Grown with conviction
Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie Smith decided a few weeks ago it was time to start a garden — two very large plots, in fact, on the Carrigan property behind the courthouse — to grow vegetables to be used to feed prisoners at the county jail. Trustees, or trusted inmates, have already tilled and planted potatoes, tomatos, beans and many other crops — and built the very impressive, if not very happy, scarecrow. Sheriff Smith says any excess foods will be donated to the Rappahannock Food Pantry, though the unfenced plots are surrounded by veggie predators — geese at the nearby pond, deer and a notably large groundhog.
Earth Day bagged
Sperryville Corner Store cashier Amy Nash holds up one of the shopping bags decorated by Rappahannock Elementary seventh-grade life science teacher Elaine Kramer’s students with information and pictures of endangered species for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day last Thursday. The store donated the bags a week earlier to the class, which returned them so the store could use them to bag customers’ purchases on Earth Day.
Evening View: Raising a glass to easement donors
The sixth annual Rappahannock Evening View will be held at the James Fletcher Massie family’s Meadow Grove Farm, Saturday May 22. The gala event, with a gourmet dinner and live auction, is sponsored by the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance (RCCA) to recognize landowners who have donated a conservation easement in the last year and to raise funds for the county’s Farmland Preservation Program (FPP).
“Meadow Grove is an ideal setting for this year’s event,’ explains current RCCA President Larry Grove, “in part because of the incredible scenic views, but more importantly, it is a great example of a working family farm that was able to take advantage of funds available for agricultural conservation easements through our county’s Farmland Preservation Program (FPP).”
Last year’s event raised $22,500 for the FPP and brought RCCA’s total donations to $100,000. These funds, which are matched by the state, help farmers like the Massies ensure that their land can remain in agricultural production by providing a financial incentive for an easement donation.
RCCA Executive Director Nathan Jenkins added, “It is a celebration in recognition of these landowners who have recently donated an easement, but it is also an important fundraiser that puts money back into our county, and it does so in a way that attempts to protect the agricultural resources we have here in Rappahannock.”
The evening of celebration and fundraising has also grown to be a popular social event in the county.
“RCCA reaches out to the residents of our county in many ways, but this event is our most successful in raising money for the FPP — all while we enjoy great food and the excitement of the auction,” Grove said.
Tables of 10 are available in three price ranges — $1,500, $2,500, and $5,000 — with individual seating for $150. Prior to the event, RCCA is selling 100 raffle tickets for $100 each. The winner of the raffle will have a choice of a week’s stay in southwest France, an evening of political conversation over dinner with Washington insiders, a week’s stay in Ft. Lauderdale, a premier package at the Castleton Summer Music Festival or a week’s stay in downtown Portland, Maine.
The winning ticket will be drawn after the gala dinner, but the purchaser need not be present to win. The winner’s choice item will then be removed and the remaining items will be auctioned off. Participants in the live auction will have two additional items to bid on: a half of choice beef from Windsor Farm or a week’s stay at Myrtle Beach. Gala attendees will also have the opportunity to bid on dozens of other prizes — from artwork to golf vacations — in RCCA’s silent auction.
“This year’s gala is shaping up to be the largest event ever hosted by RCCA,” says Jenkins. “I am so thankful to the Massies for allowing us to use their farm, to Susan Strittmatter for putting it together, and to all of our donors who work through us to conserve their own little parts of Rappahannock.”
For more information about the Rappahannock Evening View, the RCCA $100/100 Raffle, or to learn more about conservation in Rappahannock, contact the RCCA at 540-987-9118 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rccava.org.