Crooked Run Orchard Receives Good Hope’s “Fresh Food Partner” Award

October 28, 2010 Farm and garden, Loudoun County, News Comments Off on Crooked Run Orchard Receives Good Hope’s “Fresh Food Partner” Award

Bread for the City was founded in 1974 by a group of volunteers who saw a need and shared a vision for addressing that need.

Thirty five years later, many of their programs still would not exist without the faithful support and service of dedicated volunteers. Over 1,500 volunteers serve at Bread for the City each year. The Good Hope Awards is our time to recognize their outstanding gift of self and service.

… Continue Reading

Loudoun County Energy Summit 2010

October 27, 2010 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Loudoun County Energy Summit 2010

…the equilibrium climate change associated with an increase in CO2 is likely to be significantly larger than has traditionally been estimated.” Lunt et al. [1]

…the rise of atmospheric CO2 above 450 parts per million can be prevented only by an unprecedented (in both severity and duration) depression of the global economy, or by voluntarily adopted and strictly observed limits on absolute energy use. The first is highly probable; the second would be a sapient action, but apparently not for this species.” Vaclav Smil [2]

A few weeks ago, I attended an event at REHAU Corporation in Leesburg, celebrating the ground-breaking for an impressive low-carbon-footprint building. The keynote speaker, Iris Amdur, a LEED accredited designer, mentioned the difficulty in “selling” low energy designs. Many of the builders present complained that people would rather spend money on larger houses and modern kitchens than on energy efficiency. A discussion centered on incentive: grants and tax credits; and on the pay-back of various strategies. Neo-classical economists discount the future so severely that an investment has to pay for itself within a few years regardless of its necessity or merit.

In reality, we cannot afford not to make our buildings more efficient, striving for carbon neutrality. There is no sane economic theory that can justify putting this off. If the peak oil community is right in their assessment of our remaining fossil fuel reserves, then immediate action is required to avoid a very prolonged and severe depression. By the time prices signal the depletion it will be too late, though one might reasonably argue that prices made their definitive statement first in the 1970’s and then more recently. The problem may not be that prices don’t signal loudly but that we don’t listen. If the cornucopians are correct, i.e., that we have plenty of fossil fuels, then we risk self-extinction from global warming. Business-as-usual does not have a happy ending. In 1975 climate physicist Wally Broecker estimated that the Earth surface temperature would increase 0.8 degrees C over the twentieth century because of anthropogenic global warming in an article published in the Journal Science. This forecast turned out to be profoundly accurate.

We, Americans, are the bulls in the china shop. Conservation and the alternative energy transition have to start here. An American uses three times more fossil fuels than a European and six times more than a Chinese person. About 41 prcent of our energy consumption is used in buildings for heating and air conditioning, hot water and lighting according to the EIA. We have the technology to derive all of this from carbon-free sources. This is low hanging fruit and it does not depend on various vague futuristic technologies which may never be realizable such as fusion, thorium reactors or carbon sequestration. We can build energy efficient buildings today.

Sustainable Loudoun, therefore, in cooperation with REHAU and George Washington University is hosting an energy summit focused on energy efficient buildings on Friday, November 12, 2010 at GWU’s Virginia campus, 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn, Virginia. This conference is free and open to the public. We will have free refreshments and many local green businesses will be exhibiting along with many local non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the program begins at 7:00 p.m. There will be a lively Q and A involving all of our speakers after the talks.

We have put together a great program of builders and engineers to discuss how to make our buildings more efficient.

I’ve covered the science of global warming in several articles I’ve written for the Blue Ridge Leader over the last year. I’ve also described the views of the peak oil community that we are fast depleting our fossil fuel reserves. I will combine both sciences and extrapolate lessons from the recent paleoclimate past to forecast our climate future, both what it will be under a business-as-usual scenario and what it could be if we were to become truly sapient. I want to prove Vaclav Smil wrong.

Elsa Anders will discuss energy efficient systems and technologies for new residential construction, with a new house case study. Robert Lauten will discuss considerations for energy efficient remodeling and retrofitting, illustrated by a case study. Elsa has been involved in Lauten Construction for 24 years, and she took the lead on producing the Village Green project house, and is currently completing the paperwork for the LEED Certification at the Silver Level. Previously she worked for both DC and Loudoun County Schools as a speech pathologist for 25 years. Robert has been involved in the building trade for over 35 years. As a journeyman carpenter, he has built and remodeled houses throughout DC and Northern Virginia. For the last 24 years he has owned and operated Lauten Construction Company, an award winning design build company in Purcellville, specializing in historic renovation and energy efficient remodeling. He is a member of NARI, NAHB, the USGBC and VSBN.

