Our Work

Safeguarding the landscapes, communities and heritage of the Piedmont by involving citizens in public policy and land conservation. Learn more about our work by browsing the subject areas below and find out how to get involved!

Video: Wrapping up 2020 at the Community Farm

We had an incredible 2020 season at the Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows! Thanks to the tireless work of over 470 volunteers, we donated more than 25,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown produce to our partners at Loudoun Hunger Relief!

What was expected to be a slow and steady increase in production this year turned into something much more, as PEC worked to respond to the local impacts of Covid-19. We increased production by 4x what it was in 2019!

We need your support as we plan for the fast-approaching 2021 season. Make a donation today.

Read more about this season at the farm and the rest of PEC’s Farm to Food Pantry Initiatives

On the Ground Updates – December 2020

On the Ground Updates – December 2020

A series of short updates from around the PEC region – Albemarle & Charlottesville, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange & Rappahannock.

Standing with St. Louis…And Now Aldie

Standing with St. Louis…And Now Aldie

When a developer, Mojax LLC, bought the Howards’ ancestral land in 2017 and proposed a development of 27 homes with individual wells, the community was understandably concerned. “As a widow and a senior citizen on a budget, the development could drive up the taxes and force me to dig a new well, which I can’t afford,” said Peterson. Besides the water issues and property values, residents worried about losing the historic cemetery, undiscovered graves of enslaved people, and the cultural history of the place.

Farm to Food Pantry Initiatives During the Pandemic

Farm to Food Pantry Initiatives During the Pandemic

Since March, with the help of partners and supporters, The Piedmont Environmental Council has provided 25,000 pounds of vegetables, 25,000 gallons of milk, and more than 11,000 pounds of local beef and pork to the food-insecure in our nine-county region of the northern Piedmont. That’s more than 50,000 pounds of locally-sourced products for local food banks, which has a very different impact on the local economy than shipping in 50,000 pounds of food from somewhere else.

Zoning Changes Proposed in Advance of a New Warrenton Master Plan

Back in July, we told you about the Town of Warrenton rushing through a new master plan. In response to concerns raised by residents like you, the town planning commission formed a subcommittee to redraft the plan. We were heartened by the pause and have been waiting on an updated draft. However, in a truly “cart before the horse” move, the planning commission is now set to consider related (and somewhat controversial) zoning changes at a public hearing this coming Tuesday, December 15.

Take Action: Help Save Metro and Other Public Transit!

Take Action: Help Save Metro and Other Public Transit!

empty metro car
Photo by M.V. Jantzen, Flickr.

Congress needs to pass a stimulus package with $32 billion in emergency operations funds for transit agencies across the country. Send a quick email to your Representative and Senators using this campaign set up by our colleagues at The Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Once we have widespread access to a COVID vaccine and our region fully re-opens, we need a transit system that works, for all who need it, when they need it. On top of that, more people staying at home during the pandemic has highlighted how much individual vehicles contribute to air pollution. A well-functioning Metro is critical for reducing those greenhouse gas emissions by giving people public transportation alternatives and reducing pressure to expand highways and sprawling development into rural areas.

This stimulus package funding would help cover the collapse in fare revenue, maintain service, prevent service disruption, and provide support for health safety measures that are currently under threat from WMATA’s expected $500 million budget shortfall for FY2022. 

Local comprehensive plans in places like Loudoun County depend on a functioning Metro system to balance development and conservation. Regional land use and transportation plans are built around reliable weekday, weeknight and weekend service. This is not just a local and regional priority either – it is essential infrastructure that makes it easier for people to work at or travel to the federal government and other important institutions.

And most of us either use Metro or have family, friends, employees, or community members who depend on the opportunities and service it offers. 

In short, we need to support Metro to protect our workforce, environment, and economy.

The following was an email alert sent out by our colleagues at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which is a division of PEC that promotes walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities in the Washington D.C. region.

Take action so we don’t lose decades of progress

Last week, WMATA released some very grim news regarding their upcoming fiscal year 2022 budget which begins July 1. If Congress cannot pass a stimulus package soon, we will lose decades of hard-fought progress on transit expansion and service improvements. Facing a $500 million budget shortfall, the proposed FY22 budget would:

  • End weekend rail service 
  • Cease rail service at 9pm daily
  • Close 19 Metro stations
  • Slash bus service

Our region relies on WMATA to transport essential workers, keep vehicle emissions low, and stimulate economic activity. These cuts, on top of those already proposed for January 1, threaten the progress made from decades of advocacy, but we’re not ready to give up.

Though this proposed budget is bleak, all hope is not lost. There is still time for Congress to pass a long overdue stimulus package with $32 billion in emergency operating funds for transit agencies nationwide. We’ve been pushing for this level of funding alongside many other transit advocacy groups since June.

The Senate has introduced a package with $15 billion for transit. While we appreciate our own Congressional delegation’s work on this, the allocation formula will provide nowhere near enough for WMATA to avoid severe cuts next year. 

Push your representatives to support the full $32 billion needed for transit to survive the pandemic

Even if politics limits the current deal to $15 billion, we’ll fight for the additional funds needed. We must fight for the emergency transit funding necessary to protect our workforce, environment, and economy but we can’t do it without your help. So take action today, and share on social media to spread the word!

Thanks for all you do,

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director
Coalition for Smarter Growth

P.S. If you represent an organization, we are circulating an organizational sign-on letter here.