Read about the next generation making a difference in key PEC programs.
Our Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows ushered in its third growing season this spring and welcomed hundreds of volunteers through its gates. As we all continue to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Community Farm has served as an inspiring gathering place for community members to enjoy nature, give back and socialize with neighbors (in a safe manner!).
Aided by Virginia’s northern Piedmont climate, pasture conditions, and open space, raising beef cattle has become one of the region’s dominant agricultural land uses. Cattle farming contributes enormously to the local economy, quality of life and vitality of all the region’s communities, and the growing retail market for beef may even represent one of the best models for sustaining the success of the area’s small farms. Over the past year, that market has been simultaneously enhanced and challenged by pandemic-related supply problems.
A recent study by The Piedmont Environmental Council and American Farmland Trust, spurred by pandemic-related breakdowns in national and local food supply systems, has led to the development of a new meat-cutter training program to be offered by the Rappahannock Center for Education beginning late fall 2021. Using a national training model, the program is intended to help local meat processors expand their operations and increase their capacity to serve the region’s cattle farmers by building a larger pool of available skilled laborers in the field.
The Piedmont Environmental Council is proudly working with multiple community partners to support local farms and farmers, create more public access to outdoor spaces, and support the county’s food insecure population. Some of these initiatives were inspired or amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, while others continue to advance PEC’s core mission of protecting and promoting the Piedmont’s natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty.
I’d like to take a minute this week to highlight three upcoming events geared towards PEC members and supporters.
- Thurs, March 11: Go Native!
- Tues, March 30: PEC Quarterly Keynote featuring Mike Curtin (CEO of DC Central Kitchen)
- Thurs, April 29: Brook Trout: Gems of the Piedmont
March is our Membership Month, a time of year when we celebrate our current members and encourage others to join or renew! Learn more and sign up to attend!
Farmland lost is farmland lost forever. Budget amendment 97 #2h (Gooditis) would provide an additional $2 million to the Farmland Preservation Fund grant program (current funding is only $250,000), providing much-needed matching funds and encouraging other localities to adopt Purchase of Development Rights programs of their own.