John Campbell will discuss what Loudoun County has done and what it is doing with regard to LEED projects under V2.2 and V3.0 along with an overview of the Green Policy standards. Since implementing the County’s Green Policy, Loudoun County has observed that capital projects do not cost more than the non-LEED projects. John is currently employed as a Mechanical Engineer and a certified Commissioning Engineer with Loudoun County Government in the Department of Capital Construction. John is an active member of the US Green Building Council National Capital Region (USGBC NCR) as Vice President of the Shenandoah Valley Branch. John develop the County’s Green Policy, mandating that all county owned buildings must be Silver rating level or better in design.

Dale Medearis will share the NVRC’s work to promote community energy plans in the region and how the work underway in Loudoun and Arlington counties, when applied, promotes energy efficiency, economic development and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Dale Medearis is a senior environmental planner for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, where she oversees the organization’s climate and energy programs. Prior to joining NVRC in 2007, Dr. Medearis spent 20 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International Affairs, where he coordinated programs for Western Europe and on urban sustainability.

Everybody is invited and admission is free. There will be refreshments.

Tony Noerpel

[1] Daniel J. Lunt, Alan M. Haywood, Gavin A. Schmidt, Ulrich Salzmann, Paul J. Valdes, and Harry J. Dowsett, Earth system sensitivity inferred from Pliocene modelling and data, published online: 6 Decembder 2009 | DOI: 10.1038/NGEO706

[2] Vaclav Smil, Correspondence, Nature, vol 453, 8 May 2008.

Blue Ridge Leader Interview with Elaine Thompson

October 27, 2010 Loudoun County, News Comments Off on Blue Ridge Leader Interview with Elaine Thompson

elainethompson1Elaine Thompson is a long-time resident of the area. Elaine serves on the Balch Library Black History Committee; her grandfather founded the Emancipation Association in Loudoun County, and she authored a book on this history entitled: “In the Watchfires”. Elaine was interviewed by BRL writer Tim Jon in late October as she discussed local history and the changes she has seen in the county.

Tim Jon: It must have been gratifying to see the Emancipation Celebration event come back a few years ago – after having been ‘dormant’ for so long. How did the ‘resurrection’ take place? Supporters – and attendees – of the event obviously gain a certain level of satisfaction in seeing this annual gathering take place.

Elaine Thompson: The “resurrection” of the Emancipation Day celebration was a series of evolving events. Several years ago, as interest in local black history increased, the Loudoun Museum invited me to curate an exhibition on the Loudoun County Emancipation Association which was well received. When the former Emancipation Grounds was sold to the Blue Ridge Bible Church, the leadership pledged to honor the historic significance of the property. In 2000, Deborah Lee and I, working through the Purcellville Preservation Association, applied for a Virginia historical highway marker to mark the site. The program and unveiling was well attended. Each year since the church was built and Carver school renovated, a commemoration has taken place either on the original Emancipation Grounds or at Carver Center. It is rewarding to know that this very important part of our history will not be lost and that the legacy will be passed on to Loudouners of all races.

Tim Jon: What are you most proud of, concerning the Emancipation Association? What are its chief accomplishments? If you could go
back and change anything in its history, what might that be?

Elaine Thompson: I am proud that the organization persevered against great odds, that they had the wisdom to incorporate and buy property, that they brought the wider world to Loudoun by engaging outstanding guest speakers, that they did more than just put on a one day celebration. In hindsight, I probably would have wanted the Association to be more politically active in the 1950s through the 1970s. This may not be fair since my generation, who would have taken over the leadership, had left Loudoun seeking higher education and/or better jobs.

Tim Jon: America has always struggled with identity and inclusion, despite our welcoming exterior. Look at our history with the Indians, Chinese laborers, Irish, Black slaves, Hispanics, gays, women, etc. Is there a better way to evolve and interact, or is this the best we can do? It’s been a pretty horrific history, looking at it from this standpoint. I guess the question is: Where has our national identity gone?

Elaine Thompson: This is definitely not the best we can do. Our national identity is somewhat static. There are still advantages to being white and male. Too many people are still homophobic – or simply distrustful of people different from themselves. Some are not accepting of other cultures and religions, such as Hispanics, some Asians and those of the Muslim faith.

