Published with permission of Wesley Rubbin
To the Board of Education,
I'd like to start by stating that I moved to Montgomery County when I was 7 years old. I attended Garrett Park Elementary, moved to Tilden Middle, graduated from Walter Johnson High School in 2006, and finished my Montgomery County education at Montgomery County Community College. I participated in athletics throughout my schooling and enjoyed the comradery associated with it. I am proud of my public education and believe that Montgomery County contributed greatly to my growth into a contributing member of society. I respect many decisions that have been made by the directors during my life here. However, the situation at hand is an extremely urgent matter and I refuse to stay silent.
Sustenance vs sport? To qualify that even further, LOCAL sustenance vs sport? I understand the need to accommodate the public and the growing popularity of soccer but I'm truly not sure why this has even become a debate. Sure, land ownership takes precedent over land lease, but we need to judge the decisions being made both morally and logically before we start handing over lease papers. I have just a few reasons as to why this is a truly ridiculous and opaque decision made by one of the greatest counties, education-wise, in the world.
First off, there will be no children playing any sports anywhere if the decision to destroy valuable food sources continue to be made. That is a very simple statement formed by very simple logic, the human body needs food to fuel its movements. I do realize that this is just one farm and there's plenty of other sources of food, but it always starts with one.
Secondly, Nicks farm is deeply connected to our community agriculturally and financially. He hasn't been contributing to local economy for 2 years, not 10 years, but for 31 years! He has conducted his farming practices as a farmer first and business man second. How incredibly rare is that in the age of the agricultural mega-factory-machine?
Thirdly, he does not add to the agricultural mega-factory-machine. He uses no chemicals. He encourages his animals to conduct themselves as evolution has coursed them to and not as food-producing-robots. He preserves biodiversity. He minimizes waste. He supports local economy. And he promotes the education of sustainable farming. All of these things, of which there are many more, are so incredibly important to preserving the human race. I'm not sure the decision-makers understand the gravity of their actions and its effect on the continuance of our species.
As an athlete myself, I do believe in the importance of sports and getting kids to be active. They need physical outlets, especially with obesity as the rising epidemic that it is. But surely there are ways of building fields for athletic activities that do not interfere with such an important facet of human life. I know of hundreds of acres of massive and unused parking lots within a 15 mile radius of that farm that would suit Montgomery Counties need for more soccer fields. There is plenty of land in undeveloped parts of recreational parks very close to Potomac. Use those.
There is incredible value in a farm willing to open its barn doors as an educational resource for children to learn about ecologically responsible agriculture. You don't get that in the multi-billion dollar factory farm industry. Nick has created one of the few surviving organic family farms. For you to take that away from the community would place an indelible blemish on your credit as a top-notch educational system and it would surely affect the community in more negative ways than can be foreseen.
I am ashamed to live in a county that values sport over sustenance. This decision strikes so many dissonant chords it's a bit difficult to note them all. Please do the right thing for this county and vote to set a precedent that acknowledges the importance of local and sustainable agriculture over the growing popularity in a sport.
I'm looking forward to your good decision making.
Wesley M Rubbin