Loudoun Economic Development and the Loudoun County Public School’s School Nutrition Services office announced the starting lineup of local farmers featured in this year’s deck of Farmer Trading Cards, distributed to elementary school students across the county.
This award-winning collaboration is back for its fifth year, coinciding with the start of the Major League Baseball season to illustrate the importance of farming in Loudoun’s community, having access to local food, and career paths that can be pursued in agriculture.
Loudoun’s Business Development Officer for Agriculture and Business Services John Magistro revealed that the 2021 featured farmers are:
- Ben Sedlins, Quartzwood Farm
- Catie Dutcher, Butterfly Hill Farm
- Chris Van Vlack, Hanging Rock Hay and Grain
- Evelyn Carr, Three Bags Wool Farm
- Kristina Scharf, Loudoun Beekeeping Company
- Maya Wechsler, A Farm Less Ordinary
- Pamela Jones and Sarah Waybright, Gathering Springs Farm
- Rebecca Brouwer, Shepherds Corner Farm
- Todd Morrison, Dawson Gap Farm
This year’s deck was created in time for the 2020 season but was delayed when COVID-19 disrupted the global economy and forced LCPS to do remote learning.
“Farmer Trading Cards are a celebration of agriculture in Loudoun County, especially after a year in which our farmers embraced new business models and illustrated the importance of local food and products. We salute business innovation and hope to impart that on the next generation,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer explained. “The future of our farms depends on students interacting with farmers, understanding possibilities within the profession, and becoming the #LoudounPossible All-Star farmers of tomorrow!”
With LCPS again using in-person education, the Farmer Trading Cards will be distributed, one card at a time, through the schools’ lunchrooms.
Instead of arranging in-person visits for the farmers to the schools, as has been done in years past, Loudoun Economic Development produced video vignettes for each of the farms, which will be shown within the schools and across social media.
“We are delighted to spotlight the community contributions of Loudoun’s farmers and continue this award-winning partnership. Students look forward to collecting the cards each year and we’re delighted with the addition of videos to this year’s curriculum,” School Nutrition Specialist Elizabeth Frimpong, MS, said. “Local farmers bring so much value to our community, and we’re proud to serve a selection of local produce to our students. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our mutually beneficial relationships with the farming community.”
According to the USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture, Loudoun has more than 1,200 commercial farms, which contain thousands of Loudoun’s businesses and are a major driver in the county’s nearly $2 billion tourism industry.
Loudoun farms are home to the most grapes, hops and honey of any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth. Loudoun also leads Virginia in the number of llamas and alpacas.
The Ag Census also showed that Loudoun leads the Commonwealth in farms owned by women, Latinx, Hispanic, Asian, and military veterans.