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Maryland Local Food Council Collaborative Funds Five New Food Councils

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 8, 2023

For More Information, Contact: Evelyn Kelly

Organization: Prince George’s County Food Equity Council, Institute for Public Health Innovation

Title: Program Director

Contact: Ekelly@institutephi.org, 202-407-7086

Prince George’s County, MD – The Maryland Local Food Council Collaborative will award $10,000 to five new Maryland-based food councils throughout the state. Funding will be used to build capacity among emerging food councils that are committed to advancing policies that support the local food system. The funding will be awarded to Anne Arundel County, Caroline Food Stability Workgroup, Upper Shore Food Council, Mid-Shore Food Council, and the Kent County Local Food Council. 

The Collaborative is a state-wide community of practice that builds collaboration and partnerships among Maryland-based local food councils. Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded The Montgomery County Food Council $250,000 to launch the Collaborative. The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council serves as a co-coordinator for this initiative. Other partners and members of the Collaborative include the Baltimore Food Policy Action Coalition, Frederick County Food Council, and Western Maryland Food Council. The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) provides essential in-kind contributions and capacity to support the Collaborative. 

“In order to create a more equitable local food system throughout the state, it’s essential we provide capacity to local food policy councils. We need to bring diverse representation to the table to advance both local and state level policies that foster an equitable food system,” said Evelyn Kelly, Interim Director of the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council, an initiative supported by the Institute for Public Health Innovation. 

Members of the Collaborative reviewed applications and selected the new food councils, prioritizing diversity and state-wide representation. Members of the Collaborative will now form a community of practice to support both local and state-wide food systems priorities. The Collaborative will also pursue the recommendations proposed in the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council’s report to the Maryland General Assembly.   

“Collaboration is key to advancing food system equity across Maryland,” said Massa Cressall, Interim Director of the Montgomery County Food Council. “We’re seeing tremendous momentum among our food system stakeholders and are excited to work with our fellow local food policy councils to build on these connections in the months ahead.”

“The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) is tasked with all hazards preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery to shape a resilient Maryland where communities thrive,” said Russ Strickland, MDEM’s Secretary. “Partnering and supporting efforts like the Maryland Local Food Council Collaborative clearly fits within the goals and objectives of the new MDEM Office of Resilience and the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council. We look forward to continuing to support efforts which bring stakeholders together to increase food security for Marylanders, and appreciate the partnership and leadership of the Collaborative on this critical issue.”

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About Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC)

The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) is a local food policy council that works to help residents grow, sell, and choose healthy foods. Since 2013, FEC has been a voice for county residents at the policymaking table. The FEC focuses on systematic and sustainable changes to promote health, economic opportunity, food security, and well-being in Prince George’s by advocating for policy that creates a more equitable local food system. The FEC is housed within the Institute for Public Health Innovation. For more information on FEC, visit www.pgcfec.org and follow FEC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook | @pgcfec. 

About Montgomery Community Food Council (MCFC)

The Montgomery County Food Council (MCFC)  is a nonprofit organization that serves as the primary connection point for businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and residents around food system issues in our County. We bring together over 2,000 local and regional partners in community-wide education, advocacy, and capacity building initiatives. Our work cultivates a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable local food system by enhancing food access for the over 100,000 at risk for hunger, expanding food education opportunities for all residents, supporting our County’s farms and food and beverage businesses, and addressing the impact of local food production, distribution, consumption and recycling natural resources. For more information on MCFC, visit: https://mocofoodcouncil.org/

About Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM)

MDEM is a national leader in Emergency Management that provides Maryland residents, organizations, and emergency management partners with expert information, programmatic activities, and leadership in the delivery of financial, technical and physical resources “to shape a resilient Maryland where communities thrive.” We do this by being Maryland’s designated source of official risk reduction and consequence management information. For more information about MDEM, visit:  mdem.maryland.gov.