Non-Profits Sustaining Sustainability Series: Green Acres – The Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming

October 10, 2019
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Non-Profits Sustaining Sustainability is a regular feature where we highlight a Montgomery County non-profit organization that is making a difference with their work in sustainability spaces across a variety of industry sectors.

This time, we feature the Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming (CKC Farming) in Silver Spring, find out how they are working to make their farm more sustainable.

What is CKC Farming? 

Established in 1983 by Charles Koiner – a man with a farming mission who preserved a one-acre plot of land in the heart of Silver Spring for almost four decades – the non-profit entity was named in his honor as a testament to the importance of green space as well as his legacy.

“CKC Farming preserves and manages urban farms and gives city residents the opportunity to engage with their food, their land and their community,” says Kate Medina, organization founder and executive director. “Our mission is to provide hands-on, farm-based, educational programs that inspire the next generation of sustainable food innovators.”

That work is done via community activities that aim to inspire the next generation of sustainable food innovators through hands-on, farm-based programs like Family Days on the Farm, activities for Earth Day, Community Food Rescue Week kick off to help eliminate food waste, outreach activities like the “Farmer in the Classroom” series that has the Center’s farmers visiting local elementary schools – and more.

Because it is located just a block away from the Silver Spring Library and is within walking distance of the East Silver Spring Elementary School and the Silver Spring International Middle School, CKC Farming is a popular destination for field trips, and outings for scout troops, campers and other groups. Medina says that all of CKC Farming programs and activities are specifically designed to help create a sustainable local food system right here in the county.

What makes CKC unique and sustainable? 

“We believe that Montgomery County is uniquely positioned to become a national model for what a sustainable local food system looks like, but we also realize that it will require healthy, knowledgeable, caring individuals who have grown up with regular access to farming and have an appreciation and understanding for what it takes to grow food,” she adds.

Recently, CKC Farming was granted Montgomery County’s first ever easement for urban agriculture, insuring it will be around for generations. With assistance form the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), the organization was awarded the easement to permanently protect the farm from ever being developed into anything other than a working farm.

As a local land trust, Medina says CKC Farms’ greatest sustainability effort is preserving open green space in heavily populated areas throughout the county for urban agriculture.

CKC Farming will host compost trainings on October 12 and October 20, 2019. And their annual Autumn Volunteer Day, which gives the community a chance to dig their hands in the dirt and work in the farm’s garden beds and laying cover crop to return nutrients to the soil will happen on November 3, 2019 beginning at 10am.

For more information about CKC Farming programs or for urban farmer volunteer or intern applications, log onto or call (240) 418-7170.

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