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Hood College’s award-winning Frederick Food Security Network expands

The Frederick News-Post

January 29, 2019


Though it launched only a few months ago, Hood College’s Frederick Food Security Network is already winning awards and expanding.

The program tackles food insecurity in Frederick by partnering with nonprofits and other organizations in low-income areas of Frederick that don’t have easy access to a grocery store, meeting a growing need as the cost of living continues to outpace wage growth in the county. Organizers help establish and maintain their own community gardens, many of which are self-irrigating beds that utilize rooftop runoff.

This social work is also environmental — and earlier this month, the Chesapeake Bay Trust recognized the Frederick Food Security Network with the Melanie Teems Award for community engagement, presented to organizers in front of the Maryland General Assembly.

Now, the program plans to double its number of gardens. In 2018, two gardens produced more than 1,500 pounds of produce. This year, there will be four gardens, two of which are being added at the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County and the Islamic Society of Frederick. Over 200 volunteers were involved in 2018, but Connie Ray, manager of the Frederick Food Security Network, said the numbers aren’t the full picture, including the impact on the mental health of those able to work outside in the gardens.