I’ll bet you may not have known:
*That more of our farm production in Frederick County goes to commodity crops than produce and local restaurants and consumers?
*That 90% of the food consumed in our county comes from outside Frederick County?
*That Frederick County Public Schools nutritionists must plan menus weeks in advance due to complicated federal nutritional guidelines, making it really hard to react to local crop and growing conditions for local produce?
*That kids just won’t eat sweet potatoes if they aren’t used to getting them at home? (which most don’t these days!)
These are just some of the challenges Frederick County’s first Food Council is tackling.
The group has been meeting since spring, and is looking at:
*How to get more produce from “local” sources (which may need to be redefined more broadly than just Frederick County due to the low quantity of fruits and vegetables grown here now);
*How to connect need for food (outside of local food banks, which have been the source until now) with food that is being thrown away
*How to connect local farmers and large buyers to make it economically attractive for Frederick County’s farmers to grow fruits and vegetables
The first big project of the Food Policy Council, under the banner of Community F.A.R.E. (Food Access Resources & Education), a local non-profit dedicated to promote local food to ensure biodiversity, farmland preservation and a connection to local food sources for local consumers.
The groups first project is a Farm to School grant from the US Department of Agriculture. It pairs Community FARE and the Frederick County Public Schools to bring local fresh food to five Title I elementary schools in Frederick—Lincoln, Waverley, Monocacy, Hillcrest and North Frederick. It will focus on connecting farmers as potential suppliers; aligning nutritious habits in already existing curriculum; and encouraging school gardens. “Kids don’t understand where our food is coming from; when they grow it, they will eat it,” said Alysia Feurer, the grant manager..
Community FARE is looking for parents and local citizens to serve on an advisory group for the grant. If you are interested, contact Alysia here.
There are other focus groups of the Food Council that have met a few times to discuss various polkcy issues, and are looking for more members and leaders: Agricultural Economics, Local Food Access and Food Education.
For more info click here.