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Garrett County Food

Harvest Hub Group Photo

The Garrett County Harvest Hub, a new program to support local farmers and expand Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) opportunities, is underway.

By Shelley Argabrite, Chief Health Strategist at the Garrett County Health Department

New partnerships are forming to explore every opportunity to help Garrett County residents prevent and manage chronic diseases. There’s an association between lack of access to healthy foods and poor health outcomes like increased rates of death from heart failure. One approach to improving health is building local food infrastructure and increasing access to locally grown and raised food sources. The Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics unit within the Garrett County Health Department has been working for the past two years to establish a more robust, cross-sector, community-based food network. To learn more about our partners, the results we’ve had, and more ways to get involved, please visit GarrettCountyFood.com.  

Our latest competitive grant award is helping us build on the previous infrastructure work and establish a new program called the Garrett County Harvest Hub. Through the program, we can support more local farmers and expand Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) opportunities.

These farmers will provide locally grown meal boxes that serve a family of four (or other combinations capable of producing multiple meals) with instructions on preparing the food, a video link, and a recipe card to serve Garrett County SNAP recipients. 

Larry Tichnell from Ma & Pa’s Country Store said, “We’re looking forward to accepting SNAP/EBT benefits in our store and helping more people afford our local meats and produce through this unique grant program.”

A partnership with the Culinary Program at Southern Garrett High School will allow students to prepare the food with Chef Scardina in an industrial kitchen and video the process. These fun and educational videos will be available on GoGarrettCounty.com as an educational element to the program. 

Agency partnerships are being strengthened to help residents access the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often called SNAP. About 40% of Garrett County eligible households don’t claim food benefits. Food prices continue to climb, and more and more people are experiencing a lack of food or food insecurity. 

The Garrett County Harvest Hub offers a coordinated approach to a complex issue. To join our growing team of innovators who apply fresh approaches to challenging problems, connect with us at GarrettCountyFood.com or reach out to Shelley at [email protected] or 301-501-6161. We are looking for more people who want to be part of the solution. 

Cutline: Pictured left to right: Allison Boyd, Co-owner of Honey Moon Farm, Shelley Argabrite, MA., Director of Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics at the Garrett County Health Department, Larry Tichnell, Co-owner of Ma & Pa’s County Store, and Katherine Dubansky, Co-owner of Backbone Food Farm.

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