Burgers and Brews for the Bay: Getting to Know Your Neighborhood Market

 Clagett Cow Panorama

Photo by Kellie Rogers.

Did you know that you can eat your way to a cleaner Chesapeake Bay? That’s right! A few weeks ago, we hosted our first Burgers and Brews for the Bay event at our sustainable Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Guests gathered on a beautiful fall Sunday to enjoy craft brews and local food while learning about the importance of local, sustainable food and how it reduces our impact on the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.

Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

One event attendee recalled that she felt she had "stepped into a different world," surrounded by organic vegetables, herbs, and grass-fed animals. Clagett was the ideal location for the premier of this event as the farm demonstrates how agriculture can be made both profitable and sustainable.

Notable chefs traveled to the farm to feature grass-fed beef (provided by Clagett Farm Manager Michael Heller) in their own interpretations of gourmet sliders. Six food stations, each paired with a local craft brew, presented those sliders and other fresh ingredients like grass-fed lamb, organic herbs, and vegetables, all produced at the farm.

Today many people believe that we could not feed the world's growing population if every farmer were to switch to sustainable farming practices. But that simply isn't true. A research team from the Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC) group stated that contrary to popular belief, the global industrial food system uses 70 percent of the agricultural resources while producing a mere 30 percent of the world's food.

Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

In contrast, what the ETC group calls "peasant food systems" (or food from local, sustainable farming) are responsible for 70 percent of the world's food with access to only 30 percent of the agricultural resources.

What's more, through more local, sustainable farming practices, the consumer is able to have a better, more personal connection with their farmer and their food. 

Burgers and Brews not only helped educate and connect event participants with their own "neighborhood market," it also highlighted the fantastic work of various, regional programs through educational tables set up around the farm throughout the day:

  • Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems. The food bank works with our Clagett Farm CSA to deliver fresh organic produce to communities in D.C. with otherwise limited access.
  • Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) supports local and sustainable food through existing and prospective farmers. Future Harvest CASA shared their mission to provide education, networking, and advocacy to help build a sustainable Chesapeake foodshed.
  • Attendees could also learn about local and sustainable farming opportunities through our Maryland Grazers Network. The Network, started by Farm Manager Michael Heller, is a farmer-to-farmer mentoring program that pairs experienced livestock, dairy, sheep, and poultry producers with farmers who want to pilot or switch to rotational grazing practices. Grazers Network mentors spoke with visitors who were interested in the benefits of grass-fed products not only for their own health but for the health of the animals and the environment.
  • The Chesapeake Chapter of the Buy Fresh, Buy Local Campaign, which CBF coordinates, was on hand to promote local and sustainable food sources for the betterment of the community, economy, and the environment. The Chapter's Eater's Guide to Local Food in Maryland is a resource, which includes a directory of sustainable farms, locally sourced markets, CSAs, craft breweries, and farm-to-table restaurants.
Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

Throughout the day at the farm, guests also enjoyed live music by local bluegrass band Fiery Deep. Clagett farm staff set farm equipment out on display nearby, while tractors pulled wagons for hay rides around the property. The six food stations featured Maryland, D.C., Delaware, and Virginia brews including Bold Rock Hard Cider, DC Brau Brewing, Devil's Backbone, Dogfish Head, Fordham & Dominion, and Mully's Brewery. The delicious food menu included items like the "Fire It Up" beef slider topped with spiced tomato sauce and fresh pesto, Moroccan ground lamb sliders with roasted garlic and tomato jam, and a pastrami and Swiss slider with local sauerkraut. Other farm staff cooked fresh homemade vegetarian and meat pizzas in the farm's clay oven. Children and adults sipped on local root beer floats in the main tent where rain barrels and Clagett's grass-fed meat were offered as raffle prizes. Next to the main tent, our Education Program entertained kids climbing on hay bales, painting pumpkins, and printing fish on T-shirts.

Most importantly, event participants learned of the health benefits of grass-fed meats, the major sources of agricultural pollution to our waters, and ways that farms can become more sustainable. Attendees returned to their own neighborhoods later that day, full from a day packed with fresh, local food, craft brews, and learning opportunities that offered insights into delicious ways to help Save the Bay.

—Kellie Rogers

Check out our Facebook Photo Album for more photos of this fantastic and educational day on the farm!


Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

Photo of the Week: The Best Way to See the Bay

2680_Shady Side - Riverfest (14-Jun-14)Wc1

As a paddler, the best way to see and experience the Chesapeake is by sea kayak. Sea kayakers throughout the Chesapeake Bay Region have begun a series of paddling trips that span the newly accessible 100-mile Anne Arundel County Water Trail.

