2022 marks the 15th Anniversary of The Buy Local Challenge, a statewide initiative created by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), promoted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, which encourages all Marylanders to pledge their support for local farms and producers by choosing to buy and enjoy Maryland grown and produced farm products every day during Buy Local Week (July 22 through July 31, 2022).
“Now, more than ever it’s important to support our local farms and the folk who grow our food,” commented Shelby Watson-Hampton, SMADC Director. “Throughout the pandemic, Maryland farms have been working hard to keep farmers markets and farm stands stocked and many have formed collaborations with national organizations and major grocery chains to ensure greater access to fresh locally raised foods for all Marylanders.”
To honor the 15th Anniversary of Buy Local Challenge ‘Buy Local Week’, SMADC is hosting a free public Celebration event at Serenity Farm in Charles County, on Monday, August 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. “We invite families, friends, kids, and adults across the region to come to enjoy a fun evening and show their support for Maryland’s farmers, producers, and artisans by shopping, sipping, and savoring the amazing products they offer,” said Watson-Hampton.
The family-friendly Celebration will be set up like a ‘farmers market’ with more than 50 Maryland vendors of farm-raised meats, cheese, produce, flowers, seafood, baked goods, jams and pickles, honey, farm-made soaps and scents, local arts and crafts, and artisanal beverages from Maryland’s wineries, distilleries, and breweries. Plus, six Local area food trucks will be on-site with a variety of menus to suit all tastes to purchase. Admission is FREE and includes complimentary insulated shopping totes, local beef and oyster tastings, a free raffle with vendor donated prizes, live music by ‘FLYT’, carriage rides with the ‘Suttler Post Farm Clydesdales’, kid’s ‘Mary’s Go Round Pony Rides’, and visits with Serenity Farm Petting Pen animals – all at no cost.
The Buy Local Challenge website at www.buylocalchallenge.com offers many more Buy Local Week opportunities and resources for Marylanders to shop and celebrate Maryland’s farms and food – links and directories to farmers’ markets and farm stands around the state, delicious farm-fresh recipes, a video cookery class series and fun BLC ‘Take the Pledge’ competitions to win prizes.
Throughout July look out for Maryland Market Money (MMM) “Buy Local Bonus Bucks” promotion (an extra $5 incentive plus the MMM match) for all customers shopping with Federal Nutrition Benefits during Buy Local Week at participating MMM Markets. And find free bright turquoise signature BLC shopping bags (limited quantities) at Southern Maryland region Farmers Markets.
To register for free Buy Local Challenge Celebration tickets (Ticket Registration required limited to 1,000 guests), and find full event details, plus statewide Buy Local Week resources at BuyLocalChallenge.com.
The Buy Local Challenge 15th Anniversary Celebration is sponsored in part by Platinum Sponsors: Charles County Department of Economic Development, Charles County Tourism. Gold Sponsors: Calvert County Department of Economic Development, Destination Southern Maryland, MARBIDCO. Silver Sponsors: Farm Heritage Conservancy, Maryland Department of Agriculture and ‘Maryland’s Best Seafood’, My Mustard Seed LLC, Rural Maryland Council.