The Agriculture Education Grant Award winners were announced on September 14 at opening night of The Great Frederick Fair. The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) and the Agriculture Business Council established the one-time grant program for the purpose of increasing the vibrancy of agriculture programs available for youth in Frederick County.
“These grants will help to educate a new generation of farmers about the importance of agriculture,” said County Executive Jan Gardner. “Frederick County provides food and fiber to people across Maryland. The hands-on experience these programs provide makes a lasting impact on the youth and helps to shape the next generation of agricultural leaders.”
Five non-profits will receive $1,000 to establish new or expand existing agriculture education programs. Programs were selected for their long-term impacts on the community and preferences were given for projects that benefitted youth in urban areas. Grant proceeds were a one-time funding source made possible through the Frederick County Agriculture Viability Fund managed by the Community Foundation of Frederick County.
"The Agriculture Business Council was pleased with the number and the quality of the grant applications we received. We feel strongly that the winners selected and their projects will be able to give the most impact in educating youth about agriculture,” said OED Agriculture Business Development Specialist Katie Albaugh.
The award winners and projects are:
- The YMCA of Frederick County plans to build, plant and maintain a teaching garden at YMCA Camp West Mar. The campers and staff will maintain the garden and use the produce in the dining hall.
- Maryland Sheriff’s Youth Ranch will purchase a greenhouse to complement the vegetable garden already onsite. The greenhouse will allow early propagation of planting materials and further the opportunity to educate the residents of the Youth Ranch about growing their own food. Many residents have found the therapeutic value of vegetable gardening and are eager to see program grow.
- Frederick County Extension will expand their Kids Growing with Grains Program, designed to teach elementary students about grain production, uses and nutrition while doing hands-on activities. Title 1 schools are being targeted for this program.
- St. John Regional Catholic School will use grant funds to build a learning garden, positively impacting students in four different ways: environmental stewardship, community and social development, healthy lifestyle and academic achievement. The school plans to work with the University of Maryland Extension Program and the Master Gardeners to design the garden, and also to help to teach lessons in conjunction with the garden.
- Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School plans to start a garden club to increase learning through hands-on experiences. Their goal is to have a self-sustaining vegetable garden on school grounds so that they may use them in the classroom for lessons.
For more information about the Agriculture Education Grant or agriculture programs, contact the Office of Economic Development at 301-600-1058 or visit www.homegrownfrederick.com.