In an effort to provide fresh, local food to Marylanders in need, Governor Wes Moore has announced two new initiatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The programs will establish market connections between farmers, watermen, and Maryland food banks, providing funding for both the federal Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program and Maryland Food and Agricultural Program.

Credit: Office of the Governor of Maryland

“Hunger is a West Baltimore issue and a West Annapolis issue – it’s an Eastern Shore issue and a Western Maryland issue – it’s a Washington suburbs issue and Baltimore suburbs issue,” said Gov. Moore at a press conference joined by representatives from the Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank, Maryland farmers, watermen, and seafood company representatives, as well as officials from the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Department of Human Services.

“These two programs share the same goal: to build resiliency in our food system and connect farmers to food banks that help our fellow Marylanders in need. We don’t need to choose between supporting our agricultural sector and fighting hunger: we can, and must, do both at the same time.”

The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Service, will provide Maryland with $6.1 million for 2023-2024 to fund the purchase of local food from Maryland farmers and watermen. The grants will be directly distributed to each food bank.

Credit: Office of the Governor of Maryland

Meanwhile, the Maryland Food and Agricultural program will fund $200,000 annually, beginning July 1, to build food system resiliency by leveraging Maryland agricultural products and services to support the state’s food banks and charitable emergency food providers to alleviate food insecurity. The Maryland Department of Agriculture will issue grants to support the initiative.

“USDA is excited to partner with the Maryland Department of Agriculture as they promote economic opportunities for their local farmers and producers, and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in Maryland’s underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

“Hunger remains a significant problem in our society. Despite being one of the wealthiest states, many Marylanders struggle with access to healthy, locally grown food options,” said Principal Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Human Services Carnitra D. White. “These additional federal and state investments will help feed Marylanders and improve their health.”

The Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank also expressed gratitude for the new initiatives and the opportunity to provide fresh, healthy food to those in need.

“With support from the State of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Agriculture, this initiative will not only help provide resources to strengthen our local food systems, but it will bolster the nutritious offerings we’re able to make available to our network of community partners and food-insecure communities throughout the state,” said Maryland Food Bank Chief Executive Officer and President Carmen Del Guercio.

“The Local Food Purchase Assistance Program will have an enormous impact by getting nutritious, high quality foods from our region’s agricultural producers onto the tables of area families in need, while also spurring growth in our local economy,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Area Food Bank Radha Muthiah.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture Marketing Program Manager Mark Powell can be contacted at or (410) 841-5770 for more information about the new programs.

The Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank, both nonprofit hunger-relief organizations, are dedicated to feeding people, strengthening communities, and ending hunger for more Marylanders by partnering with local organizations. The Maryland Food Bank’s statewide network of food assistance brings enough resources together to provide more than 111,000 meals every day (more than 40 million meals annually) to hungry children, seniors,

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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