Farmers, environmentalists must work together for sustainable agriculture

A Letter to the Editor of the Baltimore Sun

The publication of the American Farm Bureau’s response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to set a strict “pollution diet” for the Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 9, 2010) provides us with an important opportunity to open up the dialogue between farmers and conservationists. Earlier this month, the Accokeek Foundation hosted a conference titled “Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay,” in which policy makers and farmers alike explored ways that profitability and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. A panel of successful farmers affirmed that, in this region that prizes local food, pastoral landscapes, and a wholesome environment, the farms that are profitable in the future will be those that adopt sustainable practices and help protect and restore the Bay.

The Accokeek Foundation and other organizations with similar standing and expertise in sustainable agriculture should do all we can to ensure that farmers have the tools they need to adopt sustainable practices and find success. I hope that farmers will use this opportunity to work with new environmental regulations and reclaim their rightful role as exemplary stewards of the land.

Wilton Corkern, President

Meet Catherine Krikstan: Our Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Catherine Krikstan

Meet Catherine Krikstan, Accokeek Foundation's Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps was launched in 2010 to increase public involvement in environmental protection and bring in new participants to the field of conservation. The program will help individuals, communities, organizations, and governments become better stewards of our state’s natural resources. Sixteen watershed organizations and government agencies throughout Maryland such as the Accokeek Foundation, Alice Ferguson Foundation, the South River Federation, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have been provided with volunteers who will aid in environmental outreach and stewardship efforts.

We are excited to have Catherine Krikstan join our team. Starting mid-November with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ inaugrual kick-off ceremony, Catherine hit the ground running assisting with final preparations for the December 9th conference, Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay. This year, Catherine will work with staff to encourage agricultural and environmental stewardship, providing support to the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship (CAES) and the Ecosystem Farm. Over the course of the year, she will help to coordinate educational programs and workshops and support our public outreach and marketing efforts. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and recently earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Her last semester of graduate school was spent covering the Chesapeake Bay for the Capital News Service, where she published stories in both local and national news outlets about struggling watermen, rising sea levels, and ever-expanding algae blooms. She has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, and spent last summer managing her own small-scale Community Supported Agriculture program on the Eastern Shore.

Let’s all give Catherine a warm welcome and best wishes for a happy new year at the Foundation.