Working Farms & Local Food

Farmland and forests produce the essentials of life, from the food on our tables to clean water and air. In PEC’s nine-county area, approximately 200,000 acres of farmland and 198,000 acres of forests are protected through private, voluntary land conservation.

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Diana Boeke and Amir Abdelmalek

A Tale of Two Alums

Since 2009, PEC has offered the Exploring the Small Farm Dream course to aspiring farmers—helping them take a long hard look at their dreams and to answer the question, “Is starting a farm business a …
Lee's Orchard

Lee’s Orchard

Lee’s Orchard sits about 10 miles east of Shenandoah National Park in Rappahannock County, surrounded by beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The apple orchard is undoubtedly intertwined with the history of the community …
The Whole Ox

The Whole Ox

'Know your farmer' is a popular phrase these days, but Derek and Amanda Luhowiak, owners of The Whole Ox Butcher Shop in The Plains, think people should get to know their butcher as well. Amanda, …
Farmstead Ferments & New Moon Naturals

Farmstead Ferments & New Moon Naturals

Sitting less than 100 yards from gardens and a variety of fruit trees on a farm in Charlottesville, I met with Dawn Story, founder of New Moon Naturals and Farmstead Ferments. Story tells me that …
Market Table Bistro

Market Table Bistro

Opening a restaurant like Market Table Bistro was always a dream for Rebecca Dudley and Jason Lage, both of whom went to culinary school and later met while working at Lansdowne Resort. They each grew …
Moutoux Orchard

Moutoux Orchard

It’s pick-up day at Moutoux Orchard and it looks nothing like the scene at your nearest grocery store. It is mid-March when I went to visit, there is snow on the ground and members of …
Sheep grazing

Renovating Worn-Out Pastures

Like many Piedmont farms, Over Jordan Farm in Rappahannock has been a pasture-based operation for decades. After 20 years of overgrazing, however, it’s facing issues that are common in the region—poor soil health, a lack …
Expanding Beef Cattle Profitability in VA's Northern Piedmont

Expanding Beef Cattle Profitability in VA’s Northern Piedmont

Currently: • Most weaned and backgrounded calves leave the state for fattening in out-of-state feedlots. • A small percentage of calves are kept as stockers before shipping to out-of-state feedlots. • Most cow-calf operations take …
| | Working Farms & Food
Loudoun Farm Incubator

Loudoun Farm Incubator

The concept of incubators to launch new farm businesses has been developing in the sustainable agriculture community for years. Veteran agriculturalists understand that, much like a successful farm business, a successful farmer incubator requires very …
| | Working Farms & Food
Water Penny farm

Defining our Food Labels

When talking about our food, we constantly hear terms like ‘organic’, ‘local’, ‘free-range’, and ‘grass-fed.’ These labels are meant to guide consumers’ food purchasing decisions by offering information on the farming methods used to grow …
| | Working Farms & Food

The Piedmont Environmental Council is a partner of the Virginia Soil Health Coalition. We support the 4 core principles of soil health management: Keep Soil Covered; Minimize Soil Disturbance; Maximize Living Roots; and, Energize with Diversity. Join the movement today at 4thesoil.org.