ALMANAC: Save Nick’s Organic Farm

To the Editor: The following open letter was addressed to County Executive Isiah Leggett. 

A few days ago I took a walk along the C&O canal, something I’ve been doing since childhood. The canal towpath, at one time designated to become a national park was slated to be turned into an auto parkway after WWII. Thanks to Chief Justice William O. Douglas’s efforts and public outcry, the canal towpath is now a national treasure with more than three million visitors a year enjoying this unique park. 
 
The school board and county’s plan to turn a one-of-a-kind organic farm into a soccer field is misguided and short sighted, in the same way that turning the canal into a roadway was so many years ago. 
 
The county has 501 soccer fields and only one GMO-free organic farm; Nick Maravell’s. Two weeks ago, kids who currently play soccer, soccer coaches, a former head of a Potomac high school soccer team and a soccer mom along with hundreds of residents voiced their support for Nick’s farm in a June 9 meeting. An organic farm takes decades to develop the extraordinary soil that grows the bountiful harvest that local residents enjoy and that other farmers depend on for GMO-free seeds. 
 
In one day all that could be lost. 
 
Kids and adults have so much to gain from learning how their food is grown and becoming acquainted with healthy organic food. No public hearing went into making this decision. At the very least, Montgomery County and the Montgomery County School Board need to allow the community to be heard. The democratic process should determine what becomes of Nick Maravell’s unique farm. We currently have an organic farm in the heart of our community at a time when we are trying to teach our children the importance of healthy eating as well as the provenance of the food they eat. 
 
Shouldn’t we be preserving this extraordinary farm rather than paving it over to make one more soccer field? 
 
The ground swell of support Nick Maravell has received is only going to become stronger. In fact, all residents of Montgomery County can benefit from knowing learning about the food they eat, being introduced to fresh, organic produce grown in the heart of their community and the opportunity to learn farming methods — something that is all but lost on suburban residents. 
 
As County Executive, wouldn’t you rather be remembered for your role in preserving this county, state and national treasure than for its destruction? Please take a stand and allow current residents and generations to come the opportunity to learn, work in and enjoy the harvest of Montgomery County’s unique 31-year-old organic farm. I respectfully beseech you to make the right decision and save Nick Maravell’s and our community’s farm. 
 
Tamara Meyer