriminatory to hold Reserve community schools to the same standards as  those schools located in densely developed portions of the County.  Such a policy would support the existing legislation, zoning and policies that seek to protect the Reserve and promote continued, and expanding, local farming.  Mr. Weast’s notion that there is a problem was disputed.  It seems, with this closure proposal, as if the Reserve, a nationally recognized model for farmland/openspace preservation, is being penalized for its success!

Follow the links for MCA’s Letter to the Montgomery County Board of Ed, and  Position Paper written for the Monocacy Roundtable (both pdf).

Update: The 15th District Representatives have shown solidarity for this policy by sending this letter to the Board of Ed.

See groups list of options to address the issue.

Gazette Coverage and May 24th public meeting information.

Poolesville: Going Green!

Poolesville’s Commissioners have approved alternative energy projects under certain conditions and have established a new farmer’s market in Whalen Commons this growing season.  This is good news for area residents and such initiatives should be applauded.

See Gazette Coverage.

It’s Unanimous: Francoise Carrier Planning Chair!

The County Council in  9-0 vote has chosen Francois Carrier as next Planning Chair.  The is a critical decision that will affect communities undergoing master plan revision/review.  Moreover, this comes at a time when the Planning Commission and its staff have been hit with budget and staffing cuts.  Ms. Carrier will, from the beginning, find challenge in facing these challenges.  By all accounts and appearances, she will meet these challenges ably Read more.

Moving ahead with small farm incubator…

See  Gazette Coverage of plan to establish Intervale style small,sustainable farm incubator in/near the Ag Reserve.