Calling on all citizens who want local food in local institutions (schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons etc) to
write a letter to Governor Hogan
in support of the Certified Farmer Enterprise Program
– a way to support giving preference to farmers using good nutrient management practices in Maryland when competing to sell to institutions; and
– to show support for work to set up aggregation sites for produce around Maryland.
This is Maryland wide – so circulate to all Maryland friends, families, organizations etc.
The Maryland Food for Maryland Institutions Study Group, established under SB 608 and HB 305 in 2019, has found broad farm business and citizen support throughout Maryland to move ahead on the Certified Farmer Enterprise Program and 2 supporting initiatives, which they proposed in a 12/5/19 letter to Governor Hogan:
1) Two new positions and appropriate outreach/marketing expenses up to a total cost of $250,000 annually for the next 4 years. These positions would sit within the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to serve a newly created office for Certified Local Farmer Enterprise Program up to a total cost of $250,000 annually for the next 4 years.
2) The creation of a Food Aggregation Grant Fund, up to a total cost of $500,000 annually for the next 4 years, to be managed specifically by these new staff of the Certified Local Farmer Enterprise Program.
The two new positions within the Maryland Department of Agriculture would serve a newly created office for the Certified Farmer Enterprise Program to be created during the 2020 Legislative Session. This would mirror the procurement processes similar to those utilized in the MBE Program. Any farm that meets MD Nutrient Management Standards can be certified to participate in the program and can opt in to be on “the list” (no extra paperwork!). This office would establish procurement goals for State and Local Institutions procuring food for the populations they serve.
In addition to the Certified Farmer Enterprise Program, this office would administer the Certified Local Farmer Aggregation Grant Fund, which would support the creation of aggregation and storage points across the state, for the purpose of state purchase for local institutions. We anticipate this grant fund could cover mobile refrigerated trailers, and value – added food processing facilities. It would be up to the new Office to determine the criteria for these grants and the appropriate location for the facilities, considering the geography of food production, proximity to state institutions, and community colleges interested in the culinary and value-added component of training.
It is important to note that this is NOT a capital request specific to any counties. The program is intended to benefit the health, environment and economy of the entire state. For example, programs such as the following, could benefit from the increased demand of state procurement and the availability of grants to support their expansion:
• The aggregation facility currently being developed by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission
• A potential local agriculture – culinary education partnership that could support culinary programs like that currently being developed in the Regional Higher Education Center in Washington County
• A potential dairy / cheese collection and processing center in Central Maryland
• An expansion of the work of farming for Hunger beyond Southern Maryland
• Multiple mobile refrigeration collection points across the state in a proximity to state institutions and community colleges.
Please WRITE A LETTER to Governor Hogan to SUPPORT THE Certified Farmer Enterprise Program and the necessary budget request – and include why this program important to YOU!
- Address your letter or email to The Honorable Larry Hogan
- Email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail it to: 100 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925
- Please include “SUBJECT: Certified Local Farmer Enterprise Program” in your email or letter and cc all of the following:
FOR UPDATES: Senator Fry Hester’s and Delegate Charkoudian’s offices will keep us posted, and we will share information with you.
If you missed the 12/3/19 Listening Session at Winchester Hall and want to learn more get in touch (email@example.com) and we can share the presentation, delivered by Senator Fry Hester, Delegate Charkoudian and Don Darnall, Director, Maryland Food Center.