Yesterday in Annapolis, the Chesapeake Executive Council held its annual meeting to set goals for the Chesapeake Bay Program, which gives policy direction for the restoration and protection of the Bay.
The new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed at the meeting. Signers include the governors of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Delaware; the mayor of the District of Columbia; the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Two of the main goals in the 2014 Chesapeake Watershed Agreement are to, “restore, enhance and protect a network of land and water habitats to support fish and wildlife, and to afford other public benefits, including water quality, recreational uses and scenic value across the watershed” and “reduce pollutants to achieve the water quality necessary to support the aquatic living resources of the Bay and its tributaries and protect human health.”
We believe we have a solution to their concerns: Brickyard Educational Farm. Brickyard Educational Farm, located near a subwatershed of the Chesapeake Bay, strives to improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed through the practice and education of sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture highlights the ideals of preservation and improving soil and water quality. Brickyard’s use of sustainable agriculture positively impacts the Bay and its watersheds.
Brickyard Educational Farm’s philosophy is that hands-on, environmental and agricultural education experiences are components of a well-rounded education for children and adults to lead healthier lives and improve their natural environment.
Brickyard Educational Farm used to operate on 20-acres of publically owned Montgomery County school board land. We are hoping this land will be utilized for agricultural educational purposes once the school board puts the land back up for lease proposals or bid. During the 2013 season, Brickyard Educational Farm operated on a small piece of private property adjacent to the 20-acre site. Preserving this 20 acres farm will help protect the Bay and also aid in fulfilling some of the strategies stated in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
Martin O’Malley is chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council and hosted the event yesterday. O’Malley has previously pledged his support for Brickyard Educational Farm stating, “The work that Maryland puts into programs like the Brickyard Educational Farm will be greatly rewarded through the health of our children and the preservation of our agricultural heritage. The vital connection between our farms, the food we eat, and our children’s future has never been more important than it is right now.”
This year’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement clearly states, “By the end of 2017, with the direct involvement of local governments or their representatives, evaluate policy options, incentives and planning tools that could assist them in continually improving their capacity to reduce the rate of conversion of agricultural lands, forests and wetlands as well as the rate of changing landscapes from more natural lands that soak up pollutants to those that are paved over, hardscaped or otherwise impervious.”
Brickyard Educational Farm’s naturally preserved land is entirely too valuable for Marylanders and our precious Chesapeake Bay. Please help us persuade the Montgomery County government and school board to save our soil for agricultural education!
Please take a look at the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement here: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/ChesapeakeBayWatershedAgreemenetFINAL.pdf