Governor Moore, Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks, and others join together to announce new efforts to connect local agriculture with Maryland food banks.
Governor Wes Moore joined with federal and state leaders to unveil two Maryland Department of Agriculture initiatives to establish new market connections between farmers, watermen, and Maryland food banks. Funding for both the federal Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program and Maryland Food and Agricultural Program will help provide Marylanders in need with fresh local food.
According to the press release:
“Hunger is a West Baltimore issue and a West Annapolis issue – it’s an Eastern Shore issue and a Western Maryland issue – it’s a Washington suburbs issue and Baltimore suburbs issue,” said Gov. Moore. “These two programs share the same goal: to build resiliency in our food system and connect farmers to food banks that help our fellow Marylanders in need. We don’t need to choose between supporting our agricultural sector and fighting hunger: we can and must do both simultaneously.”
“These initiatives will address hunger and connect rural and urban communities in the common purpose of feeding our state,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “We are so proud that the Maryland Department of Agriculture is at the center of these initiatives.”
Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Service, the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program provides Maryland with $6.1 million for 2023-2024 to fund the purchase of local food from Maryland farmers and watermen. The grants will be directly distributed to each food bank.
The Maryland Food Bank will receive nearly $4 million, the Capital Area Food Bank will receive over $2 million, with $500,000 set aside to purchase blue catfish, an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next two years, the Capital Area Food Bank alone is projected to produce over 2 million meals over the next two years.
Agriculture is a central industry in the majority of Maryland’s counties. If sustained this program can help ensure local farmers have easy access to local markets and that more food is directed to those most in need.
Moore was joined by Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks, Department of Human Services Principal Deputy Secretary Carnitra White, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers, representatives from both the Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank and Maryland farmers, watermen and seafood company representatives at a press conference this morning to announce the two programs.