State Senator, Community Groups Look to Tackle Food Insecurity and Stimulate Ag Economy

Maryland State Senator Katie Fry Hester and community organizations such as the the Howard County Farm Bureau, Howard County Food Bank, Maryland Food Bank, and Howard County 4-H Extension are partnering to launch the Grow It Forward Fund.

The Fund will be supported by a campaign aimed at meeting the needs of food-insecure communities while supporting local farmers. The partnership expects to supply local food pantries with 80,000 pounds of locally produced food and hopes to raise $100,000 by August.

How the program will operate:

  • Maryland Food Bank volunteers glean local fields of participating farmers for any leftover produce.
  • Local farmers with high tunnels and greenhouses contract with Howard County Food Bank to grow specific crops for harvest in the fall and winter months.
  • Teams of students (such as those with 4H and Future Farmers of America) will engage in projects, raising egg-laying chickens, for instance, to support food banks.
  • Local Restaurants process and preserve excess food product for future use.

From the Community Foundation of Howard County:

“I’ve been working on our State Institutions to buy local food for the past two years, because it has a multi-dimensional return: it’s good for our health, environment, economy – and it makes us more resilient,” said state Senator Katie Fry Hester, who serves district 9 which includes large parts of Howard and Carroll counties. “In addition to these benefits, the Grow It Forward campaign brings our community together during these challenging times to help farmers and Marylanders struggling with food security –while giving our students a valuable experience. It really is a win for everyone!”

Click here for more information and to learn how to participate.