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Agricultural Business Park and
Food Innovation Center -- Initial Concept

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A recurring request by farmers in our region has been to have a centralized, multi-purpose facility that would handle food processing and distribution, new farmer incubation, meat and seafood processing, warehouse space and more. The proposed Agricultural Business Park and Food Innovation Center, currently in the planning/procurement stage, is in response to those requests and will move the region into a new era in agriculture profitability.

Each component is intended to synergistically build on the programs that SMADC and partners have put in place since the Tobacco Buyout.

Center Highlights:

  • Food innovation center: Our produce farmers have asked for a commercially inspected kitchen for processing value-added products and developing a regional branded product. This will also enable start-ups to create value-added products like salsas, jams, pies, etc. from local farm foods and access even wider markets.
  • Food Distribution: New and beginning farmers have requested assistance with distribution to help grow and expand their markets. Not surprisingly, most institutions and retailers find it inefficient to purchase from many different farms, and prefer to streamline their purchasing to a few clients. The Ag and Food Center is designed to process and aggregate farm products for retail and wholesale accounts
  • Farm Incubation: land with sufficient space to “incubate” five small operations for new and beginning farmers to start initial businesses (crops and livestock), with opportunities for learning, cross-marketing and training.
  • Aquaculture processing. (As the industry emerges.)
  • Market: If the site is suitable, a year-round indoor farmers’ market/store, cafĂ©/deli and/or outdoor farmer’s market
  • Warehouse: Flex cold-storage warehouse design with sort, pack and repack capability

Benefits to farmers and the community: The Center should increase the region’s capacity to meet consumer demand for locally produced foods and create new jobs for the region.

The Center will make it more efficient for farmers to aggregate and distribute local food, and help our farmers and food businesses gain better access to the $26 billion food market in the DC-Baltimore metro region. Ideally, creating a centrally located site (or series of sites) with these multiple uses will allow businesses to share assets, personnel, training, cross marketing, and more.

 

 

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If you would like to keep up-to-date with the progress of this facility, follow SMADC on Twitter or Facebook.

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Read more about SMADC's role in healthy communities:
[the crop hop] [Maryland Food Map] [So. MD Food Council] [hub/spoke]

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Read more about all of these SMADC programs:

[So. Maryland, So Good] [Southern Maryland Meats]
[Buy Local Challenge] [Maryland Farmlink]
[Southern Maryland Trails] [Cornelia and the Farm Band]

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