Montgomery Planning Invites Community to Attend a Discussion on the Future of Food

December 30, 2019

Big Ideas Speaker Series session 1 banner

January 14th discussion is part of Thrive Montgomery 2050 effort and will explore the evolving nature of food production and farming.

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is hosting a moderated discussion on the future of food production and farming in Montgomery County on January 14, 2020 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). “The Future of Food” session is the first part of the Big Ideas Series featuring speakers discussing quality of life and land use ideas for the county’s future. The series is part of the Montgomery Planning effort to update the county’s General Plan, known as Thrive Montgomery 2050. The session will be available live and on-demand online. RSVPs are encouraged by not required.

Credits for certification maintenance (CM) for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) attending the series are available.

The Future of Food

Farming and farmland in Montgomery County continue to evolve since the establishment of the county’s Agricultural Reserve nearly four decades ago. While traditional agricultural activities, including grain farms and livestock operations have sustained, Montgomery County has more recently experienced an increase in tabletop food production, horticulture and agritourism industries. Furthermore, access to healthy food and overall health has a direct correlation to wealth, race and ethnicity in the United States. How can we provide healthy food access for all residents to foster an equitable, prosperous future in Montgomery County? Learn from experienced farmers working in urban, suburban and rural areas in Montgomery County and Washington, DC on how to plan for food production.

About the Panel

Daryll Perkins, Director of Impact and Co-Founder of Broccoli City Festival
Mr. Perkins is a social enterprise developer focused on building sustainable, engaged, and thriving communities. He has over ten years of experience building social enterprises and national award-winning programs/campaigns that fight poverty and pollution, shift culture towards health and wellness, and mobilize people to action. As a co-founder of the Broccoli City Festival and Conference, he has mobilized his social business ventures to implement innovative programs and campaigns aimed at creating higher standards of sustainable living, environmental sustainability, renewable energy, economic opportunity, and access to high-quality food and shelter in impacted communities.

Hannah Sholder, Co-Founder and Director of Land Stewardship at the Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming
Ms. Sholder is a housing, community and economic development specialist. She has over ten years of experience working with individuals and organizations both internationally and domestically to support the creation of equitable, sustainable and inclusive communities. Hannah creates conservation land trusts and community land trusts to remove land from the speculative market and preserve it for affordable housing, community-driven economic development, and urban agriculture. Hannah is a Fulbright Scholar, holds a BA from Wellesley College and has master’s degrees from UC Berkeley.  In 2016, Hannah started volunteering with Charles Koiner, and over the course of three years tried to absorb as much of his farming wisdom as possible. In 2018, she co-founded the Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming (CKC Farming) to share Charlie’s knowledge with the next generation and preserve his farm. Hannah now serves as CKC’s Deputy Director, Interim Farm Manager and Program Director for Land Stewardship.

Ben Butler, Farm and Finance Manager, Butler’s Orchard
Mr. Butler is a member of the third generation of Butler’s. He returned to the family farm after graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Horticulture and Crop Production in 2010. Ben is responsible for day-to-day farm operations, crop production and long-term planning, as well as overseeing the financial health of the company. He feels a personal commitment to be involved and give back to the community that has supported Butler’s Orchard for nearly seven decades. Mr. Butler has an endless desire for knowledge and is dedicated to growing the finest, most nutritious fruits and vegetables possible for his family and yours. He strives to advocate for the agricultural industry serving on the Board of the Montgomery County Agricultural Center, working with the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, and participating in Montgomery County Young Farmers, and the Young Growers Alliance, and the  LEAD Maryland Class X. Ben is proud of our agricultural heritage and humbled by the legacy and reputation of the Butler name within the community.

Greg Glenn, Co-Founder, CEO, Education Director, Farm & Livestock Manager of Rocklands Farm Winery
Mr. Glenn studied Agriculture & Applied Economics at Virginia Tech University, where he discovered his passion for farming and establishing a local food system. In 2003, Greg and his family moved to Rocklands Farm, where he oversees the entire operation, as well as directly manages the land, livestock, meat & education operations. The Rocklands Farm mission statement is: Feed – stewarding the land and cultivating the harvest through holistic regenerative agriculture. Nourish – providing products and experiences that renew and refresh the mind, body and soul. Engage – immersing our community with their food origins; the who, where, how and why it all matters. Through holistic management, Rocklands Farm Winery feeds, nourishes and engages our community. Holistic management balances the social, economic, and environmental factors for the success of the whole operation, including the greater community and ecosystem. As stewards of our families, community & land, Rockland Farm utilizes regenerative practices, which honors the successes of the past, creates value today, and builds future capacity for a generation we may never meet.

Caroline Taylor, Executive Director, Montgomery Countryside Alliance (Moderator)
Ms. Taylor has worked on environmental and agricultural issues for much of her professional career, including working with a talented group of lawyers and advocates at National Wildlife Federation on a wide range of cases and issues, such as: Spotted Owl, Key Deer, Exxon oil spill, food policy, forest preservation and water resources. Yet, her passion has always been local issues, including protecting the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve’s natural resources and working lands. Caroline comes from a long line of farmers and ranchers from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Idaho. Growing Legacy, Caroline’s second film project, aims to educate and inspire those, who through the simple act of eating, practice agriculture. She actively participates on behalf of Montgomery Countryside Alliance on county committees to advance a strategic plan for food production, composting, agritourism and a long-range zero waste policy and implementation plan.

What is Thrive Montgomery 2050?

Tremendous and rapid social, environmental, technological, demographic and economic shifts over the next few decades necessitate revisions to Montgomery County’s guiding framework for growth, called the General Plan. As Montgomery Planning works to update this important plan, the community is being asked to help ensure that the county remains a vibrant, verdant and welcoming place – with an innovative economy – where all can thrive.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is our chance to figure out – together – how Montgomery County can be a great community over the next 30 years. It’s about how we respond to future opportunities and challenges in the county.  Through Thrive Montgomery 2050, Montgomery Planning staff is identifying and examining the changes occurring, considering what we want for tomorrow, then developing a shared vision that allows us to keep what we love about Montgomery County while taking the actions needed to thrive over the next 30+ years.

The result of Thrive Montgomery 2050 will be a living and breathing plan that guides decision-making and helps secure resources to ensure Montgomery County is a place where everyone can be successful, have opportunities, and enjoy a high quality of life in a beautiful and resilient environment. There are three priorities for the plan:

Economic health: We want to ensure a vibrant, strong and competitive economy by supporting small businesses and business innovation, and attract and retain a high-quality, diverse workforce.

Equitable Communities: We want to create a place where all residents have equal access to affordable housing, healthy foods, employment, education and more.

Environmental resilience: We want to preserve our natural and built resources and use the best strategies to fight climate change and mitigate the impact of development on the land.

Learn more about this important plan and how to get involved at ThriveMontgomery.com.