Jobs and Local Food Systems Tour Showcases Training and Education Programs in Appalachian Maryland
|ARC's July 2013 Jobs and Local Food Systems Tour in Appalachian Maryland included a visit to Frostburg State University's "Grow It Local" greenhouse, an innovative greenhouse and shade house complex built on strip-mined land that provides training to community members in growing produce and tree seedlings. In addition to its environmental goals, the Grow It Local program aims to create permanent, sustainable jobs. (Photo by Guy Land/ARC)|
ARC's ongoing Jobs and Local Food Systems Tour continued with a visit to Appalachian Maryland July 25–26, highlighting a range of the state's culinary and agricultural education and training programs, as well as agricultural businesses and farms. The Maryland visit was ARC's ninth in the Appalachian states through the tour since March, examining the potential of local food systems to create economic opportunity and grow jobs.
The tour began July 25 with a visit to the Downtown Cumberland Farmers Market on the city's downtown pedestrian mall, where Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim and other city officials led a discussion on the role the market has played in both the downtown's revitalization and the broader local economy.
|ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl (second from left) and city and state officials visited the Downtown Cumberland Farmers Market to discuss the market's role in the local economy. (Photo by Guy Land/ARC)|
ARC officials then visited the Allegany College of Maryland's Culinaire Café in downtown Cumberland, a full-service restaurant that gives the college's culinary-arts students hands-on experience in all facets of restaurant management, including purchasing, food preparation, marketing, and service. The tour continued at the Evergreen Heritage Center in Mount Savage—a provider of environmental and experiential education programs for area K–12 school and colleges—for an overview of its environmental wellness program. The program teaches youths how to grow and harvest food and how to use natural resources sustainably to help preserve the environment.
Tour participants also visited Northern Garrett High School in Accident, Maryland, for a briefing on its award-winning agriculture program, in which students learn how to grow produce and raise pork that is used in the school cafeteria. The stop was followed by a tour of a successful and growing cheese creamery in Accident.
Destinations on July 26 included Frostburg State University's "Grow It Local" greenhouse, an innovative greenhouse and shade house complex built on strip-mined land that provides training to community members in growing produce and tree seedlings. In addition to its environmental goals, the Grow It Local program aims to create permanent, sustainable jobs and new job opportunities; reduce food insecurity; and provide healthy food to area residents.
In Oakland, officials visited a family-owned produce farm and a private plant-breeding company that breeds fruit and flower species for clients' varietal-improvement programs.
ARC launched the Appalachian Jobs and Local Food Systems Tour in Asheville, North Carolina, on March 20 at a conference of the Appalachia Funders Network, an informal association of national, regional, and local foundations that has identified local food systems as a priority for funding. The tour has since then included visits to South Carolina, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, in addition to Maryland. An early-August visit to Pennsylvania is planned.