Land Link and New Farmer Training: Progress!

Connecting land owners with farmers… Land Link Montgomery has been gaining traction and news is spreading that this program is helping to  address the primary challenge to bringing new farmers to Montgmery’s Ag Reserve:  access to affordable acreage.  MCA is working with Montgomery County Department of Economic Development to ensure broad outreach and land owner education about the benefits of Land Link.

We are also identifying host farms for new farm start up and farm mentoring programs.  These two new linkages will provide new farm businesses with necessary acreage to grow their business and, importantly, provide on farm training for our new farmers.

Please contact us at if you have interest in the programs!

For Meat Producers: Traceability Survey

Calling all Meat Producers- MCA partner Full Plate Ventures is embarking on a project to increase meat tracebility and needs your help- read on and See the whole background here:

Introducing “Source Verified” Technology for Small and Mid-sized Producers and Buyers

Consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised—whether procuring orders for schools, shopping at a retail giant or buying at a local farmers market. The Maryland Small Farm Cooperative wants to adopt and share technologies that verify the source of locally-grown food by farm location and farming practice description.

As a small or mid-sized meat producer, we need your help. Please CLICK HERE to complete this short, online survey that seeks to understand your interest in adopting new, more affordable bar coding and Quick Read (QR) technologies for your farm. These tools allow producers to label and consumers to buy “source verified” products. Please complete the survey by MAY 7th.

How Source Verified Technology Helps Farmers

For Small and Mid-sized Farmers

  • Strengthens your Maryland farm products for  marketing and sales
  • Builds consumer trust as they get to “Know Your Farmer”
  • Improves voluntary traceability and rules out your products in case of a food-borne illness investigation
  • Enter wholesale markets that require barcoding for inventory and resale in a cost effective.
  • Differentiate your products by telling your unique story to buyers, offer free purchasing tools and information about your farm.

Full Plate Ventures has been awarded a TEDCO grant to conduct market research this summer for the Maryland Small Farm Cooperative geared specifically for small to mid-size farms and buyer markets in Maryland. Please CLICK HERE to take a short, online survey (10 minutes) by June 7th.  A description of the technologies and the survey follows.

Thank you for your help! If you complete the survey and provide contact information, we will send you a summary of the findings. You can follow this project on

Whole Foods Market 5% Day: Huge Thanks!!

Our 5% day on May 24th was a huge success! We had a great time interacting with customers at all 5 Montgomery County Whole Foods Locations. We gave out samples of one of the Reserve’s tastiest products, Cherry Glen Goat Cheese and discussed the importance of local farms and local food.

We looked good doing it too, huh? Buy new MCA t-shirts here!

A Huge Thank You to:

Whole Foods Market of Montgomery County (Kentlands, Rockville, Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Silver Spring)

Our Amazing Volunteers

Our Musical Guests: Van Mertz, The Chang Family Band, Cathy Fink, Rabbi David and Friends

and our Celebrity Baggers: Council Members Hans Riemer and Craig Rice

Historic Medley’s Hip Photo Contest!

What can be more artistically motivating than the working farms and open vistas in spring abundance in the Ag Reserve?  So… use all that inspiration to take photos and enter…

Wendell Berry: 17 Tips For a Sustainable Economy

It’s no secret that we find the writings and philosophy of Wendell Berry to be compelling.  So when we latched on to his 17 Tips for a Sustainable Economy we wanted to make sure to share with others.

They are all good.  Here are just a few:

5. Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.

6. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of national or global economy.

7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

Reserve Farmer Gets Her Flock – Thanks to your support!

Juniper Moon Farm’s Mighty Big Giveaway is even more mighty than anticipated- All four contestants have been awarded starter flocks of sheep, including Ag Reserve farmer Audrey Morris!

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to vote and root for our local gal.  Congratulations to all the contestants!  Most of all, thanks to wonderful Juniper Moon Farm for their heart, generosity and foresight in knowing that collectively we must support our future farms and farmers!

Reel Water Film Festival: Films for Good – June 16 Germantown

Good Deeds Locally Done – Here in the Reserve groundwater from the Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer is our lifeblood so when our film maker Mark Leisher shared the news of the Reel Water Film Festival we wanted to share it with you!


In a nutshell, the Reel Water Film Festival hopes to raise awareness about the global water crisis, inspire people to take action, and install new wells for communities who desperately need clean water.

