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Urban farm bill passes in Montgomery County

(Photo, ABC7)

Charles Koiner is showing off his second home. It’s right next to the one he’s lived in for almost 40 years. But this one grows what we eat.

“At my age, it gives me something to do and sorta keeps me busy,” said Koiner.

The 96-year-old has farmed for most of his life. The work even got him out of fighting in WWII.

On Tuesday, he and his daughter won another battle: to get a tax break.

“It’s gone up to $21,000 a year,” said Lynn Koiner. “I don’t want to have to sell this land. I grew up on a farm,” she said.

They worked with Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker on creating an urban agriculture bill.

“The more we can grow healthy food close by, and reduce the food miles, the greenhouse gas footprint of bringing food from all over and the more we can create an opportunity for local students in an urban environment like Silver Spring to come right here and see where their food comes from,” said Councilman Hucker.

There are safeguards in place that prevent just anyone with a backyard garden from getting a tax break. You have to live within a residential area and 1,000 feet from a Metro stop, and earn at least $5,000 annually from the farm.

The Koiners sell produce from their home and at the FRESHFARM Downtown Silver Spring Market.

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