Edible DC: It’s A Dirty Business–and He Loves It
From Edible DC by Lani Furbank:
“Soil is the sustainer of life,” says Steve Darcey. Throughout history, “the civilizations that destroyed their soil destroyed themselves.”
That’s why Darcey, a fourth-generation farmer born and raised in Prince George’s County, has spent nearly all his life protecting soil. In the 1950s, his family grew tobacco and had a herd of cattle on their farm in Upper Marlboro, MD. Today, he still tends that soil–growing corn, soybeans, wheat and straw.
Darcey, 60, started at the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District in 1986 as an entry level engineer, eventually working his way up to District Manager in 2013. Through it all, he’s never wanted to leave his hometown or stray from farming. “My love is the land,” he says. “I have a really hard time ever thinking about parting from that farm.”
Today, Darcey splits his time between the farm and the soil conservation district, where he and his team work to implement soil and water conservation practices on farms and in urban communities. “Everybody uses soil,” he says. “If they live in an apartment, guess what: The soil is providing support for that building. As they play in the playgrounds, maintain small gardens or play golf, everybody is using the soil.”
As the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District prepares to launch a new program focusing on urban agriculture conservation, we sat down with Steve Darcey to ask him about the past, present and future of soil.
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