Farmer Nick Maravell has been growing food and raising cattle in a sustainable fashion for over 30 years. His efforts to grow food for his local community have been so successful, they earned him recognition from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack who appointed Maravell to serve on the National Organic Standards Board, a panel of unpaid experts established by Congress to set organic industry policy.
But despite the fact that Nick’s 165-acre farm is one of the few certified organic heritage farms left in the United States and a place for the community to see and participate in the growing of its food, the local government wants to tear it up and plant turf grass in its place.
Earlier this year, the Montgomery County School Board, which owns the public land that Nick has been farming, gave three weeks notice that they intended to cancel his lease, and give the lease to the county government in order to build… private soccer fields. The deal was made with no public or community input.
Ekos Squared reports that the community is in an uproar—Nick’s Organic Farm is Montgomery County’s only organic seed farm (one of a few in the entire Chesapeake region). It’s also strategically isolated and protected from cross-pollination by GMO crops grown on nearby conventional farms.
But farmers are resilient people, so of course, Nick’s Farm has no intention of surrendering to the County’s boring and quite frankly, wasteful use of the land.
“We do not intend to let this happen,” says the Nick’s Farm team on the official campaign website. “Our vision for the farm is a down-County educational anchor to provide opportunities for school children and adults to learn about local food and agriculture, and their relationship to the soil and water that sustains us. But we need your help to make this vision happen.”
How You Can Help:
1) If you live in Maryland, write a letter to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, telling him that you oppose the destruction of Nick’s Organic Farm.
2) Send a copy of that letter to your county council member, and also CC it to Nick’s Farm.
3) Volunteer to help with the growing campaign
Image Credit: Flickr – suzettesuzette