Governor Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley hosted the fifth annual Buy Local Cookout at Government House yesterday and officially kicked-off Maryland’s Buy Local Challenge Week, which encourages Marylanders to incorporate at least one locally grown, produced or harvested product into their meals each day. Governor O’Malley designated July 21-29 as “Buy Local Challenge Week” to raise awareness about the benefits of local farms and food so that Marylanders will become more familiar and more frequent consumers of fresh, local products.
“Buying local supports our farmers and our agricultural heritage, it supports local jobs and local economies, and it helps us create a greener, more sustainable Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “During the five years we have hosted this kick-off event, the Buy Local Challenge has become increasingly popular. Right here in Maryland, our farmers provide the fresh, nutritious food we all need for a diet that is both healthy and delicious. Katie and I challenge our fellow Marylanders to purchase locally grown products for their favorite dishes and to try some new local products.”
The Buy Local Challenge, created in 2006 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, has grown into a statewide initiative that began five years ago and has continued to grow. In its 2010 Policy Choices Survey, the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that more than 78 percent of Marylanders said they want to buy produce grown by a Maryland farmer.
“It is easier to buy local than ever before and we want residents to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Today, there are more than 130 farmers’ markets in Maryland, and community supported agriculture farms are thriving. Grocery stores are tapping into the demand for local farm products while saving transportation costs to bring the most nutritious, great-tasting food to our plates. The number of pick-your-own operations, roadside farm stands, and on-farm markets is growing too.”
In May, Governor O’Malley invited teams of chefs and at least one farmer, waterman or producer to submit recipes featuring locally grown, raised or harvested ingredients. Of the 27 recipes submitted by chef/producer teams, 17 were selected for the cookout based on their creativity, availability of ingredients, geographic representation, and maximum use of local ingredients. All recipe submissions were compiled and published in the 2012 Buy Local Cookout Recipes, which includes wine paring recommendations from the Maryland Wineries Association. The cookbook is available online here.
The cookbook was published by Apprentice House, the country’s only campus-based, student-staffed book publishing company. Directed by professors and industry professionals, it is a non-profit activity of the Communication Department at Loyola University Maryland. This dual responsibility as publishers and educators creates an unprecedented collaborative environment among faculty and students, while teaching tomorrow’s editors, designers, and marketers.
In addition to the selected chefs and producers, several enterprises donated products for the cookout, including Amber Fields Malting and Brewing Company, Chesapeake Roasting Company, Homestead Gardens, Kilby Cream, Roseda Beef, Honest Tea, Prigel Family Creamery, Maryland Wineries Association, Taharka Brothers, and Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm.
Attendees included farmers; food buyers from groceries, restaurants and institutions; chefs; and “buy local” advocates.
To learn more about Maryland’s Buy Local Week Challenge and sign up to take the pledge to eat local,click here. New this year, the Buy Local Challenge mobile web site enables participants to take the pledge while on the go and is an easy way to share the challenge with friends. Find local Maryland products, locate a farmers market and more online here.
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