Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.

Protecting the Land that Sustains Us

aka MCA   |   Poolesville, MD   |


Advocate for land use and transportation policies that enhance agriculture and land preservation.  
Educate about the environmental, economic and recreational benefits of local farmland and local food. 
Support local farms to strengthen our rural economy.
Celebrate the beauty and abundance of the Ag Reserve.
Conserve the economic value and rural landscape of the Ag Reserve for current and future generations of the region.

Notes from the nonprofit

MCA is a lean, award winning organization with a track record of victories for our family farmers and the residents of Montgomery County- we would be honored to have your support. Annual memberships that fuel our work all year start at just $25.

Ruling year info



Ms. Lee Langtaff

Main address

PO Box 24

Poolesville, MD 20837 USA

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Formerly known as

Solutions Not Sprawl



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

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This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


As an advocacy organization, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc. has three program areas: support of farmers, education and advocacy. Through our educational activities, we raise awareness among county residents on the importance of agriculture and farmland. As advocates for this rural area, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance encourages citizens to contact their elected officials on important land use and transportation issues. Through public testimony, legislative monitoring, grassroots mobilization, public education and coalition building, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc. builds awareness and encourages action. We support farmers through programs that promote agriculture not just a continuing way of life in Montgomery County but also a a career- focusing on profitability and better connectivity for both new and old farmers.

Population(s) Served

Land Link is a means to help new and expanding farmers find land for long term lease or other stable arrangement that encourages the viability of farms. Land in Montgomery County is often too pricey for new farmers but like much of the nation the average age of farmers is 57. We are seeking creative partnerships between farmers and landowners to grow the new farms that will in turn grow our region's food. Learn more at new matches will also be announced on the site, or see the 'impact" section of our Guidestar profile for more information.

Population(s) Served

Re-Leaf is our program to accelerate afforestation and reforestation in support of Montgomery's County's Climate Change Response Plan. In Montgomery County, any trees that must be cut down in the course of development that can't be replanted on the site incur a fee. The proceeds from this fee fund tree plantings elsewhere. MCA is proud to partner with the Montgomery County Planning Department on this program to identify landowners in the Ag Reserve that would like to give these trees a home, particularly along streams. A "Reserve Re-leaf" - if you will. These new forested areas will fall under forest conservation easements - protecting the new plantings - and the streams they help stabilize in perpetuity.

Population(s) Served

MCA engages in the following activities to support farmers:
- Our Producers Listserve - connecting local farmers to share know how, equipment and build community.
-Our BIPOC Farmers Resource Guide - in partnership with the County Office of Agriculture, an effort to share local resources and overcome barriers to viable local farms disproportionately impacting farmers of color.
- Farmer Summits - we gather local farmers together to discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions - often involving local decision makers.
-Through our website, social media and partnership with PLENTY magazine we promote local farms to consumers.
-We are pushing for more local support of land access and training opportunities for beginning producers.

Population(s) Served

MCA is a tenacious and collaborative advocate for clean water, vibrant working farms and forests. We urge caution on proposed zoning changes that would have unintended impacts on local farms and the quality of our shared natural resources by:
- providing written or in person testimony for an average of 22 land use/legislative proposals per year at both the local and state level.
- educating and activating our supporters to speak up for environmental protections. Our action alerts reach over 9000 supporters through our email list and social media presence.
- founding the Friends of Ten Mile Creek and Little Seneca Reservoir - an organization dedicated to protecting the region's back up water supply relied upon by 4.6 million.
-proactively engaging to strengthen conservation laws and master plan updates with respectful, informed advocacy.

Population(s) Served

Our education program has brought agriculture and environmental advocacy to life for over 1500 high school students by partnering with four local schools to bring farmers into classrooms and students out to farms and water quality monitoring sites.

