This story was corrected on Thursday, July 10, 2014. An explanation follows the story.
Caroline Taylor wants to show that Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve isn’t just a relic of past life outside of Washington, D.C., but an economic driver, home to many, and a gem of culture and history. She’s making a film called “Growing Legacy” to share the reserve’s stories and asking supporters to fund the final cuts through crowdsourcing site Indiegogo.
Taylor, executive director of Montgomery Countryside Alliance, the organization producing the film, wants to show the relevance of this rare expanse of undeveloped land that, as sheep farmer Lee Langstaff pointed out, is only 30 miles from Dupont Circle. Langstaff, who moved from Georgetown to Comus in 1998 to raise sheep, is one of many highlighted in the upcoming film.
After gathering about 30 hours of footage over the last two years, Taylor and her team are in the post-production phase, trying to cull interviews into a 30-minute film that they aim to finish by the end of August and premiere shortly thereafter.
As of July 14, the campaign had raised $3,805 from 44 supporters, toward a goal of $20,000 by the time the campaign ends on Aug. 5. Depending on how much supporters donate, they receive different levels of gifts or benefits, ranging from products from local farms, to VIP tickets to the film premiere, to a personalized tour of area farms.
Taylor hopes that the film can help more people understand the reserve’s relevance to the rest of the county, in growing food and contributing to the economy.
“Not enough people can come out here and tour and see,” Taylor said. “The primary activity here is a business, it’s farming. It’s a business and it’s an industry and it contributes quite a bit to the economy and well-being of the county.”
During Heritage Days over the weekend of June 28-29, Montgomery Countryside Alliance showed a trailer of the film at the old bank building in Poolesville.
Langstaff believes the film will be an educational opportunity for many people who are unfamiliar with the area, noting that she believes outreach is critical to its viability.
“I don’t think we can sustain it as a resource unless the broader region supports it,” Langstaff said.
In the film other farmers and residents of the Agricultural Reserve talk about what they do there, highlighting the historical, entrepreneurial, sustainable and family-run approaches to different farms.
For example, Button Farm in Germantown focuses on the history of plantations and slavery in the area, functioning as a “living history center.”
Rocklands Farm of Poolesville, also featured in the film, has a winery and a community-supported agriculture program, sells pasture-raised meats and produce, and hosts farms dinner and concerts in the summer.
The film is supported by a $20,000 grant from the Kay Family Foundation, a $1,000 community grant from Heritage Montgomery and Montgomery Countyside Alliance’s own funds.
Taylor hopes the film will “show the magic, the future, the challenges,” of the area.
“There’s something uplifting, even though there’s the potential specter of loss of the land,” she said. “It shows us that we should all be proud not only that this area exists but that it’s fulfilling its promise.”
In an earlier version of this story, the headline incorrectly referred to the film as “Growing Legacies.” The title is “Growing Legacy.”