Montgomery County 4-H- teaching the next generation of farmers

4-H is a longstanding program that gets young people interested in the wonders of agriculture. It’s a fun, accessible, and educational development program aimed at helping youth reach their fullest potential. Each “H” in 4-H represents an area in which to develop: head, heart, hands, health.

The 4-H program gives kids the opportunity to be a part of a variety of clubs each focused on different topics ranging from technology to fashion to poultry!

4-H first came about in the early 1900s. It was designed to educate young people of new agricultural techniques and technology. In the late 1800’s, researchers found that adults did not readily accept new agricultural advancements. However, they found that young people were more likely to experiment with new ideas and share them with their elders. As a result, agricultural youth clubs were started in rural areas. They later became known as 4-H clubs.

The 4-H in Montgomery County offers a slew of different clubs focused on animals, farming, and related topics. Typical activities include real-life, hands-on projects that give kids a better understanding of how to care for animals and livestock.

A few examples of the different clubs offered are:

- The Beef Club

- The Horse N Around Club

- The Jersey Club

- The Rabbit Club

- The Sheep and Swine Club

Becoming a part of 4-H is easy. All you need to do is complete a simple online application on the Montgomery County 4-H website.

Highlights from the ‘Food Security’ summit

A crisis point for access to food

Millions are overweight. Millions are malnourished. Washington Post Live convened experts to confront problems connected with the food supply.

[Read more]

Master Naturalist Volunteer Training at Woodend!

This fall, ANS will once again partner with the University of Maryland Extension to offer the Maryland Master Naturalist volunteer training course. ANS will bring top-notch instructors to the program, which will provide:

- 52 hours of training in the ecology, flora, and fauna of MD
- 8 hours of hands-on field work
- A focus on the natural history of Maryland’s Piedmont region

Once interns complete classroom training and initial 40 volunteer hours at the host site (ANS) to become certified, a yearly 40 hours of naturalist-related volunteer service is required to maintain Master Naturalist Volunteer status.


Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30 am-2:30 pm, October 2-November 15, 2012
Application-based admission will be limited to 18 participants.
There is a $250 fee to cover the cost of materials.

To be admitted to a training course, you must be at least 18 years old, submit an application, and be interviewed. The deadline for applications is August 1, 2012. Application is available at
For questions or to be notified of future training opportunities, contact Pam Herrick, Volunteer Coordinator, at or call Pam at 301-652-9188 x30.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or national origin.”

Wine & Tapas Tasting Festival! – June 23

Save the date… Saturday June 23, 12 Noon to 6pm

Wine & Tapas Tasting Festival!

Enjoy the best of Maryland wineries paired with local foods and live music performances.   Rain or Shine.
The Briggs Chaney-Greencastle Farmers and Artisans’ Market in northeast Silver Spring, MD is located at 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20904.  Extended hours for this event only.
Click here to learn more about purchasing tickets!

Entry into the BCG Farmers’ Market is FREE; attendees can browse the market, shop with our local and Dutch Country farmers for fresh local produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, raw milk for pets and more.  Artists, jewelers, chef demos and wine pairings by local chefs … yummy!  And enjoy live music of the Style Masters– Swing’n the Blues, Honky Tonk and old school Rock n’ Roll Music; Alleghany St– Alternative Rock band; and Merlon Devine, a Jazz Saxophonist!
Come out and meet local farmers and local artists.  Enjoy time with your family at the Kids’ Tent, or cool-off under our dining tent with tasty foods and desserts from our food vendors.

* The market reserves the right to change prices, dates or any other aspect of this and all events with or without notice.

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: Not yet… We are working on a Pet Sitting service as the County does not allow us to have dogs since we have prepared foods.  Check back we will announce its opening here!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!

FINE PRINT: Advanced Ticket Sales will close at 5pm on the Wednesday before the event 6/20/12 or when sold out. Advance tickets will NOT be sent to your mailing address, your name will be placed on the Will Call list. Tickets are subject to taxes and fees. You can gain entry by presenting a valid ID (Driver’s License or Other Government Issued form of I.D. that verifies legal drinking age of 21). All ticket sales are final. No Refunds and No Exchanges. Event is rain or shine. Chairs and blankets welcome! Please no pets. Management reserves the right to check all bags. No outside glassware allowed. All alcoholic drinks must be sampled from tasting glass/cup provided. Management reserves the right in our discretion, to remove any individuals for including but not limited to intoxication and / or rudeness without a refund. All ticket purchasers understand that their voice, name and image may be recorded by various mechanical and/or electrical means. All ticket holders release any claim they might have in law or equity in connection with the utilization of such material by the Briggs Chaney-Greencastle Farmers’ Market and authorize the Briggs Chaney-Greencastle Farmers’ Market and grant unto it or its assignees the absolute right to use said materials in connection with advertising, publicity, exhibitions, or, without limitation, any other purpose. Beware of ”driving while intoxicated laws” and plan accordingly.  Please drink responsibly.

Slow Food DC Tours the Reserve

“The Reserve is a hidden gem; I never imagined that so close to our nation’s capitol there is such harmony between man and nature.”- Rose (tour participant)

MCA was pleased to spend a day taking members of Slow Food DC on a tour highlighting some great spots in the Reserve. Slow Food is and international organization focused on supporting “good,clean,fair food.”  We were thrilled to show them all the great local food and rural culture in their own backyard.

We got our history lesson at Seneca School House and St Paul Community Church and sampled local food at Rocklands Farm, Homestead Farm and Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard. We saw animals, both wild (herons at McKee Beshers) and domesticated (the happiest pigs in the world at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary).

There is lots to see in the Reserve- to take your own tour we recommend our Ag Guide, soon to be revised and turned into a mobile app!

Food Recovery Network at UMD

30,000 meals. That’s how much perfectly good food the Food Recovery Network (FRN) kept out of landfills and compost heaps- and in the hands of folks who needed them.

FRN started recovering food at one dining hall on the campus of UMD and a few restaurants surrounding campus and giving the food to shelters in the District. Now they are creating similar networks at other colleges and universities.

This summer, FRN is hoping to move beyond the UMD campus and out to area farms for. MCA will be working with FRN to identify farms where gleaning ( gathering leftover produce from the field at the end of the season) can happen to benefit local food banks. Stay Tuned!

MCA Weighs in on Farm Bill: Minority and Beginner Farmer programs a must!

Many thanks to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for putting together this Support Letter this correspondence and getting so many terrific groups to sign on!

From their website:

Groups Tell Senate to Protect Rural Development and Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

June 6th, 2012

Today, June 6, NSAC along with nearly 200 organizations sent a letter to the Senate urging them to support measures to support rural development and beginning and minority farmers in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.

The farm bill that came out of the Senate Agriculture Committee provides no funding for the Rural Development title, placing successful key programs such as Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) in jeopardy.  Additionally, funding for theBeginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program (Section 2501 – OASDFR) was severely cut, threatening the ability for these programs to maintain their successful outreach to new and
diverse farmers.

After scoring the Senate version of the farm bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the bill managed to exceed its $23 billion savings commitment. Recognizing the proven job-creating ability of rural development, the sign-on organizations understand that investment in these programs will spur economic growth, jobs, and new farming opportunities, and suggest that the savings above the $23 billion be used as mandatory funding for the Rural Development title and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer programs.

This group of organizations encouraged other Senators to join Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and other colleagues in supporting an amendment they are crafting to fund these priorities.

The vast majority of the national rural development organizations signed the letter, which was organized by NSAC and the National Association of Counties.