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Brickyard farm gets fundraising support from local heavy hitters

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Published on: Thursday, June 13, 2013

By Zach Rimkus

POTOMAC - State and county officials will attend a fundraiser to support bringing back funding to a local educational program.

The Montgomery County Board of Education dropped the lease for the Brickyard Educational Farm. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch will address supporters and signcopies of her recent book Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food Farming in America to raise support for the program.

The farm in the past 32 years had been a certified organic seed saving operation.

Even though there has been support for the educational program from local, state and national groups, including Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, the board of education still locked the gates to the Brickyard Educational Farm in March.

“Brickyard Educational Farm aims to teach students about local and sustainable food and agriculture, and to show them how the food they eat is grown,” said Gov. O’Malley.

“The farm’s vision is to supply organic produce for school lunches, and to offer field trips, a Beginning Farmer Program, apprenticeships, and internships to students in neighboring schools.”

There are no plans from the board to reopen the farm. Although the farm is used as an educational tool for children around the county, its status remains in a state of flux while the board rewrites its policy for leasing MCPS property.

Education Director for Brickyard Educational Farm, Sophia Maravell talked about how much support that the farm is receiving from local officials. “It is going to be a really successful event. We’ve been shown enthusiasm and support for Brickyard Educational Farm,” said Maravell. “A newly released letter from the governor will also help show the building support for the Brickyard Educational Farm and the larger movement of environmental outdoor and farm based education.”  

Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, one of the many legislators who will be attending the event said teaching children about farming is essential to their education.

“Food doesn’t grow in grocery stores, but most kids won’t know that unless we teach them about farming and bringing them to farms. The Brickyard Educational Farm will be Montgomery County’s open air agricultural classroom for children and grownups who want to recover their roots. As the Senate sponsor of the Maryland’s Farm-to-School Act, I am thrilled about this historic development.”

“Brickyard educational Farm is not only an educational organization, but they are using grassroots organizing to make sure that their vision is implemented,” said Hauter. “We need more organizations that build political power in our communities to make our food system work for consumers and farmers. Brickyard Educational Farm is going beyond education to action-and we all must become politically engaged in food policy to make our food safe, nutritious and sustainable for our families.”

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