Maryland’s Buy Local Challenge Week (July 18-26, 2015) kicked off several weeks ago at the Government House in Annapolis during the 8th Annual Buy Local Cookout. Fifteen recipes were selected out of the thirty-seven entries in the Buy Local Cookout with the event being hosted by the Governor and First Lady Yumi Hogan. At the cookout, Gov. Hogan said, “Buying local gives consumers fresher, more nutritious and better-tasting food, and it helps to keep Maryland’s agricultural industry strong..” thus wholeheartedly encouraging Marylanders to participate in the Challenge.

The Challenge originated in Southern Maryland years ago, initiated by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission in order to promote the local agriculture industry before becoming statewide.

So what exactly are the terms of this challenge? Participants make a commitment with this simple pledge, “Yes, I pledge to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during Buy Local Week!”

Not only does this challenge encourage Marylanders to eat fresh and healthier foods, it also stimulates the local economy and assists local farmers as more fresh produce is purchased from local farm stands and markets.

Calvert County resident and Miss Maryland Agriculture 2014, Jordan Mister, a senior at Huntingtown High School, participated in the Buy Local Challenge.

Jordan Mister with Gov Larry Hogan and MD Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder
Jordan Mister with Gov Larry Hogan and MD Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder

Mister says she participated in the Challenge “…in order to bring light to the numerous opportunities for consumers in Maryland to buy local, and to promote the hardworking farmers that make buying local possible.” She shared all her buy local visits across Maryland on social media. Mister claims that the Buy Local Challenge benefits the Southern Maryland agricultural industry as it “brings buyers directly to the agriculture industry, but it stimulates a conversation between the producer and consumer about their food, and very often it creates a bond between the farmer and the community.”

Her favorite part of the Buy Local Challenge was the “opportunity to sit and talk to the farmers about their operations and their produce, hearing many unique and touching stories.”

In addition to the healthy eating and fresh food options that the Buy Local Challenge and Locavore movement (eating locally) provides, it offers economic opportunities for local farms, farm stands and markets. Maryland’s Buy Local Challenge Week will hopefully continue to grow in the near future to promote the consumption of healthy and locally grown food.

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