Urban Gardening and Help for Hungry People/Food Deserts

A Hood College grant program was celebrated recently for tackling the problem of hunger — also called “food insecurity” — in Frederick County. The program, in its first year and housed under the Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies — seeks to link sponsors and volunteers who help plant and harvest urban gardens with the areas of the county that need them.

Connie Ray, who has coordinated the program, spoke to a recent dinner celebration of the program.

Connie Ray, Food Security Network

Facts Noted at the event:

In Frederick, even though the median income is $90,000, 8% of residents live in poverty and 40% of residents who are not in poverty struggle to provide child care, put food on the table, and pay rent (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed-ALICE).

Emmitsburg, Libertytown, Thurmont, Brunswick and certain areas of Frederick City also fall into the ALICE category.

460 households in the City of Frederick are in what is called a food desert, a geographic area where it is difficult to find quality, fresh food.

This year, they grew 1,500 lbs. of produce that served 400 families in Frederick through their garden partners and volunteer network.

Information about Community Gardens where they are working: click here.

Frederick News Post Article on the program: click here.

A bountiful harvest in areas of Frederick County hungry for fresh produce is a goal of the Food Security Network.

Frederick Food Security Network Wins Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant

 

The Frederick Food Security Network has been selected as a recipient of the Green Street, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the EPA in the amount of $65,136. This grant will allow the expansion of our gardening network to include gardens at the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick and the Islamic Society of Frederick and to expand the existing garden jointly run by Hood & Frederick Memorial Hospital, in addition to other exciting growth. Construction will be under way soon! Stay tuned in the coming months to hear and see more details and look out for lots of upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Each of our partner sites have planted their gardens, and we have already had produce harvested and distributed! Peas were harvested from the Religious Coalition garden and radishes and spinach from the Hood/FMH garden. Produce has been distributed to Religious Coalition clients as well as to the Community Action Agency food pantry and Catoctin senior apartments. Additionally, more than 90 plants started in the Hood greenhouse by student volunteers were transplanted to our four partner gardens this month.

The Religious Coalition garden continues to grow and improve, this month adding a children’s garden bed, a compost container, and its official community open hours. Stop by the Religious Coalition garden during these open hours to help out, learn more about what’s happening there, and bring home produce (produce reserved for low-income Frederick residents).

Cucumber plants thriving at the Religious Coalition garden with the help of some organic fertilizer added by a RCEHN client and garden volunteer.
128 lbs of produce harvested from the Hood/FMH garden was distributed the first week of July.