Farming 4 Hunger’s Market Garden demonstration takes root at CSM’s Prince Frederick campus

A partnership between the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and Agriculture 4 Hunger (F4H) is developing – a new market garden demonstration, that is – at the Prince Frederick campus of the CSM. The garden will provide a ‘planting from seed to harvest’ experience that will provide food for hungry and learning times for the region in self-sufficiency, team building, service leadership. , volunteerism and goal-seeking.

This month, F4H staff and volunteers are working on the front grounds of the Prince Frederick Campus on JW Williams Road to recondition the soil, install mini greenhouse tunnels, and build raised flower beds in an effort to have a September garden ready for a late fall harvest. The yield will complement the CSM’s Hawk Feeder pantries, add additional pollinator habitats on campus, and provide workforce training, course programs and volunteer opportunities for CSM students and the community. .

The idea for the garden took root about a year ago during a conversation between CSM board chairman Jay Webster and Farming 4 Hunger founder Bernie Fowler Jr., prompting them to write a memorandum of understanding almost immediately. The MOU was approved by the MSC Board of Directors in March.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the College of Southern Maryland and Farming 4 Hunger as our two missions focus on life change, workforce development and opportunities for cultural enrichment and personal, ”Webster said. “We can’t wait to see the great things that will emerge from this partnership. “

F4H is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit established in 2012 to serve those in need of fresh produce statewide, and particularly in southern Maryland. The organization grows and distributes over one million pounds of locally grown fresh food annually from fields at Serenity Farms in Hughesville and a farm in Denton, Maryland. A native and resident of Calvert County, Fowler said it was a long-held dream for him to have a Farming 4 Hunger garden in his hometown.

“F4H accomplishes its mission through unique partnerships with local farms, churches, local businesses and schools, the Maryland Food Bank, the Department of Corrections and an excellent network of community volunteers,” said Fowler. “We are excited to add the College of Southern Maryland to our list of partners and evolve our programming to help CSM students in any way we can. Together, I hope that our partnership will serve as a model for other higher education institutions and we look forward to continuing this effort and learning from it with this goal in mind.

F4H works to feed the hungry. The F4H team also immerses itself in teaching teamwork; help community members struggling to find hope; combating drug addiction and alcohol prevention in children and young adults; and helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens to rehabilitate and acquire new skills.

Kim Yellman, CSM Director of Strategic Initiatives and Projects, will lead CSM’s efforts with F4H.

“We are delighted with this new collaboration with Farming 4 Hunger,” said Yellman. “In addition to gardening and feeding food insecure people, Farming 4 Hunger is committed to equity and inclusion, two core values ​​that guide CSM’s work every day. “

Terri S. Tomasini