In this photo taken last month, members of Washington Kayak Club pose to celebrate our safe return from our first inaugural 14-mile round-trip paddle from the West/Rhodes River to Deep Creek after laboring through a small craft advisory on the Chesapeake Bay the last five miles. It would have not have been possible were it not for the new car-top boat ramp at Shady Side, MD.

—Dom J. Manalo

Ensure that these paddlers and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary places like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo, and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. We look forward to seeing your photos!

From the Ground Up: Celebrating a 20-year Partnership Between CBF's Clagett Farm and the Capital Area Food Bank

Boys in field
Photo courtesy of the Capital Area Food Bank.

 Summertime scene: Kids riding a hay wagon arrive at a farm field and spread out excitedly to pick sweet corn, okra, and tomatoes, under the careful supervision of Carrie Vaughn, Clagett Farm’s Vegetable Production Manager. She shows them how to pick the produce respectfully.  They bring their prizes back to the wagon in bins and head to the farm’s washing station to clean them for transport to D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank.  

It’s no accident that most of these young people come from food-challenged families that receive produce through the Food Bank and its partner agencies. This scene is just one snapshot of From the Ground Up—a 20-year collaboration between the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Clagett Farm and the Capital Area Food Bank that blends Bay-friendly, sustainable agriculture with social justice through environmental/nutrition education and enhanced availability of fresh produce for people living at or near-poverty levels in the Washington region. 

The base “operating system” for From the Ground Up is Clagett Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, in which customers buy shares of the harvest beforehand and collect whatever is in season weekly, from salad greens in early May through winter squash in November. Regular customers pay a rate that covers enough program expenses to allow the farm to donate 40-50 percent of its annual production (around 35,000 pounds) to low-income people through the Food Bank. 

Food Grant - Second Genesis Stocking Fridge
Photo courtesy of the Capital Area Food Bank.

Participants can pick up their shares either at an appointed place and time within the District or at the farm, which is only 14 miles east of the U.S. Capitol Building. In addition, the CSA offers Reduced-Price Shares and Workshares to low-income families, and an extensive group of volunteer weeders and pickers helps to keep the program’s operating costs low. The result is that people of all income levels in the Washington, D.C. region can receive top-quality vegetables and fruits from this local farm, while helping to support an extraordinarily effective and efficient food bank that speaks to the needs of people around our Nation’s Capital.

For its Fresh Produce Grant program, the Capital Area Food Bank carefully selects recipient member agencies food pantries, clinics, after-school programs, soup kitchens, and shelters  with the organizational strength and the facilities to maintain the quality and efficiently distribute a broad range of produce to their clients. For 2012, there are nine participating agencies in the District, Suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. 

But the Fresh Produce Grants themselves are only the first step in the Food Bank’s approach to battling hunger.  Another vital element for recipient member agencies is education. Remember those kids on the hay wagon?  They are there because, as written on the Capital Area Food Bank's website: "...the Food Bank —and CBF —understands that food alone will not end hunger. The food bank couples food distribution with education and training in order to maximize the impact of that food.

Washing sweet potatoes
Photo courtesy of the Capital Area Food Bank.

The Capital Area Food Bank works with our partner agencies as well as low-income individuals directly to gain the skills and resources they need to be more self-reliant. The food bank offers a wide variety of educational programs. Some of these programs are in the form of classes and demonstrations, while others are structured as train-the-trainer in order to support community organizations and capitalize on the strong leaders in our local community."

The best testimony of the value of From the Ground Up, though, comes from those who receive the Fresh Produce Grants. This note from a lady in the District gives it eloquently: “I am submitting this letter to express my appreciation for the fruits and vegetables that I had the fortune to receive for the last six months. I cannot tell you the impact this has had on my life and health. I am a senior citizen on a fixed income, and I would not be able to afford the quality of produce I have received. I want to thank you very much and sincerely hope that the program can continue.”

 John Page Williams

Photo of the Week: Weeping Happily on the Potomac

Dc march 27 2010 adam II 301The Potomac River from the District of Columbia looking towards Virginia. Photo by Patrick Armstrong.

I love this photo because of the blues and greens. It shows that beauty exists within the District. The photo was taken on a gorgeous spring day while a friend and I were showing some out-of-town friends the city. What an amazing view! I love showing off the great places that exist in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area. There is so much beauty right in our own backyard.

 Patrick Armstrong

To view more of Patrick Armstrong's work, visit his Flickr photostream.

Ensure that Patrick and future generations continue to have "so much beauty right in our own backyard." Support the Bay pollution limitsour best hope for a saved Bay. 


Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. Please also join our Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group and post your pics to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your photos!


Running for the Bay

IMG_5025Photo courtesy of Katie Spaeth.

My name is Katie Spaeth, and I'm a junior at Yorktown High School in Arlington County, Virginia. My first experience with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was a two-day overnight trip in seventh grade, where we stayed at the Smith Island Education Center. On this trip, I learned about the environment through boating expeditions, hiking through marshes, and staying in an education center in a small town right on the Bay.