Tim Jon: How important is it that cultural – even racial groups in Loudoun County maintain their own identity- and how important is it that we interact with everyone- no matter what their background or skin color? How has all of this changed with the times- we have many more languages and nationalities now than at any other time- even in the small, isolated rural pockets of western Loudoun.

Elaine Thompson: It is important to both maintain your racial and cultural identity as well as to embrace and respect customs and languages of other races and cultures. Loudoun County is already multi-cultural. Nationwide African Americans are no longer the largest minority. If the statistical population forecast is correct, white people will soon be the new minority. It is especially important to teach our children to be tolerant.

Tim Jon: Very few people will admit to their prejudices, yet very few people actually have none. Have you ever actually witnessed a change- for the better in any individual, regarding racial prejudice? If so, how do you think it occurred? What were the conditions that may have led to this event?

Elaine Thompson: As an African American, I have experienced systemic racial prejudice which is different from the personal prejudices that we all have. Laws change some things, but it is through education and interaction that minds and attitudes change. The better I know people of other races, the more accepting I am of them. I hope this works both ways.

Tim Jon: Do you see the economy affecting certain racial and/or cultural groups in different ways? How? What do you think can be done? How about locally- is there enough of a picture to flesh out any patterns?

Elaine Thompson: For some racial and cultural groups, home ownership and higher education is a first generation occurrence for them. For those having their hopes dashed because of the economy, there needs to be retraining for jobs that are available. Because of past discrimination in housing, loans and education most of these people have no cushion of wealth to fall back on.

Tim Jon: “My brother’s Keeper,” it’s a hard task; how do you recommend we teach something like this to a succeeding generation? It looks like we could use some guidance at this point. And what’s our reward for success?

Elaine Thompson: One of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin is “We must hang together, or we will most assuredly hang separately.” If we don?t work together to move our country forward we are doomed to mediocrity. We must become more inclusive and better educated.

Tim Jon: Where do you see Loudoun County, Virginia fitting into our national landscape of racial and/or cultural relations? If someone landed here from Mars asking for an explanation of this phenomenon, how would you try to explain it to them?

Elaine Thompson: Loudoun County is in many ways a microcosm of the United States. We are one of the fastest growing and wealthiest counties in the country, but we also have pockets of deep poverty and homelessness. We have the largely urban east and the fast fading rural west. I don?t claim to be an authority on the Loudoun County Public Schools, but studies show that higher percentages of minority students drop out before graduation, and those who do graduate can?t find jobs or qualify for admittance to college. Those same studies show suspension and expulsion rates are raciallybiased, so something is drastically wrong.

Tim Jon: It’s always been frustrating for me when others fail to agree with me on moral grounds- such as fair treatment of all regardless to race, background, religion, culture, etc. How do you deal with these issues, and how has this changed in your lifetime, if at all?

Elaine Thompson: Aside from supporting laws against discrimination, I find it best to teach by example and gentle persuasion. I have seen much progress in individual cases, and I remain hopeful for the masses. One example of positive change that comes to mind is the naming of a room in memory of an African American at Thomas Balch Library. Cynics may say it would not have happened if the donor had not made it a requirement, but I consider this progress because when I was growing up, I could not even go inside Balch Library so to have a room named in memory of my grandfather, Howard W. Clark, Sr. is quite a positive change.

Tim Jon: Thank you, Elaine. Let’s keep striving, shall we? Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader.

Catoctin Corner Traffic Study: 7,500 Additional Car Trips Per Day

October 27, 2010 News, Our Towns, Public Safety Comments Off on Catoctin Corner Traffic Study: 7,500 Additional Car Trips Per Day

According to a memo written 3/23/07 from Robin Antonucci, a consultant with Wells and Associates LLC to Senior Planner for Loudoun County, Rodion Iwanczuk, the Catoctin Corner Shopping Center planned at the intersection of Rt. 287/Rt. 7 will attract thousands of car trips from regional and local customers and will require extensive road improvements that could entail a round-about and lights.

But wait, extensive research shows that round-abouts don’t work if there are lights anywhere near the approach, as the lights interrupt the flow that the roundabout is there to create, and without that flow stacking will occur. Round-abouts can handle up to three thousand cars per hour (see Charrette 2010) and would reduce the stacking that is going to be an inevitable result of the 2 shopping centers at build-out.

