Thursday, January 21, 2010
2010 MD Dept of Ag Buyer-Grower Event
Today was an exciting day for BaltimoreDIY!
Due to some interesting plans in the works, I managed to rearrange my insane work schedule and attend the 2010 Maryland Buyer-Growing Meeting.
There was an incredible range of Maryland growers represented, from hydroponic lettuce farms to heirloom tomato growers, sustainable seafood purveyors, free-range meat and dairy, beekeepers, and wine distilleries.
What a variety of great local food that can arrive right on our plates without using gallons of oil! And that's just to name a few examples.
For a full list of Maryland's agricultural resources & more information about the event, check out http://www.marylandsbest.net/.
A mix of organic and traditional farms, large providers and individual operations were represented. I mainly checked out farms close to Baltimore City, since it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy food that needs to be shipped across the state. And I talked mainly to integrated pest management farms that avoid spraying chemicals.
It was wonderful meeting so many great folks who are motivated to change the way we treat our soil, water, air, and bodies through the simple act of changing how we eat.
I gave out some of the new BaltimoreDIY business cards, shook hands with Tony Geraci and the Civic Works gentleman in charge of these awesome hoop houses at the Lake Clifton schools, and even met a new Baltimore Foodmaker and writer who can be found at http://chesapeakefoodie.com/.
I also finally met Cathy Tipper in person, which was great since she is the woman in charge of the New Farmer Trainee program I posted about a little while back.
Cathy let me know that the farmer trainee classes are open to the public. Which is great, because I'm unfortunately not able to go through the program because of time constraints and the desire to have my own garden plot this year.
You do have to pay for the classes, but $40 for learning with such knowledgeable folks & a great networking opportunity is definitely worth it to me.
Classes start February 7th, so sign up now! I set up a Google Doc with a list of the course descriptions here: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dhg7c5b5_22ft2gggck
(Which reminds me, if you are interested more in the philosophy of sustainability, making daily changes, and smaller-scale gardening instead of farming, there is also the permaculture workshop series beginning February 13th.)
Here's a brief photo gallery of today's events:
Firefly Farms was the first farm I saw when I walked in. I had previously read about them online when searching for places that distill their own vinegar. I must look more into that again! They had lots of great samples.
Mmm, more samples. This gorgeous trio of frozen strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries served over vanilla ice cream was from a farm right near Columbia.
I've unfortunately left the business card in my car, but hopefully I will have the name up tomorrow. The farmer was the sweetest elderly gentleman ever!
Canned goods for sale.
A friend of mine with an heirloom tomato farm "Arrowhead Farms" in Edgewater.
And a pretty photo of a lighthouse decoration I took because it's been a really long time since I've been in Annapolis or anywhere near the Eastern Shore and I thought it was scenic.
Plus it was overtop the "PA Dutch Farmer's Market" so I thought the theme was somewhat fitting, although I think the store was just a regular market. I'm not sure, I didn't go inside.
And I'm sure that only a small section of Maryland's growers were represented at the event, but it was still a great sampling and a wonderful networking opportunity for everyone interested in changing the cycle of growing, buying, eating, and disposing of food in a healthy way.
I kind of wish I had taken better photos, but that's o.k.
Posted by AlizaEss