Blog

April 8th, 2016

New partnership between MDFMA and Calvert Farm creates unique giving opportunity for CSA members.

by Shelley Brosius

Baltimore, MD – Apr. 8, 2016

The 2016 summer farmers market season is about to get underway, bringing visions of farmers market stands overflowing with lush greens, rustic root vegetables, artisanal cheeses and yogurt, and freshly baked breads. However, for some Maryland families such bounty can seem unattainable.

Despite being one of the wealthiest states in the nation, Maryland suffers significant rates of food insecurity and hunger. One in eight Maryland families – or over 750,000 Maryland residents – are food insecure. These some 750,000 Maryland residents face the threat of hunger daily, and it impacts their health and quality of life. Federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), and Women, Infants, & Children Fruit and Vegetable Checks (WIC FVC) provide many families with the ability to lessen hunger by providing a means to buy food. But these families often still struggle to fill the meal gap despite receiving these benefits.

Maryland Farmers Market Association’s (MDFMA) Maryland Market Money program provides these families with additional purchasing power by offering up to $5 in matching funds when they use federal nutrition benefits such as SNAP, FMNP, and WIC FVC at participating farmers markets. Maryland Market Money is made possible through privately raised funds, and MDMFA has teamed up with Calvert Farm to provide a unique opportunity for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members to help feed these families in need.

Calvert Farm CSA subscribers can now pay for their shares online and also chip in a little extra to help grow the Maryland Market Money pot of funding. While some farms donate CSA shares to food banks or other emergency food providers, this is a new and direct way for them to support the Maryland Market Money program – which provides farm fresh food to those who most need it.

Calvert Farm first learned of the Maryland Market Money through their stands at participating markets such as State Center Farmers Market in downtown Baltimore. Farmer Pam Stegall Roberts noted that the program not only benefited customers by providing additional income but farmers as well – those extra dollars were being spent directly with local producers. Calvert Farm generously offered to support the program via this innovative CSA donation. The hope is to grow the giving campaign among other Maryland CSA farmers and build a movement that strengthens the local farming economy while putting more food on the table for Maryland families who need it most.

Calvert Farm operates a 20-week CSA with several drop sites through Maryland and Delaware. The season starts mid-May, and they are still accepting members. The CSA program is an affordable way to get great local, sustainably-grown produce direct from a farm that has been growing quality produce for over 20 years. Sign up online at www.CalvertFarm.com or email Farmer Pam at farmer@calvertfarm.com for more information.

About the Author Shelley Brosius

Shelley joined MDFMA in late 2015 after having dabbled a bit in agroforestry, community gardening, urban farming, and farmers market saleswomanship both domestically and abroad. Her favorite Maryland farmers market finds are young ginger and baby arugula...which are coincidentally also her two favorite things to harvest!