Organic Farm To Continue Harvesting Crops At Brickyard Road in Potomac
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr has sent a letter officially allowing the farm to stay on the property for the time being.
An organic farm in Potomac has been granted a temporary extension while property disputes play out in higher courts.
Nick’s Organic Farm faces eviction by Montgomery County and Montgomery County Public Schools so the land can be developed into MSI soccer fields, but a Circuit Court judge last week nullified a lease agreement between Montgomery County and Montgomery County Public Schools, throwing the project in limbo.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr on Friday wrote a letter to Nick’s Organic Farm and the Brickyard Road Educational Farm allowing the farmers to continue harvesting, while the property awaits court further decisions.
“Given the complex legal issues and that they are not resolved yet, I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to say, ‘Get out,’ and he loses his crops,” Starr told The Washington Post Friday. “That doesn’t seem right.”
Montgomery County had granted farmer Nick Maravell an extension under its lease with the school board that would have expired Aug. 16, but with the Aug. 14 court ruling, the county no longer has a right to the land. MCPS needed an interim resolution about how to handle the property now, according to MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig.
Starr has mostly remained silent on the Brickyard property issue in the past. His Friday letter is an unusual break in the silence.
“The board wasn’t going to have a chance to meet, so Dr. Starr was within his rights, with the permission of the board, to make the decision,” Tofig said. “The decision about what to do right now needed to be made.”
The school board will meet Thursday of this week and may discuss the Brickyard Road property, but discussions could take place in closed session because of legal matters, Tofig said.
Starr’s letter also requested that noncritical farm operations, including the Brickyard Educational Farm, stop operations during the extension. MCPS is concerned about liability issues, should an accident happen while school children are on the site, The Washington Post reported.
Sophia Maravell, cofounder of the Brickyard Road Education Farm and daughter of of Nick Maravell, said she and some supporters would be attending the meeting to discuss the merits of the Brickyard Educational Farm with the board.
“They’re concerned about liability,” she said. “We’re open to work with MCPS to make it as easy as possible for school groups to go onto the site.” The educational farm already requires school groups to sign waivers before visiting the site.