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Highlights from SMADC’s Annual Report

Highlights from SMADC’s Annual Report

As 2017 comes to a close and we begin to reflect, we come to see how much we have accomplished here at SMADC this year. 2017 was a year of transition and growth for SMADC, and we want to thank all of the farmers, agribusiness, and industry partners that have helped us grow and expand! SMADC’s FY’17 report was released in early November sporting a stylish new look with a professionally printed magazine-type format designed by Jamie Tiralla of All…

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Final word- “It all turns on affection!”

Final word- “It all turns on affection!”

After working at Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) for almost four years, I am heading back to Calvert County to serve as executive director of the American Chestnut Land Trust. I use my last blog post to provide my perspective on farming in Maryland. First, I will confess that I was wrong about farming when I was involved in land preservation in Calvert for 32 years. I used to say that if you preserve land, then there will be farmers who…

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Is America ready for “share-farm”?

Is America ready for “share-farm”?

We have all seen the trend toward larger farms, especially for commodity crops, dairy and large-scale poultry operations. Closely related to that trend is the loss of younger farmers, particularly in the types of farm sectors that require major investments to start. Simply said, if you don’t inherit a large-scale operation, you can’t afford to buy the farm, or even the equipment to farm. The logical, long-term outcome of those trends is either corporate ownership of all such farms or…

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Buy Local Challenge Week continues to grow customers!

Buy Local Challenge Week continues to grow customers!

Seven years ago, it started as a way to create markets for Southern Maryland farmers who had transitioned out of tobacco and into food/drink production. Quickly it morphed into a statewide Buy Local Challenge Week. As it matures, the event is serving as a celebration of accomplishments in the resourcing of locally produced food in Maryland. This year, perhaps the biggest celebration was at the Governor’s residence in Annapolis where Governor Hogan welcomed hundreds of happy grazers of offerings from…

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Food hub workshop yields a bountiful crop of ideas

Food hub workshop yields a bountiful crop of ideas

Next to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wallace Center, Winrock International knows more about food hubs than any other organization in the country. One program of the Center is the National Good Food Network which regularly holds webinars about food hubs. The USDA often supports the Wallace Center in its research and workshops on food hubs.   Understandably, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission was thrilled to co-sponsor a workshop held at The Vineyards at Dodon last week with the Wallace Center…

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Beginning farmer scales up sustainably, buying and leasing equipment

Beginning farmer scales up sustainably, buying and leasing equipment

By Priscilla Wentworth and Greg Bowen The new generation of farmers are resourceful. Our latest case in point is Michael Protas of One Acre Farm in Montgomery County. We learned of his operation because of a farm tour arranged by Future Harvest CASA about Scaling Up Sustainably. Like most beginning farmers today, Michael started with a desire to farm, but no farm background and no land. Mike started by volunteering on a farm near College Station, Pennsylvania, where he developed a passion…

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Charles County Schools to bring local produce into the cafeteria

Charles County Schools to bring local produce into the cafeteria

By Cia Morey, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Last week, between thunderstorms here in Southern Maryland, I attended a meeting the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) hosted for local farmers. This was a pre-bid meeting to learn about an opportunity to sell local fresh produce to Charles County schools. CCPS has prepared an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the 2015-2016 school year. Maryland’s Farm to School Week this year is September 14-18, 2015. During this week, schools try and serve…

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Pollinating the local economy to grow jobs and prosperity

Pollinating the local economy to grow jobs and prosperity

Consumer demand is changing the U.S. food industry and local economies can take advantage of consumer demand for less processed fresh and local foods. A National Good Food Network webinar last week highlighted some ways to grow the local economy. Rather than simply attracting another region’s businesses and retaining the ones you have, Michael Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution, suggests that local governments and nonprofits should: (1) Maximize local ownership. (2) Maximize local self-reliance. (3) Spread models of…

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Walking-the-walk for Buy Local Challenge Week!

Walking-the-walk for Buy Local Challenge Week!

When Buy Local Challenge Week began 7 years ago, it was a challenge to find enough locally sourced food to feed yourself. No more. Aside from a few condiments, consumers can find a well-rounded diet. A locavore in Maryland can find a wide selection of meats and dairy year around. We can find a broad selection of seasonally grown fruits and vegetables, though it is next to impossible find locally sourced strawberries in the winter months! To extend variety and supply…

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Working to expand opportunities for Maryland farmers

Working to expand opportunities for Maryland farmers

In the past six months, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s Rural Economies Workgroup has been exploring how Maryland can advance a wide variety of rural business ventures. On June 4th, the focus was on food production, aggregation and distribution. The hope of many Maryland farmers is to gain more access to institutional, restaurant and retail markets. Members of the Food and Food Production subcommittee, including representatives of state departments, Maryland Farm Bureau, MARBIDCO and others, assembled at the Coastal Sunbelt facility…

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