The isolated, outdoor aspect of this trip, where we learned about the environment through hands-on activities, was a very different and exciting experience for me, a native of a suburban town outside of D.C. Since then, I have attended three one-week Student Leadership Programs with CBF, and each was an amazing experience. Every trip required completing an action project, which included taking a leadership role in our communities and executing a project, which would raise awareness and positively impact the Bay.

After this past summer's Leadership Program, I decided I wanted to organize a 5K in my community, in which all proceeds would go toward supporting CBF's Student Leadership Programs. Having been an avid runner on my high school's cross-country team since eighth grade, the idea of incorporating my passion for running with my desire to help raise awareness about the Chesapeake Bay was incredibly appealing.

Organizing the event was a lot of work. I had never before created such a big project on my own. I had to call lots of people in the county to request an area for the run; create T-shirts; map out the course; and send out donation/participation forms. In the end, 36 people showed up on a cold and rainy Sunday morning to run, all adorned in matching "Arlington Run for the Bay 5K" T-shirts. 

The whole event was a great success, and I raised $775 dollars for the Student Leadership Program at CBF! I'm proud of all my efforts, and I'm thankful to all my friends and family who helped me organize the project along the way. Most importantly, I hope the money raised will go towards supporting this great CBF program. It has taught me incredible leadership skills, the importance of community service, and introduced me to inspirational adults and students throughout the Chesapeake watershed who are working to save the Bay.

 Katie Spaeth

Interested in raising money for CBF in creative ways? Become a BayRaiser! From weddings and other special events to races and remembering a loved one, you can use BayRaiser to raise money for CBF's restoration work. Learn more.

5K Group


Chesapeake News and Dos

Filling you in on the top stories of the week and letting you know how to make a difference!

IMG_2591 Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

This week in the Watershed:  Hypoxia returns, some much-needed funds, and good crab news 


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities for the Bay

October 8

  • Help clean up the Anacostia, our nation’s “forgotten river!” Join the United by Blue crew to help rehabilitate this Potomac tributary. 

October 9

October 11

  • Voice your opinion on the future of menhaden, “the most important fish in the sea,” in Annapolis, Maryland. This meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is open to public comment so please attend. We need your help to let these officials know just how important this fish is to the Bay!
  • Join CBF and REI for a viewing of “Gasland” in Richmond, Virginia. Clips from this documentary about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” will be shown followed by a conversation about possible fracking in George Washington National Forest.  

October 12

  • Help fortify stream buffers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania along Witmer Run by planting trees with CBF. Help stop sediment and nutrients before they get to our waterways.

October 15



Adam Wickline


If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know by contacting CBF’s Community Building Manager, Adam Wickline: awickline@cbf.org. Do you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities. 


Speak Up for the Bay Tomorrow Night

Elected and appointed officials in Richmond and Washington, D.C. are making decisions about Bay restoration right now! They need to hear from you.

Please join CBF tomorrow evening for a Chesapeake Bay Town Hall meeting in Arlington, VA. Find out about progress on Bay restoration efforts—including the President’s Executive Order and upcoming legislation in the House and Senate.

Whether you have specific questions you’d like to get answered or simply want to hear the latest updates directly from the movers-and-shakers involved, your participation will help make the point that you want promises turned into actions! For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Guest Speaker:
Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia District 8

Panel Speakers:   
Chuck Fox, EPA Senior Advisor on the Chesapeake Bay
Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Virginia District 31
Dr. Roger Mann, Director of Research and Advisory Services, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Roy Hoagland, Vice President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

CBF's Will Baker on WYPR Thursday

Tune into Baltimore public radio station WYPR 88.1 FM Thursday (September 17th) at noon to hear CBF President Will Baker on the Dan Rodricks show. Will will be Mr. Rodrick’s guest and will discuss the draft Executive Order reports issued last week. Those reports outline the federal government’s new leadership for the Chesapeake and the kinds of strategies federal agencies proposed to take.

Listen Thursday or catch the podcast, then share your thoughts with us here.

Tune in to CBF's Will Baker on WAMU Radio Noon Today

Tomorrow, December 9, marks the 25th anniversary of a comprehensive effort to save the Chesapeake Bay. Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM today at noon and join Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President Will Baker and Washington, D.C. radio host Kojo Nnamdi for a look back at 25 years of working to save the Bay; what's been accomplished and what the future may hold.

Take this opportunity to call in with your questions. WAMU's talk show call-in number is 800-433-8850.

If you're concerned about the lack of progress in cleaning up the Bay and believe the Environmental Protection Agency should uphold the Clean Water Act, please sign our petition and encourage your friends and family to sign it, as well.