How are you going to combine a round-about with the two exit/entrances that will be necessary for the shopping center without adding lights at either of those exit/entrance points? To add more confusion and difficulty to the engineering problems created by a round-about, how are you going to turn left out of Patrick Henry College which is, already, a very dangerous exit? Not only do you wait to get out now, you will wait a great deal longer when those additional 7,500 vehicle trips are added. How, for instance, are the people coming out onto Rt. 287 from the shopping center going to turn left to go north back to Lovettsville or the bypass? A light would be essential there. But you can’t put a light there because it will interrupt the flow going into the round-about. The Southern Collector Road isn’t going to help because the actual traffic flow will increase as it always does when new roads are built, so more cars will be convening at this intersection once the SCR is finished. (See Tony Vanderbilts’ book-TRAFFIC) There are already two lights north of the roundabout that may be too close to maintain the flow, but the lights that will be essential to the exits/entrances to the shopping center’s will be even closer.

According to Robin Antonucci’s memo, left turn lanes need to be built both on Main Street and on Berlin Turnpike for the shopping center. But without any kind of light to allow cars to cross opposing traffic, the stacking on the turn lanes may extend way out into the regular lanes and stop traffic flow. Left turn lanes may be adequate during periods where traffic is light, but since many people shop before and after work this could be very restrictive.

A four-lane divided highway for Rt. 287 from the bypass to the 287/Rt. 7 intersection was also discussed at the Charrette, but it won’t solve the problems of exiting and entering the shopping center if no lights are installed. It certainly will be far less safe for the school buses our children ride on nearly everyday.

On the other hand, the idea of putting a traffic light at this intersection would be, frankly, an insane idea, as the stacking would become unacceptable with the additional shopping center’s traffic, and no doubt the number of crashes would increase exponentially. The cut-through traffic on Pickwick and East Gate Drive would become so burdensome to the residents of Kingsbridge and Villages of Purcellville that police would have to be posted at both the Pickwick entrance and the East Gate entrance to keep the dangerous cutthrough traffic out of the residential neighborhood.

A version of this report appears on local blog The Purcellville Post.

Blue Ridge Leader News – October 24, 2010

October 25, 2010 Tim Jon with BRLN Comments Off on Blue Ridge Leader News – October 24, 2010
tim jon

Nothing but Time

The murder counts are adding up for a man accused of attacking three victims in Leesburg this past summer. Elias Abuelazam now faces charges for at least three deaths in his multi-state rampage, which left a wake of five dead. … Continue Reading

Malone Foundation Recipients Presented to the Loudoun County School Board

October 25, 2010 Loudoun County Comments Off on Malone Foundation Recipients Presented to the Loudoun County School Board

On October 26, the Teri and Shari Malone Foundation will present the 2010 Malone Award recipients to the Loudoun County School Board. These recipients were selected based on their talent and passion in the fields of Math Science, Music, Art or Dance. Recipients were selected from each of the Loudoun middle schools, and from two local dance schools. These youth join a growing number of exceptional students who have been honored by the Malone Foundation.

Founded in memory of two Loudoun County girls who lost their lives after finishing their eighth grade year at Seneca Ridge Middle School, The Malone Foundation each year recognizes students with exceptional talent in the fields of Art, Music, Math, Science, and Dance from each of the Loudoun County middle schools and from two local dance schools. Each award recipient receives a recognition plaque and $250 in scholarship assistance to further develop their skills.

This year’s recipients from Harmony Intermediate School are Art: Aaron Hale Whitehead; Math: Sean-Patrick Magoffin; Music: Joseph Gerald Rees; and Science: David Mingfei Liu.

Students from earlier years have used their scholarship assistance for programs such as Cannon Music Camp, Dance Olympus, Cocoran School of Art, University of VA Architecture Summer Enrichment Program, Marine Science Consortium, Skerrett Art Instruction, and Interlochen Music Festival.

For further information on the Malone Foundation and its role in recognizing these exceptional young people, call Mr. Charles Heazel at (703) 779-1018 or write to The Malone Foundation, P O Box 3164, Leesburg, VA 20177.

Volunteer As a Master Gardener

October 25, 2010 Business, Loudoun County Comments Off on Volunteer As a Master Gardener

November 1 is the Early Bird Registration deadline for those interested in joining the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program.

The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer training program is offered through the Extension Office to train Volunteers to assist the Urban Horticulturist in providing service and educational programs for Loudoun residents. Persons who are interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer do not have to be experienced gardeners. The one characteristic all Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGV) have in common is a desire to give back to or contribute to their community.

