Royce Hanson Award
MCA presents the Royce Hanson Award in recognition of outstanding commitment toward the protection of Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. The award is named after its first recipient, Dr. Royce Hanson, former Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Commission and original architect of the Ag Reserve.
For many in Montgomery’s Ag Reserve and its rural villages, Chet is, and will always be, the embodiment of the trusted, warm and caring country vet. His sole interest – making the animals better, whether lap sized or farm sized, made us better too. For decades he and his trusted practice were the glue that binds in Montgomery’s rural community.
Chet lends his time and talent to a number of local civic groups such as Sugarloaf Regional Trails as well as the Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy. An avid birder, he is the current president of the Purple Martin Society of Frederick and is on a mission to help restore area population of barn owls. He is acutely aware of the need to work together to ensure the strength and health of our rural communities and farms. The good news: thanks to collaborative efforts, new farmers are coming to the Reserve, including the recent addition of a new creamery/dairy operation! Needless to say, Chet will be one busy guy in retirement and will always be the admired country vet. Read more on Dr. Chet here…
2005 Royce Hanson
The original recipient and namesake of our award, Royce Hanson, has demonstrated a commitment to preservation and smart planning throughout an array of service to both academia and public work. Appointed as the Montgomery County Planning Board’s first full-time chairman from 1972 to 1981, Hanson led the efforts to establish the county’s Agricultural Reserve. To this day, the Reserve is recognized as the nation’s largest and most successful model for green space preservation on the urban fringe. Mr. Hanson was re-appointed as Chairman of the Planning Board in 2006 and continues to guide the board with smart growth principles. To learn more about Mr. Hanson’s extensive contributions, please click here.
2006 Kingsbury Family – Kingsbury Orchard
The Kingsbury family own and run an orchard on Peach Tree Road where they have grown peaches and nectarines for four generations. Not only have the Kingsburys provided fresh fruit to residents around the county for years, but they also offer a warm, personal connection to our rural heritage. Gene Kingsbury is a dedicated 5th generation farmer. In 2007, Kingsbury Orchard celebrated its 100-year-anniversary. The family has further demonstrated their commitment to land preservation by placing easements on their land.
2007 George Kephart & Minny Pohlmann
George Kephart grew up in Takoma Park. His father was an agronomist with the United States Department of Agriculture and later the World Bank. His grandfather was the writer and cultural historian, Horace Kephart, who was the advocate most responsible for creating the Smokey Mountain National Park. His uncle was George Kephart, the forester with the United State Department of Interior who fought for Native American forestry rights out in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Like his family George wore many important “hats” in his long career of public service including a j-boat skipper,an air & sea rescue helicpoter pilot for the the Coast Guard, business owner, CIA official, and community planner. It was in the last role as a planner that George made his historic contributions to rural preservation in Montgomery County. George served on the Montgomery County Park andPlanning Commission Board for two terms ending in 1979 – 1980. He worked very close with Royce Hanson on some key master plans including the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, and the Preservation of Agriculture & Rural Open Space Master Plan. George was very proud to have cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the Agricultural Plan which created the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve in 1980.
2008 Peg Coleman
Peg Coleman is known not only as a tireless champion for the Agricultural Reserve, but as an author whose books educate and inform us all about early life in Montgomery County. Born in Montana, Peg has been a county resident since 1968; she is the mother of four and the proud grandparent of nine. In 1980, Peg and her husband, Jim, bought a farm on Barnesville Road, which included an abandoned 1768 log cabin. They lovingly restored the cabin, and it is now a National Historic Register site, and the Pleasant Springs Farm Bed and Breakfast. Peg’s farm products include soap, goat cheese, and strong handspun yarns, many of which are dyed with flowers grown in the extensive garden behind the log cabin. Peg’s books, which focus on rural life and the early days of our county, include Montgomery County: A Pictorial History, Paul of Montgomery, Mama Wears Two Aprons, and Around Germantown. Besides working on the many land use issues we have encountered in the Ag Reserve, Peg has served on the County’s Ag Advisory Committee & Board. Numerous school groups have toured Pleasant Springs to learn about farming practices in this historic setting. And last April, Peg’s farm received an “Outstanding Business in Montgomery County” award from County Executive Ike Leggett. Among her many historic preservation efforts, Peg founded the Boyds Historical Society and spearheaded the restoration of the Boyds Negro School. She also served as the first president of Montgomery Preservation Inc. and continues to volunteer with Sugarloaf Regional Trails.
2009 Woody Woodroof
In 1996, Woody founded Red Wiggler Community Farm as a way to create meaningful, fully inclusive jobs for adults with developmental disabilities through the business of growing and selling organic vegetables.The name Red Wiggler came from the concept of the unsung hero- the garden worm- that creates fertile soil where seeds will grow in to healthy plants which will in turn nourish a healthy community. The farm began on 5 acres of land graciously donated from Carolyn Morgan’s 224 acre farm in the Ag Reserve. At that time, Woody lived and worked out of the Morgan’s “remodeled” granary attached to the dairy barn. Red Wiggler ran its operations from that barn until moving the program to Ovid Hazen Wells Park in 2005. The farm started small, feeding 12 CSA members and impacting 6 people with Developmental Disabilities and about 20 youth participants. Many people worked together in those early years as volunteers and modestly paid staff to help the farm grow and realize its mission.
Today the Red Wiggler CSA feeds over 120 households and impacts over 150 people with developmental disabilities living throughout Montgomery County. Over 400 youth and adults participate in Service Learning volunteer opportunities on the farm. Last season, Red Wiggler’s 5 acres of mixed vegetables produced 1,500 pounds of garlic in addition to 40 other crops. Future plans for the farm include a LEED Gold Farm Building and attached greenhouse that will enable year-round food production and employment opportunities.Woody received the Leadership Montgomery “Unsung Leader” Award in 2008. In 2007 Red Wiggler received the “Light the Fire” merit award from the Arc of Maryland. In 2003 Red Wiggler received the “Agricultural Award” from the Department of Economic Development for innovative employment directions in the field of agriculture. To learn more, please visit www.redwiggler.org
Tony has long been a thoughtful steward of Button Farm, preserving both the structures and history of this 19th century slave plantation. Tony makes history come alive for visitors
with hands-on history programs depicting slave life and the escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. The farm is also very much in the present, growing heirloom vegetables, providing Community Sponsored Agriculture Shares and growing food for Manna Food Bank.
MCA, with the Royce Hanson award, acknowledges Tony’s joyful enthusiasm at bringing the cultural and agricultural history of our region to life. More on Button Farm and the Menare Foundation.
2011 Austin Kiplinger
Austin (Kip) Kiplinger has had a life-long commitment to preserving open space in Montgomery County. As such, over his 93 plus years, he has endeared himself to a wide range of county citizen groups and causes. He was one of the original supporters of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance and today serves on its Advisory Committee. His family has owned the historic Montevideo Farm in Poolesville which serves as the location for the annual Potomac Hunt steeple chase races. He has been engaged for decades as a community leader in local land conservation, horseback riding, farming and historic preservation. Among its many philanthropic activities, it was a generous grant from the Kiplinger Foundation that made possible the recent refurbishment of the historic Poolesville Town Hall.