Peri-urban areas are an inherently difficult concept to define: they are neither totally rural, nor are they fully urban. They are associated with sprawl and with suburban development. While definitions and theories vary, most agree that peri-urban areas are dynamic transition zones between the city and countryside, display diverse land uses and uneven development, and operate under many different jurisdictions. Indeed, scholars and researchers have recognized that the urban-rural binary is not helpful and that peri-urban areas are part of a continuous spectrum from urban core to rural periphery. Using these characteristics as a starting point, we worked to outline these understudied areas as part of a USDA–funded project in order to increase the understanding of what role peri-urban areas play in the food system. Read More >
Buy Local Week is upon us! Kicking off with Governor Larry Hogan’s Buy Local Cookout on July 16, the challenge to “eat at least one thing from a local farm every day” has been lauded by farmers market organizations, civic groups, and locavores who view eating locally as a way to protect the environment, boost local businesses, and build community. After all, the typical American meal travels an astounding 1,500 miles before it winds up on someone’s plate.
With an estimated 12,000 farms throughout Maryland, and over 1,100 of those selling locally, the Buy Local campaign is a boon to thousands of farming families throughout the state. Read More >
As recently as 70 years ago, Maryland was virtually food self-sufficient, with local farmers providing nearly all the food staples. Since then, modern agriculture practices, food business models, and improved transportation systems have reduced food prices and provided a much wider variety of fruits and vegetables and processed goods in supermarkets. Trade agreements allowed tariff free imports to lower prices and increase variety even more. For a number of reasons, Maryland farms (and East Coast farms in general) have not been able to compete in a number of food products and acres of those products decreased dramatically by the end of the 20th century. Read More >
Although some economists reported that the recession ended in 2009, Maryland experienced an increased participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, the federal nutrition assistance support program formerly known as food stamps, serves as the main source of food for low-income people and families. SNAP benefits are redeemed by program participants through vouchers or Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) / Independence accounts on a monthly basis. While the number of participants in SNAP is well reported, the amount of money redeemed by authorized stores has not been reviewed Read More >
A colleague of mine described a map of Baltimore City as a butterfly, while another colleague saw angel’s wings. I saw a heart. Regardless of our interpretations, it’s a pretty pattern…until you realize that this “butterfly” really comes from dots of crime locations and corner stores in Baltimore City. Sadly, this butterfly/angel’s wings/heart pattern reemerges when looking at areas of poverty, and elevated rates of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, and food insecurity in Baltimore City. Looking Read More >
About two months ago a Washington Post article about South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, caught my attention. I was curious to learn how their doorstep delivery service works. They currently deliver their dairy products, as well as meat, eggs, and bread to approximately 8,500 customers across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. I was also really excited to learn about the new technology they have adopted Read More >