EMGVs are involved in various educational activities throughout the year. They include: Help Desk Office, Demonstration Garden, Garden to Table programs, Gardening Clinics at local Farmer’s Markets, Children’s Gardening programs, speakers to club and group meetings, and many others.

In order to join the program you must complete and return an application form to the Extension Office. Training space limits the number of students accepted to 30. Applicants are asked to attend an orientation meeting and are personally interviewed by EMGV and Extension personnel before being accepted into the training program.

The training program in basic horticulture is held Tuesday and Thursday mornings and begins February 1, 2011. Topics covered include botany, soils, entomology, propagation, water quality, fruits and vegetables, ornamental plants, pathology, diagnosis skills, and landscape design. Once the classroom portion of the training is complete, Extension Master Gardener Trainees become Interns and continue learning by contributing 75 hours of hands-on volunteer internship by the end of the calendar year in order to become a certified Extension Master Gardener.

Application packets can be downloaded from the Loudoun County Master Gardener website at

Early bird registration is due by Nov. 1. Applicants are asked to attend an orientation session/open house on Nov. 22 at 7:00 p.m. and interviews will begin November 29.

Update on Windy Hill Cottages

October 23, 2010 Our Towns Comments Off on Update on Windy Hill Cottages

The Windy Hill Foundation conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony October 16 to celebrate completion of a $644,500 renovation of 11 single-family cottages on Windy Hill Road at the western edge of Middleburg.

Participants in the ribbon cutting ceremony included Loudoun County Supervisor Jim Burton, Windy Hill Foundation Board members, officers of the Windy Hill Development Company which managed the construction project, the owner and officers of Linden Contracting who did the renovation work, cottage residents, and guests.

As a result of the project, the cottages have not only been brought up to current building codes, but also certified as “Green Buildings” by EarthCraft Virginia. In addition to new roofs, new siding, and all new energy-efficient windows, every cottage also received Energy Star® high-efficiency central heating and cooling systems and Energy Star® appliances throughout.

One third of the funding for this project ($200,000) came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Another $392,500 was contributed to the project from the Loudoun County Housing Fund and the balance, $52,000, came from Windy Hill Foundation’s local fund raising.

“With help from Loudoun County and the Stimulus Package, this renovation makes these cottages some of the most energy-efficient buildings in the County.” said Kim Hart, President of the Windy Hill Development Company.

“And the real benefit is to our low-income residents who will have their monthly energy bills cut in half,” said Hart. The cottages are a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Rents range from $400 to $750 per month.

The Windy Hill Foundation mission is to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing to low and lower income families and the elderly from the surrounding Middleburg/Upperville area and to encourage self-sufficiency and independence among tenant residents. Proceeds from this event will help Family Development Committee programs including emergency rental assistance, help with medical and dental bills, computer and internet training, parenting classes, and on-site access to a trained Loudoun County social worker.

Windy Hill is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information on the Windy Hill Foundation, call 540-687-3997.

Troxell Presents an Easement Workshop in Waterford

October 21, 2010 Development, Government, Loudoun County, News Comments Off on Troxell Presents an Easement Workshop in Waterford

The Taylorstown Community Association, Friends of Catoctin Creek and Supervisor Sally Kurtz of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors invite you to meet from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 22, at the Old Waterford School at 40222 Fairfax Street in the village of Waterford.

The county and these organizations are sponsoring a presentation by Don Owen of the Land Trust of Virginia on how permanent conservation easements can help protect and preserve our lands, streams, and historic places, and benefit us as landowners and concerned citizens. Keith Troxell of the Virginia Easement Exchange will speak to the potential tax benefits.

Come and invite your friends and neighbors to ask questions, discuss possible benefits, and enjoy refreshments. RSVP to: If you have questions about the meeting, call Joan Linhardt at 540-822-4407.

Halloween with your Pet at Hunter’s Head

October 21, 2010 Our Towns Comments Off on Halloween with your Pet at Hunter’s Head

This year’s Halloween with the Animals event will take place on Sunday, October 31.  From 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. stop by the patio at Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville to enjoy an assortment of free hors d’oeuvres and see pets and their owners dressed in creative costumes.  The evening’s festivities will include three costume contests and lots of fun. Prizes will be given for the “Best Pet Costume,” “Best Human Costume,” and the “Best Pet and Owner Costume Duo.” Halloween with the Animals at Hunter’s Head will be a treat for the whole family.

