Our third season is underway with more than 12,000 seedlings in the greenhouse. Watch the video>>
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.
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.
Check out the latest video updates from Dana and Pete at PEC’s Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows!
Alot is going on, at and around our 141-acre Roundabout Meadows property at Gilberts Corner in Loudoun County. We’ve got a new trail opening, the second season for the Community Farm and news to share about the market property at the northeast corner!
Loudoun County is one of the most affluent counties in the nation and simultaneously home to some 14,000 people without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. It is consistently one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, and yet over 200,000 acres is planned to remain rural with over 58,000 acres of permanently conserved open space. Nestled among the three roundabouts of Routes 15 and 50 and Howser’s Branch Road, lies PEC’s Community Farm. Located at the literal intersection of suburban and rural Loudoun County, it is perfectly positioned both to shine a light on the value of conservation and to make practical, tangible progress to address food insecurity in the community.
Interested in volunteering? Help us with planting and harvesting healthy food for Loudoun residents in need. On-site training will be provided. Previous experience is welcomed, but it is not required. Be prepared to work outside in variable weather conditions, get your hands dirty while doing a good deed, and learn about your local agriculture community. All ages are welcome. However, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. There will be special days scheduled to accommodate the whole family!
The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows launched in early 2019. In its first season, the farm produced almost 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies including potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and melons. In 2020, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, food pantries saw need triple almost overnight. In response, we pushed our expansion plans ahead of schedule and tripled our production. Throughout our 2020 season, we welcomed 468 volunteers who donated over 1100 hours of their time to the farm, while following CDC and health department guidelines. Our volunteers harvested more than 25,000 pounds of fresh produce for donation to Loudoun Hunger Relief.
Dana Melby joined PEC’s staff in 2018 as the Farm Manager. A native of Frederick County, Virginia, Dana grew up surrounded by agriculture and developed a passion for horticulture at a young age. Prior to joining PEC she worked in a variety of roles throughout the industry, from greenhouse production to orchard management, and every step in between. Most recently she worked for Virginia Tech as a Field Research Specialist where she managed peach, apple, and cherry orchards as well as vineyards.
Dana earned a bachelor’s in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. After a transformative experience studying subsistence agriculture in Samoa, she went on to pursue a Masters in International Agriculture at Oklahoma State University. While at Oklahoma State she worked with a local food bank to develop a garden and production plan to supplement their programs.
Visit and Volunteer:
There are several management areas within the 140-acre Roundabout Meadows property owned by PEC. The Community Farm is located on the approximately 40 acres within the triangle created by the traffic circles at Howsers Branch Road, Route 15 and Route 50. The address is 39990 Howsers Branch Dr. Aldie, VA 20105.
Approximately 80 acres of the property, on the south side of Howsers Branch, is being managed for livestock grazing. In 2017, livestock exclusion fencing, hardened crossings and alternative drinking water were installed. The result has been significant improvements in water quality. In addition, some areas are being converted to native warm-season grasses, with noticeable increases observed over the past two years. In 2018, the lease for the pastures was modified to encourage rotational grazing.
Another 20 acres in the southeast corner is being managed to demonstrate wildlife habitat restoration. Along with the Old Carolina Road roadbed, this area will be accessible for education and passive recreation by a trail being designed in collaboration with Oak Spring Foundation, the Fauquier Loudoun Garden Club, and NOVAParks.
Learn about volunteer opportunities on the farm >>