Nick Maravell has been farming in Maryland for more than 30 years and is a steadfast supporter in the local and organic farming communities. His operation, Nick's Organic Farm, encompasses a 165-acre certified organic farm near Buckeystown, MD and their home plus a few acres in suburban Potomac, MD.
From 1980 to 2012, Nick also organically farmed a 20-acre plot of land leased from Montgomery County public schools adjacent to our home along Brickyard Road, but that land recently reverted to the school system and currently is not being used for any purpose. In 2012 the site was operated as the Brickyard Educational Farm by Nick's daughter, Sophia Maravell. For more information about their ongoing efforts to preserve this educational resource that has been in organic production for over thirty years, visit: savethissoil.org.
Managing his pastures under rotational grazing, Maravell produces 100% grass-fed Angus beef. He also raises certified organic pastured chickens and turkeys, sells certified organic eggs from his free range hens, and grows edible soybeans, grain soybeans, field corn and barley. He makes various types of hay and raises organic seed stock for heirloom corn, vegetable soybean and cover crop seeds as well. In addition, Nick adds value to his products by processing his own poultry on the farm and by grinding his grains and selling certified organic poultry feed, organic hay and baleage.
With an easy laugh and a friendly demeanor, Maravell has steadfastly worked to bring the sustainable/organic farming community together, while also linking farmers and consumers interested in sustainable and organic methods, all in an effort to bring these standards to the forefront. As such, he was a founding member of the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association in 1989, the Maryland Small Farm Cooperative in 1996, and Future Harvest CASA itself in 1998.
In addition to his work with the farming community, Maravell has also cooperated with researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center since the early 1980s, conducting ongoing on farm research. Due to his involvement with research, Nick is also called to serve on peer review panels reviewing organic research proposals.
With so much experience behind him, it was not surprising when Maravell was appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in September 2010 to a five-year term on the National Organic Standards Board. Charged with making recommendations and defining standards for “certified organic,” the 15-member board includes four organic producers. In summarizing the main objective of his NOSB tenure, Maravell says: "I am concerned that the original intent of the organic law is carried out so consumers have full confidence that the products they are buying are produced in an organic way." Maravell, who has been bucking the system since the 1970s -- back when “organic farming was usually viewed as a backward hippie, counter culture cult which would lead to world starvation,” as he puts it – has exactly the kind of experience and vision that the NOSB needs to meet this challenge.