Halloween with the Animals at Hunter’s Head Tavern is a free event.  All pets must be on a leash to attend. Call 540-592-9020 for additional information.

Cooking Up a Storm

October 20, 2010 Columns, Sushi's Corner Comments Off on Cooking Up a Storm

In the kitchen of the big white farmhouse Mrs. B is up bright and early.

Before the sun has even started to rise she is hustling and bustling, opening a cabinet here and a cabinet there. I watch curiously as she puts a little of this and a little of that in the huge pots that sit on top of the gas stoves. It’s a school morning and much needs to get done before the girls wake up and start their day. I lay diligently at my master’s feet in hopes of any morsels that might fall my way.

MMMM. MMMMM. MMMM. Oh, those smells. I’d know them anywhere. My taste buds are starting to tingle. My tongue is starting to drool. It is kind of an embarrassing dog thing – drooling. I try my best to lick my lips and show I am not too anxious, but oh, oh, oh, that lamb sausage gets me every time! I want to hug myself and float right up to the pot and snatch some of the good stuff out!

Mrs. B continues to sprinkle a little of this and a little of that into the large pots. I know her stirring is bound to bring me a splash of something good, right to the very floor where I lay my obedient head. Sure enough, Mrs. B starts to stir the big pots mixing her special blend of seasonings to get her concoction just right. As she stirs away, she yelps in mock surprise as she drops a little lamb sausage right in front of my very nose! I just love it when she treats me! Quickly I snatch up every morsel and lick the floor clean.

If you are very good, I will watch carefully and make notes as to just what she is preparing. I hear there is another Blue Ridge Leader newspaper in the works that will be out in hard copy soon. I will make sure I get the recipe right and put it in print for you. If I am not mistaken, I think she is making her Laino’s Lamb Loaf.

Oh baby, oh baby, it is soooo good!

So until then,

Yours truly,


Solving the Unemployment Problem and Preparing for Power Down Simultaneously

October 19, 2010 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Solving the Unemployment Problem and Preparing for Power Down Simultaneously

By guest contributor George Mobus and Tony Noerpel

George Mobus is an Associate Professor of Computing and Software Systems at the University of Washington, Tacoma. His research interests include biophysical economics, systems science, evolutionary, cognitive neuro-psychology, real-time, on-line, life-time learning algorithms, and autonomous agents in dynamic, nonstationary environments. His blog is [8].

“Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over.” – Herbert Hoover, responding to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery, June 1930.

Put People to Work Doing Something Worthwhile

While the politicians wring their hands and cry about how awful the jobs situation is, and as they contemplate a possible stimulus package, real solutions will evade them if they are not able to understand the present or anticipate the future. They are as lost as the neoclassical economists are in believing this economic ‘situation’ is temporary and that we will eventually get back to growth and prosperity.

There is at least one physically feasible solution and it has been done before. From 1933 to 1942 the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) [9] provided jobs for younger workers conserving natural resources (e.g. our national parks) in the US. The program was part of a general jobs creation program proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression to provide a stimulus to the economy and, so to speak, kill two birds with one stone. There was a great deal of resource management work that needed to be done, things like building access roads in national parks, and there were millions of unemployed young men who, without meaningful work, would have likely run amuck. It was, in fact, a brilliant idea. Coupling work that needed doing with labor that needed work. The same thing applies today. The problem is that the powers that be don’t grasp the nature of the work that needs to be done.

Over the next twenty years the US and the world will need to transition from an industrial agriculture model to one based on permaculture [2] and more organic, labor intensive approaches to growing food. Oil is going to decline, meaning that diesel fuels to run tractors and combines will become increasingly costly. And natural gas, meaning fertilizers, will also go into decline. The era of agribusiness is coming to a close sooner than anybody might have imagined. And we are not prepared for what follows.

The work that should be started soon will be labor intensive. We need, literally, millions of men and women reconditioning and building soils capable of sustaining permaculture [10] and local production/delivery of food. The Green Revolution has done a great deal to degrade our natural soils through the increasing use of fertilizers and pesticides as well as irrigation [1]. Soon, without these petroleum-derived inputs, it is likely that food yields will drop significantly. Some land areas currently under cultivation might even fail completely. As far as oil-based transportation is concerned, the world is going to grow very large once again, and very round, once long-distance hauling is no longer cost effective. Foods will have to be grown and consumed locally and the best alternative to industrial agriculture that might hope to produce sufficient calories and nutrients to keep huge numbers from starving is permaculture [2]. That is where the jobs can be. And the sooner we get started developing our skills and knowledge of how to do this, the better off we will all be. Adapting to permaculture is how Cuba survived its “Special Period”, when they lost support from the Soviet Union in 1991 [3].