Locally Produced Film “Life in a War Zone” Producer Up for an Emmy!

MCA note:  If you haven’t seen this wonderful documentary about life during the Civil War in Montgomery County – you are in for a treat!  Top notch with wonderful music from the Washington Revels!

Heritage Montgomery Announces Emmy® Nomination for Life in a War Zone

Heritage Montgomery is pleased to announce that Barbara Grunbaum has been nominated for an Emmy® Award for her work as producer of the documentary, Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War.  Ms. Grunbaum wrote, produced, and directed Life in a War Zone for Heritage Montgomery, executive producer of the project.

Heritage Montgomery Executive Director Peggy Erickson remarked that:  “Heritage Montgomery is thrilled that Barbara has been recognized for the outstanding job that she did on the film.  Her knowledge of Montgomery County history and considerable skills as a writer/producer/director made Barbara the perfect person to tell this important story of our area’s rich Civil War history.”

Heritage Montgomery would also like to salute other key members of the production team including Joseph Thompson (Director of Photography), Francine Wyron (Editor & Graphic Designer), Charlie Pilzer (Sound Editor), and Greg Lewis (host).

The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is the local chapter responsible for awarding excellence in the television industry.   The 54th Emmy® Awards will take place on June 16th at the Newseum in Washington DC.

Heritage Montgomery, located in Germantown, Maryland, is dedicated to promoting and supporting heritage tourism to historical, cultural and natural areas in Montgomery County.

MCA Awards 2 Scholarships for College Bound Seniors

The winning project produced a published resource!

Member Melane Hoffmann and
Exec. Director Caroline Taylor review notes…

MCA Board members Melane Hoffmann, David Shneyer and Executive Director Caroline Taylor had the pleasure reviewing the senior Global projects at Poolesville HS again this year.  Poolesville High School’s Global Ecology Program, as well as the other excellent honors programs: Science Math, Humanities and Independent Research have helped to garner the school status as #1 high school in achievement in Maryland and #64 in the U.S.  The Global program is a County wide magnet attracting the best and brightest to the school.

Our choices:
As with last year, we were so impressed with the work presented by the high school seniors.  MCA will award two college scholarships of $500 each to Katie McFall and Taylor Karlin for their project entitled “Bridging the Gap” which produced a handsome hardcover book that the C&O Canal Association will make available to the public. It covers history of the canal and its environs. It very beautifully promotes Potomac River features including White’s Ferry and the Monocacy Aqueduct, as well as the area flora and fauna.The book also dovetails with MCA’s quest to help people, through educational outreach, fall in love with nearby resources – thus motivating activism to protect them. Both college bound students indicate a sincere commitment to pursuing careers in the environment.

Certificates of Merit – this year there were some stand outs that deserved recognition – projects with results that relate to shared goals of sustainability, stewardship, education and economic opportunity and students with enthusiasm and heart:

Alexis Klein: project with House in the Woods organic community farm
Jennifer Price: research on equine parasites and the effects/efficacy of deworming drugs on environment and animals
Kunying He, Maryiyan Sheidu, Kripa Shyamakrishnan: microcredit strategies – with implications for small farm start up
Megan Connaughton- Project Wild – 1st grade environmental curriculum

The awards, as well as others give by Sugarloaf Citizens’ Asso., Poolesville Area Chamber of Commerce and BCC IWLA will be presented Monday, May 21 at Bethesda Chevy Chase Izaak Walton League  on West Willard Road south of Poolesville.

Local Fare? But Where?

We hear much about the importance of the Ag Reserve and supporting local farms.  Folks ask how they can help.  One of the best ways is to seek out local markets and restaurants that source as much as possible locally.  Demand for locally grown food will keep our Reserve farms strong, your plates deliciously full and ensure the long term success of the Ag Reserve and neighboring farmland.

Three really nice choices are linked below.  And in the interest of ensuring the highest quality – we have sampled, and sampled again, all three.  Hey, we wanted to make absolutely sure they were going to be good.  All three are family friendly.  Alexander’s is in a beautiful historic inn in the heart of  scenic Buckeystown, just over the Montgomery County line in Frederick County.

Chef Tony’s in Bethesda

Alexander’s in Buckeystown

Ricuitti’s in Olney