Beginning farmers tell their stories in new series
“Tomorrow’s Harvest: Beginning Farmers Tell Their Stories,” a project by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) designed to showcase the varied faces of new farmers in Maryland and the value of mentorship in agriculture, has released a new series of interviews featuring six farmers.
Participants were drawn from Maryland FarmLINK’s Mentor Match program, which pairs new farmers, including farmers branching into new types of farming, with an experienced farmer with relevant expertise.
The project highlights the rich diversity of Maryland agriculture that is evolving to replace the centuries-old, single-crop (tobacco) model, as well as the varied backgrounds of those embarking on new farm careers today. Highlighted farms range from a flower farm in inner-city Baltimore to a produce farm on the banks of the Patuxent we could really do this.”
laquinta credits his mentor, Scott Hertzberg of Jug Bay Market Garden, with being instrumental in setting up the farm. “Scott came out to the farm and it was wonderful to have a sounding board to walk through and tell us if what we wanted to do made sense. We were purchasing equipment so it was helpful to ask him what size, what attachments were necessary, what made sense as an equipment package.”
A theme that arises across many of the “Tomorrow’s Harvest” stories is the innovative ways new farmers acquire farmland today.
One story chronicles an unusual suburban farm spread across multiple lots, including fields in neighboring back yards. “We like to call this ‘creative reuse of suburban land’,” said Jason James, co-owner of Moon Valley Farm. It’s a non-traditional way to acquire farmland, but the business is thriving. “I am an opportunist,” said James. “As farmers, I think we have to be.”
Another new farmer, Walker Marsh, carved out farmland by reclaiming adjoined abandoned lots in the Broadway East neighborhood in Baltimore. ”We had to consolidate the 13 lots on this half-acre I’m farming, and that took forever,” said Marsh. “You have to approach farming different in the city.”
Priscilla Wentworth, program director for Maryland FarmLINK and the Mentor Match program, is instrumental in pairing the new farmers with mentors, and feels that mentorship is an important resource for new farmers.
“Programs like the Mentor Match are in place to keep farming alive in our region,” said Wentworth. It’s encouraging to see people choose farming as a career, not just young people, but those of all ages. The people in these stories are the future of farming, and they are all creative and smart, and really interesting to listen to.”
The beginning farmer stories can be found at www.smadc.com/NewFarmerStories.
The Mentor Match program accepts applica- tions on a rolling basis. Details can be found on the website, or by contacting SMADC.
Soup kitchen serves twice a week
Our Place Waldorf Soup Kitchen serves dinner 5-6:15 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Hot meals are provided at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 305 Smallwood Drive, Waldorf, in a comfortable, caring, unbiased environment to anyone who is hungry. Go to www.ourplacewaldorf.com for more information.
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism provides new sports notification system
The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism encourages program participants and frequent facility guest to go to www.RainedOut.com and sign up to receive free text messages or emails regarding program or facility cancelations and closures due to inclement weather. The online portal is now open for registration at www.RainedOut.com, (keyword: Charles County Recreation) or by texting RPT01 to 84483. In the event of inclement weather, the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism staff will use RainedOut to send important notifications in- cluding cancelled events, facility closures, changed plans, and reminders.
During the registration process, individuals can manage their message settings, and provide preferred contact information. Message options include notifications via text message, email, or both. Notifications will also be uploaded onto the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Facebook and Twitter feeds.
RainedOut is powered by Omnilert, a company that develops intuitive communication technologies that keep communities safe and connected. RainedOut is the first text message service for sports leagues and clubs. It is a cloud-based service, which may opt in or out at any time, or change their notification settings.
For more information, contact the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at 301-932-3470. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.
Public invited to provide input on Hughesville Village Draft Zoning
The Department of Planning and Growth Management is developing new zoning regulations for the Village of Hughesville. The public is invited to provide comments and input on the draft zoning text and map, posted at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/pgm/planning/hughesville-village-revitalization-plan-and-implementation. The county is offering this additional opportunity for public input in advance of the required public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.
The new zoning is a key component in implementing the 2007 Hughesville Village Revitalization Plan, which calls for promoting infill development and revitalization while preserving and enhancing the village character. The project area contains land currently in the Village Residential (RV), Village Commercial (CV), and Light Industrial (IG) zoning districts.
Comments may be sent to Amy Blessinger at BlessingA@ CharlesCountyMD.gov or by mail to Charles County Government, Attn: Planning Division, P.O. Box 2150, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, MD 20646. Please send comments by January 13, 2017. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-7352258.
County Public Library seeks art for new mobile library
The Charles County Public Library encourages local artists to submit high-quality graphics for the Mobile Library Art Contest. The chosen submission will be featured on the outside of the new mobile library vehicle, expected to begin in April 2017. The theme is “learning, discovery, and technology.” Submissions are due no later than Friday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. Send submissions via email to marketing@ ccplonline.org in a TIFF, JPG, or PSD format with your name and contact information. All art must be original and un-copyrighted.
The mobile library will be a 26-foot long vehicle with 17 feet of loading space. The vehicle will feature wheelchair lifts for accessibility, a side awning for outdoor programming, four public computer stations, and the capacity to hold up to 2,000 books. The mobile library will offer access to adult, teen, and children’s collections, online resources and databases, free Wi-Fi, and public use computers. Special visits to schools and community events will be available upon request. Partnering opportunities are available.
For more information, go to http://ccplonline. org/services/mobilelibrary, or call Sarah Guy at 301-645-1385, ext. 417. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.