PLENTY SUMMER 2020 | Page 11

lated when plants are partially cropped by the animals, plus the animals’ manure and urine return nutrients to the soil. Meanwhile, that regrowth continues to pull carbon down into the soil, where much of it will remain, especially as a healthy root system stretches down further. More carbon in the soil means less carbon dioxide in the air. Water is also better absorbed into the soil, and precious topsoil is never lost to runoff. Once permanent pasture is established, the next step will be to transition into silvopasture, i.e., the deliberate planting of trees onto the pasture as part of the livestock operation. Trees provide shade for animals in the heat and some shelter from winter conditions. Equally important, trees offer habitat for wildlife and food sources for pollinators, plus the potential for another income stream: a harvestable crop, depending on the species chosen. The addition of trees means the land will sequester even more carbon and capture more precipitation. With the supply chain disruptions we are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of establishing regional food security through local food production becomes quite evident, and it is in keeping with the founding goals of the Agricultural Reserve. The highest and best use of Reserve farmland is to produce quality food in a manner that benefits our community as a whole. SGA’s goal is to put all of the open space at Linden Farm into productive, carbon sequestering, food producing, ecosystem-supporting usage. With regenerative agriculture, we will do that while putting more back into the environment than we take out. Ellen Gordon is a long-time civic activist with Sugarloaf Citizens’ Association. She is a former coastal issues analyst, writer and editor of stories about the ocean and the people who study it. An avid horseback trail rider, an avocational herbalist, and an enthusiastic chaos gardener in the veggie patch, Ellen chooses the outdoors whenever she can—in the fields and woods, the ocean, the mountains, and her yard. Handcrafted Wines Cellar Club Online Ordering established 2013 Family Friendly Social Distancing hours of operation Wednesday 12-6pm Thursday 12-6pm Friday 12-9pm ~Live Music Saturday 12-8pm ~Summer Hours Sunday 12-6pm ~ 14525 Montevideo Road Poolesville, MD plenty I summer growing 2020 11