Brickyard Educational Farm is holding a fundraiser on Friday, June 14, to raise money for its agricultural education project "that has garnered extensive public backing, but was nevertheless shut down by the Montgomery County Board of Education this spring," according to a Brickyard Educational Farm statement.
"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," Governor Martin O’Malley wrote in a letter to Brickyard Educational Farm on June 10. "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. On behalf of the State of Maryland, please accept my wishes for a successful event," O’Malley wrote. (Click here for the full text of the June letter.)
Nearly two dozen state and local politicians have confirmed they will attend the event. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the non-profit Food and Water Watch, will address farm supporters and sign copies of her recent book Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.
The fundraiser has been organized with the Save This Soil campaign (www.savethissoil.org), and will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday at the Glenview Mansion (603 Edmonston Dr., Rockville). Tickets are required for the fundraiser.
Brickyard Educational Farm (www.brickyardeducationalfarm.org), launched in 2012 to provide agricultural education to students in Montgomery County, formerly operated at Nick's Organic Farm, which leased the property on Brickyard Road for the past 32 years from the Montgomery County School Board.
The board had planned to lease the site to the county for use as soccer fields starting last year, but—in a letter to the county school board last February—Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) wrote that the county was relinquishing the county's lease on the site, and that the county no longer intended to develop the property for recreational purposes, Patch reported.
The property may be used for a new elementary school, Patch reported.
The site—once slated for a middle school—has been the focus of months of controversy and legal wrangling. A group of Potomac activists, residents and farm supporters want the site to be maintained as an organic farm and educational site. They say the lease agreement with the county was executed without full public transparency, Patch reported.
But, "[the] Montgomery County Board of Education is not leasing the Brickyard Rd. property to Brickyard Educational Farm this spring, with no apparent plans for using the land in the near future. ... Previously, Gov. O’Malley had said it would be a 'big mistake' to destroy the farm," the Brickyard Educational Farm's statement added.