A Modern CCC for Soils Remediation

Make no bones about it. We are talking hard work, physical labor, just as was the case in 1933. In all likelihood, the initial bulk of work will go to young men and women who are physically capable of doing it. Nevertheless, the benefits and even rewards to society as a whole will be substantial.

The main task is to remediate the condition of our prime soils in regions that will be least affected by climate change. There are several regional models of what to expect in the next fifty to one hundred years (even in worst case scenarios) that suggest that there are potential areas of the US and Canada that might still be viable high yield areas even as the climate changes [4]. In addition to remediation of soils there is the need to ensure the availability of water as needed. This may involve building new canals from regions of increased rainfall to regions that will have less, but are still viable for growing crops in other respects.

Agribusiness has relied so heavily on the elements of the so-called Green Revolution, fertilizers, irrigation, and pesticides along with massive and complex delivery vehicles, all made from or run on fossil fuels. At the same time, the very use of these elements has depleted the natural capacities of regional soils. In some cases it has killed off soil microbes that are essential for natural ecosystems to survive and thrive [1]. And that is the way we will need to understand our food production, as a natural, though assisted, ecosystem (the whole point of permaculture). Now that the soils have been so badly damaged it will take years of careful management to rebuild the natural capacities of these soils. And it won’t be done with tractors so much as with compost, shovels, and horse-drawn wagons and plows.

What we need is a modern version of the CCC dedicated to restoring key soil regions to natural productivity. The key is in the kinds of things that organic farmers have been practicing for years. It takes a lot of work and time to recreate organic productive soils from the sterile dust that passes for farmland under the current set of Green Revolution practices. We know how to do this, but it requires a tremendous amount of labor to accomplish.

Unlike the CCC, this new organization should not be limited to just young men. Young women would be every bit as qualified for most of the jobs. And as with any major labor force undertaking this one would also require management. There are quite a few highly qualified out-of-work (older) managers among the long-term unemployed. The management structure need not be complex. The same basic operations would be performed in distributed fashion all over the country. Setting up a basic operations management school to provide these people with the particulars of their new responsibilities would be pretty straight forward. The curriculum need not be complex since it is just adding on specific soil management operations management to supplement the management skills they already possess.

These are the jobs that need to be done now in order to assure some kind of food security for the greatest number of people as possible in the not-so-distant future. This is possible. It is feasible from a physical point of view. We still have the physical resources (organic wastes that could be turned into compost and used to remediate soils) needed to get the process rolling. We even have enough fossil fuels left to transport said resources if we put a priority on it.

Financing This Modern CCC

One of the greatest hurdles to any kind of jobs creation program right now is that financing it will simply drive the government into deeper debt unless we make necessary cuts in non-productive military spending. While there are strong political voices that object to investment in the future of America on grounds of fiscal responsibility, very few object to pork-barrel defense spending.

Investing in soil remediation and permaculture infrastructure, on the other hand will pay off in an energy constrained world. What we do now to improve the natural carrying capacity of soils and regions is going to have a great benefit in the future.

Pull the troops out of our foreign involvements, bring them back home and stop spending on the war on terrorism (always a ludicrous notion). The military men and women have learned discipline which will be needed to focus on the work at hand. Hire them as part of this jobs program. Otherwise, what are the alternatives? Continue throwing money down the war black hole and waste good lives? Or bring them home, redirect the money to fund this organization, but discharge the troops so they too would then be jobless?

One way or another, they will need to be integrated into this effort. Our food supply is the most important element of real homeland security.

Free Education

As another, even more valuable benefit to young workers in such a program, we could provide a free education in the technical and principled basis of permaculture. Our future society will depend on permaculture for not just sustenance but for intellectual guidance in how to live in the natural world. Humans have long believed that they had risen above the natural world, had in fact come to dominate it in some sort of spiritualistic transcendency. But now those who can get past this hubris can see that we are as much a part of the natural order as any other creature in the Ecos. We need to learn to live within our boundaries in such a way that the majority of humans, in the future, can live to seek their self-actualization. That is something we did evolve to pursue. But we can only do so within the natural limitations of our biophysical world.