The Ride for the Reserve has brought hundreds of cyclists out to cycle the Reserve’s designated Rustic Roads each fall for the past 13 years. Routes from 6 to 62 miles bring all types of riders to visit farm stops and enjoy a picnic.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


2011-2012 Honoree "One of the Best" Small Nonprofits in Greater DC 2011

Catalogue For Philanthropy - Greater Washington

2015-2016 Honoree "one of the best" small nonprofits in Greater DC 2015

Catalogue for Philanthropy

2019-2020 Honoree "one of the best" small nonprofits in Greater DC 2019

Catalogue for Philanthropy

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

-Montgomery County's Ag Reserve maintained as a "working landscape" . The Reserve must fulfill its potential and promise as a viable community to farms on the edge of a growing metro region.
-Increased local food production and distribution
-Agriculture preserved as a way of life and a career
-New farm ventures started and stable for the long term.
-Local students educated about the importance of farms and local food
-Protected water resources

At Montgomery Countryside Alliance, our activities could be summed up in two words: "We Connect". MCA is a lean organization but we compound our strength by building coalitions and partnerships with other organizations and facilitate connections between existing resources of complementary strengths; landowners with new farmers, farmers with institutions, students with a 93,000 acre classroom, residents with healthy local food, and the farming sector with new solutions they have been clamoring for. We achieve our goals with the following programs and initiatives:

Farmer Support:
- Our Producers Listserve and Annual Producers Summits build community- both online with our listserve community of more than 100 local farmers, farm market managers and local food advocates and in person as we gather each year to discuss impediments to local farm profitability.

-Our Land Link program came out of one of those Producers Summits. When farmers were asked to identify the hurdles to starting or expanding farms- the exorbitant price of land was at the top of the list. Land Link connects landowners offering long term leases with new and expanding farmers looking for acreage.

-We helped found the New Farm Pilot program in partnership with the County government- an effort to grow the next generation of small scale table crop producers and plant them in Montgomery County. Small front end investment has yielded new businesses that will strengthen the local economy.

-Once productive land is developed- it will never be farmed again. We advocate against zoning changes that would take land out of production or uses that compete with the purpose of the Ag Reserve- which is farming.

- We protect our shared water resources for future generations. MCA is a founding member of the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition- protecting the County's last best stream (part of the back-up water supply for 4.3 Million in the metro area) from the degradation caused by poorly planned development. We also advocate for protection of the Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer- the only source of water for more than 10,000 MoCo residents.

- We educate decision makers, students and residents about the value of farmland close to population centers, the benefits, both health, economic and social of consuming local food, and the importance of conserving clean water and open space on Metro's edge. We do this through our social media, website, e-newsletter and outreach events- along with publications like our Explore Guide- available at local Whole Foods Market locations.

-We are reaching out directly to students with an Agriculture Education Pilot program that will bring the farm to the classroom and students to local farms.

-Our film "Growing Legacy" profiling the farmers and residents of the Reserve has won fans and awards locally and brought the wonder of the Reserve nationally and internationally.

MCA is a lean, award winning organization with more than a decade of service to Montgomery County's residents, farms and open space. In 2011 and 2015, the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy called MCA "one of the best" nonprofits in the region. In 2012 we were honored with the Montgomery Civic Federation's Wayne Goldstien Award for excellent service to county residents.

The work of MCA is handled by 2 dedicated staff members, a cadre of volunteers and interns and our talented board of directors. In 2011 we convened an Advisory Committee of local luminaries representing farmers, civic leaders, academics, business owners and residents to give us feedback on how to best use our resources to achieve our goals.

Our thoughtful, respectful- but tenacious when necessary- engagement on issues of agriculture and our environment has garnered us a newsletter list of more than 7000 local residents with better than industry average open rates.

Land Link:
Since starting the program in 2011 we have matched 400 acres for a total of 19 matches. That means 19 new or expanded farm ventures are contributing to the local economy and local food supply. These matches represent diverse businesses- everything from a persimmon orchard to forested acreage for ginseng.

To see more recent milestones- check out our blog post, "What has MCA Done For Me Lately?"

Or check out our 2015 year in review:

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/13/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Michael Rubin

MDR Capital

Tom Leedy

Retired, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Jean Findlay

Retired, Health and Human Services

Jim O'Connell

Former Chairman of Maryland Environmental Trust

Michael Rubin

MDR Capital

William Sheehan

Goodwin Procter LLP

Anne Davies

Lee Langstaff

Shepherd's Hey Farm

Carole Bergmann

MoCo Parks

Martin Radigan


Tom Hartsock

UMD School of Ag

Tanya Spandhala

Farmer, Passion to Seed Gardening

Jason Rizkallah

McLean Asset Management

Diana Conway

Community Activist

Vicki Capone

ReMax Agent

Joe Long


Kenny Sholes

Ag Reserve Historian

Bob Wilbur

Retired Professor, San Diego State

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/30/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/02/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.