Working Farms and Food

Farmland and forests produce the necessities of life and provide essential natural services. In PEC’s nine county area, over 180,000 acres of farmland and 140,000 acres of forests are protected through private, voluntary land conservation. 

Summer at PEC’s Community Farm

Summer at PEC’s Community Farm

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!).

PEC Study Seeks to Aid Local Meat Processors and Farmers

PEC Study Seeks to Aid Local Meat Processors and Farmers

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.

Conservation Outcomes from a Speedy Special Session

Conservation Outcomes from a Speedy Special Session

Well, that was fast! Less than two weeks after gaveling in on Monday, Aug. 2, the Virginia General Assembly concluded its special session on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

New skilled meat cutter training program will help region’s meat processors serve Virginia cattle farmers

New skilled meat cutter training program will help region’s meat processors serve Virginia cattle farmers

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.

Community-based Partnerships Take Root & Grow in Loudoun County

Community-based Partnerships Take Root & Grow in Loudoun County

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.

We Hope You Can Join Us

I’d like to take a minute this week to highlight three upcoming events geared towards PEC members and supporters.

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!

Action Alert: Protecting Farmland Now and For the Future

Action Alert: Protecting Farmland Now and For the Future

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.