Colora, Cecil County, Maryland - For the past two years, Cecil Land Trust (CLT) has explored ways to help improve food systems in Cecil County. Part of food systems is moving local foods from farmers to consumers and diverting food waste from landfills to methane digesters where it can become energy and fertilizer.
One of the biggest challenges to getting farm products to markets has been the lack of a health department approved commercial kitchen where food producers could process their raw products into marketable locally produced foods.
CLT’s recently-forged partnership with West Nottingham Presbyterian Church (WNPC) created the opportunity for both organizations to meet this challenge and fulfill their missions of serving the Cecil County community.
Steve Bingham, WNPC Co-Chair of the Missions Committee and Session member, elaborates that, “WNPC has been serving the people of Cecil County for over 200 years and is always looking for new ways to continue this service. Our facility is currently being used by many community groups and making it available for use by local farmers as a food processing hub through the CLT is an exciting new venture. The mission of the CLT is to protect the agricultural and forest lands of Cecil County. We believe that God calls us to care for the earth that we live on and see this partnership as a way to live out this belief.”
CLT board member and owner of Airlie Farms, Doug Megee affirms, “we are a land and water conservation group that realizes the need to, not only conserve the land, but also to help preserve the farmer, by creating marketing opportunities for their products,” He adds, “We feel strongly about agriculture’s future in Cecil County.”
Sue Orndorf, Co-Chair of WNPC Missions Committee, states that “the trial food hub presents a unique opportunity for the community to engage in something that is a sustainable practice. It not only shows mutual respect for our resources, an underused commercial kitchen and the products of local farms, but also the connectedness of neighbors.”
A training session held at WNPC on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 was well attended with nine local farms being represented. The farmers, WNPC and CLT all agree that they are looking forward to working together on this new and exciting partnership.