Nick's Organic Farm Takes Fight to Board of Education
Supporters of Nick Maravell's organic farm spoke on Dec. 6 at the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting.
Sara Shor, campaign organizer for Save Nick’s Organic Farm, and more than ten other speakers spoke at Tuesday’s Montgomery County Board of Education meeting and provided testimonials supporting the preservation of the organic farm on Brickyard Road.
A petition on the “Save Nick’s Organic Farm” website was nearing 23,000 signatures Tuesday night. The website was set up to support local efforts to turn the 30-year old, 20-acre organic farm into a community agricultural center and save it from recreational development proposal to build at least four soccer fields on the property.
Shor said Nick Maravell’s farm, which he has managed for the past three decades, is the only certified organic grain farm in the county, containing some of the most fertile land remaining in the area.
Supporters of the farm say it was improperly leased to the County Executive by the Board of Education without proper public notification, but the county disagrees and wants to move ahead with development plans.
Nick’s supporters who spoke at the Board of Education meeting argued for the benefits that agricultural education would have in the county long term. But even with thousands of supporters all around the country, Montgomery county officials are prepared to build on the land.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has said that the organic farm could be moved to another location to make room for the soccer fields, but Shor said that solution would not work.
“It is a certified organic farm. It takes years for a farm to become organically certified. It produces open pollinated seeds,” Shor said. “This requires a location that is geographically isolated from conventional farming that uses genetically modified seeds because crops can cross-pollinate through wind or animal pollination. When a crop is contaminated by GMO pollen, it is no longer considered organic.”
The movement to save Nick Maravell’s farm faces its biggest challenge on Dec. 15, when the Montgomery County Circuit Court will make the final decision to either create an educational center or construct additional fields.
“We will continue to keep up the pressure and show support,” Shor said. “If Nick loses the land and his lease is not extended into next year, he will have to vacate on January 1, 2012.”
Transcripts of the Dec. 6 testimonials will be posted on the “Save Nick’s Organic Farm” website
Editor's note: The original story stated that supporters of Nick's Organic Farm would stage an “occupy” movement next week at the Brickyard Road farm. The event has been canceled.