FARE was established to help safeguard a diverse and healthy local food economy that will preserve farmland integrity and biodiversity and ensure that food grown here is accessible to residents of Frederick County and its regional neighbors. Community FARE works locally – but is linked with many amazing colleagues within the National Good Food Network, the Chesapeake Foodshed Network and Future Harvest CASA (Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture). Together we are working to grow food that leaves our soils healthier, our water and air cleaner, our farmers more productive and financially stable, our local economies stronger and our people eating better food. Please sign up to receive our newsletter and join this community effort (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Read Community FARE’s 2018 Annual Review and Report for a summary of our work and intentions.
Many of today’s industrial agriculture practices damage our soil, air, water, and ecosystems. Linked to this industrialized food system there are very challenging social and economic issues that impact community sustainability, such as obesity, ill health, increased rates of cancer, petroleum based (and green house gas emitting) long distance hauling of goods, and the competitive edge in subsidies and quantity sales available to the conventional large-scale farmers.
To address these issues, growing attention is being given to building wholesale and direct marketing channels for farmers, and customer access for local food grown on small to medium sized farms promoting environmentally sustainable production practices. Moreover doing this creates new jobs, fosters business development, brings new food products to local markets and attracts younger farmers to a profession that will provide a healthy, satisfying and lucrative future.
Community FARE is dedicated to promoting sustainable food production in our region and bringing healthy food to our local markets. Read more .
Community FARE intends to review local ordinances governing the installation of a food aggregation and distribution center, as well as ordinances that have supported farm to institution elsewhere to determine the most favorable policies for supporting more local food production, aggregation, distribution and access. We advocate for keeping more of our food dollars home to support our local economy.
How does one approach scaling up local food systems so that our communities benefit by nutritious and fresh foods, and producers (and rural families on the farms) benefit financially by greater profits?
According to several successful Food Hub start-ups, the process begins by doing a “Community Food Assessment”; that is, creating a dialogue with the community of producers and potential markets to answer specific questions about the market and growers.
In 2014 a group representing non-profit, government and the food production and sales business launched a Community Food Assessment to assess the drivers and impediments to more local food production, aggregation, distribution and consumption. Thanks to Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center for leading that effort. A survey was sent out to over 200 farmers in Washington, Carroll and Frederick Counties (read survey questions here). With limited funds we chose to reach out to farms selling local and or are organic, but welcomed others! On March 18th Fox Haven sponsored a meeting in their Dairy Parlor to present the survey results and discuss needs for a food aggregation/distribution and marketing center for our region, here are the minutes from that meeting.. The following are presentations from the March 18th meeting:
- Grower Community Food Assessment
- Growing Market Opportunity for Maryland Agriculture
- Co Packing Plant and Food Hub
- Hospitals for a Healthy Environment
- Frederick Food Hub Feasibility Analysis
Community FARE is poised to continue with the community food assessment to research the potential markets in our region.
The National Good Food Network is a fantastic resource for those interested in value based supply chains for food. Take a look at their educational webinars. Here are some select documents pulled from their resource library:
- A Practitioner’s Guide to Resources and Publications on Food Hubs and Values-Based Supply Chains: A Literature Review
- Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains
- National Good Food Network: Food Hub Center
The Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN) is made up of organizations, agencies, and individuals from across sectors and interests working throughout the Chesapeake watershed to build a stronger and more resilient food system. Check out their coffee talks and more, get on their mailing list.