Schools of permaculture (systems science applied to real life!) could be set up near all of the local sites of soil remediation work. As part of their remuneration for working the soil, these workers would be able to attend evening classes in formal education structures dedicated to helping them understand the importance of the work that they are doing and preparing them for being leaders in the new world of permaculture-managed food supply. Instead of learning how to manage a for-profit business, they would be learning how to manage food production in cooperation with the natural world. They would learn ecology as well as basic biology and nutrition sciences. And they would learn it in the context of managing resources for human well being. In that not-so-distant future that will be the most important knowledge of all. The permaculture curriculum exists and several schools are already in operation [5].


What a proposal of this magnitude requires is presidential leadership, such as that provided by FDR in the Great Depression. One very good reason it will need to be national in scope and concurrently ramped up around the country is that it won’t work to have pockets of permaculture communities, as is currently happening with the grass roots approach now being taken, surrounded by greater urban communities of hungry people. It could get dicey for the permaculture communities. We’re either all in this together or there won’t really be a future. Such a leader would have to fight off entrenched corporate interests, their lobbyists. This will be nearly impossible after the Supreme Court’s Scotus decision [6].

Where Does That Leave Us?

Reform and restoration of democracy, if it is to happen in the United States will have to be initiated at the local level. In 2000, Loudoun County had 200,000 acres of farm land. Just ten years later we only have 120,000 acres. We need to preserve what remains of our agricultural heritage. Currently, organic local farmers have a hard to competing with factory farms. This situation will obtain for sometime while the cost of fossil fuels remains low. Price signals prized by neo-classical economists are never sent on time. In order to transition from fossil fuels to alternatives, significant investment in infrastructure and resources, such as soils and fresh water supply, will need to be made while fossil fuels are still relatively inexpensive. The County could put unemployed and underemployed people to work while at the same time subsidizing our local farm operations with labor.
Another problem Loudoun County may face is the fall in home prices predicted by the Case-Shiller housing index [7]. We expect home prices to continue to fall another 20 to 40 percent in the most likely scenario. But if we do not eliminate some of our structural economic problems such as our wasteful military spending then housing prices could fall even further. Many of our ten-acre Mcmansion homes will be underwater and foreclosed. This is prime agricultural land. The County could purchase these properties for pennies on the dollar and sell them to newly educated permaculturalists.

[1] David Montgomery, Dirt, The Erosion of Civilizations, University of California Press, 2007.
[2] For more information about permaculture see . Permaculture is quite knowledge intensive following the principles of systems science.
[3] See:, and

Uta Brown Addresses Council

October 19, 2010 News Comments Off on Uta Brown Addresses Council

Uta Brown speaks before the Purcellville Town Council Meeting on October 12. The Town of Purcellville is in the process of preparing for condemnation Crooked Run Orchard, a 200 century working farm in the Town of Purcellville. At the same time Sam Brown is in the process of buying his brother’s interest in the 16 acres of the front parcel of the property. His plan is to fully restore the historic home and expand farm operations.








The Holocene Climate


(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions


Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio


I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power


“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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March 2017
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February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017


March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
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Steady and NoBull


Sterling Library Moving To New Location

25 Mar 2017


Sterling Library’s current location, 120 Enterprise St., Sterling, will close beginning Saturday, March 25, to prepare for the opening of the new Sterling Library on Saturday, April 15. Patrons can return library materials using the drop box at the new location, 22330 S. Sterling Boulevard.

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Middleburg Gallery Presents Country Pursuits Exhibit

25 Mar 2017

Mr and Mrs Andrews 24x35 59 2016 whelan

The Gallery on Madison in Middleburg is presenting an exhibit of Brian Whelan’s (a London Irish painter now settled in Waterford) ) transcriptions of a gallery of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Andrews’ through April 2. The exhibit includes 23 paintings, two masks, two graphics, and nine preparatory drawings.

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Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

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Priscilla Nabs Plum Planning Commission Post

Loudoun County Seal Color

Appointment Shocks Many On January 3 Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) nominated Tom Priscilla for the Loudoun County Planning Commission to represent the Blue Ridge District. Priscilla was …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Why Williams Gap Road Should Not Be Paved


Today, most residents of Loudoun County know nothing about Williams Gap, even those living on Williams Gap Road (Route 711). Knowing who “Williams” was, why a gap in the Blue …

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception


We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Virginia Schools Kick Off Statewide Campaign To Encourage Safe Teen Driving


More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety …

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Protecting Free Speech


By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …


Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

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Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017


The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

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WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017


The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

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