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Montgomery County Farmers, Advocates to Explore Local Food Connections as Part of Planning Department’s ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

by Valerie Berton on April 19th, 2010

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, the large swath of protected farmland across the county’s northern and western edges, is home to more than 500 farms. In a climate of increased interest in locally produced food, this week’s ReThink Montgomery speaker series panel at the Planning Board will discuss the future of Montgomery County farming and how the Reserve contributes to sustainability.  

Many Americans have become disconnected from the source of their food. Despite the prevalence of farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer channels, only a small percentage of local farm products wind up in local markets. With a growing number of people interested in gardening, shopping at farmers markets, visiting pick-your-own farms, and subscribing to community-supported agriculture operations, the presentation offers an opportunity to discuss how those trends may affect farmers in Montgomery County.  

Panelists include Ben Allnutt of Homestead Farms, and Wade Butler of Butler Orchards, two Montgomery County pick-your-own farms, Gordon Clark of Montgomery Victory Gardens, a nonprofit organization promoting local food, and Jeremy Criss of the county’s Department of Economic Development-Agricultural Services Division.

Among their topics: the intersection of farms and urban areas and how different farm products can lead to new relationships between producer and consumer. For planners, considering resident access to food may become an increasing part of their community visioning work.

The farm panel will be the third in the 2010 Planning Department speaker series, ReThink Montgomery. With presentations scheduled every week through the spring, the series provides an opportunity for the board, planners and the general public to hear from experts how nine elements of sustainability weave together and pose opportunities for planning great communities. Thursday’s session focuses on food.
Continuing education credits (AICP certification maintenance credits) are pending for planning professionals.

Learn more about the ReThink Montgomery speaker series.

Who:

Ben Allnutt, Homestead Farms
Wade Butler of Butler Orchards
Gordon Clark of Montgomery Victory Gardens,
Jeremy Criss, Department of Economic Development- Agricultural Services Division.

What:
ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series

When:  
7:30 p.m. April 22

Where:
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

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