Staff and Volunteers
MCA’s workload is tackled by two staff members, a talented board of directors and skilled and dedicated volunteers. Our Board and volunteers give generously of their expertise and time. Working together as a team, MCA has been able to take on the many challenges that face the Agricultural Reserve and at the same time work to promote it through education and legislative initiative. MCA is also registered to provide student service learning hours to middle and high school students. Contact us to find out more!
Caroline, who has the great fortune to live with her family within the Reserve south of Poolesville, has worked on environmental issues for much of her professional career. Her first exposure to environmental litigation came while employed at Covington and Burling. She then worked with a talented group of lawyers and advocates at National Wildlife Federation on a wide range of cases and issues including: Spotted Owl, Key Deer, Exxon oil spill, food policy, forest preservation and, water resources. Her passion, though, has always been local issues including protection of the Ag Reserve’s groundwater and working lands. Caroline comes from a long line of farmers and ranchers, from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Idaho. In 2011, Caroline joined with Jessica Weiss of growingSoul to become a founding member of the Montgomery Food Council. The Council will work with various stakeholders to ensure a healthy and inclusive food system in Montgomery County.
Senior Conservation Associate
Kristina grew up in Montgomery County (hiking Sugarloaf every year on her birthday) and has returned after a number of years in North Carolina where she earned her Masters in Public Administration and worked on numerous environmental issues, including stormwater mitigation and greening local governments. Kristina values all the ways the Ag Reserve benefits our region but nothing beats the excitement of a weekly CSA box or the first peaches of summer, all grown right here!
Land Link Founder, Shannon Varley and her husband BJ run Bella Terra Family Farm, pictured here with kids/ farm hands Maeve and Luke. Shannon researched and founded the Land Link program for MCA, creating a data base of farmers looking for land and land owners looking to partner with farmers by offering land for sale, long term lease, or granted to a nonprofit farm. Shannon has taken part in these programs while farming in New England and wants to see them flourish in the Ag Reserve. Want to take part in the program? More info here!
MCA reported on the blend of natural ingredients Shannon feeds her chickens here in a post about arsenic in commercial chicken feed. (Yes, you read that right, arsenic. After a long grassroots effort by Food and Water Watch, MCA and others, Maryland was the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed.)
Senior Editor, photographer and IT Support, Josh Goldman, just completed his freshman year at UMD College Park majoring in electrical engineering. He has lived in the Ag Reserve ”forever” and is keenly aware of the need to protect local natural resources and farmland. Over the past 5 years Josh has provided wonderful digital photography, IT and web site support as well as editing. Josh has written a number of essays profiling life in the Reserve. His favorite local produce: ”I won’t choose between heirloom tomatoes and Kingsbury Pride peaches!”
2014 Student Intern “Man about Farms,” Evan Gross, is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina studying Business. Born and raised in Poolesville, Maryland he was member of Boy Scout Troop 496, a member of the Poolesville Wrestling and Lacrosse team and works also as a lifeguard during the summers.
Researcher and Map Maker, Todd Langstaff has lived on Shepherd’s Hey Farm in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain for over twenty years and would not have it any other way. In 2013, he received his B.A. in Environmental Studies focused in public policy from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. Now he is thrilled to be able to give back to the Ag Reserve community by way of MCA projects! Check out his meat processing map here. (photo: Lee Langstaff)
2014 Student Intern Maria Sarakhman, born in Minsk, Belarus, has lived within the heart of Poolesville and the Reserve for 10 years. She always had a certain connection with wildlife and nature and it has been her passion ever since she was little. Finishing her undergraduate degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Maria hopes to move forward in her endeavors as a wildlife biologist.