Food is a symbol of a community; sharing meals provides connection and moments of joy between friends and family. High school students enrolled in the Foods Program at Southern Garrett High School led by Chef Rob Scardina have formally joined the effort to address food and nutrition security in the community. Learning how to get beneficial nutrients from the food we enjoy eating as we fight chronic disease is a win for us all! Putting young people at the center of our efforts has brought more energy, creativity, and fun to this project! I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have!

This collaboration is made possible through funding from the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control at the Maryland Department of Health. For the second year, the grant award, State Partnerships Improving Nutrition & Equity (SPINE), will support community collaborations to promote food and nutrition security.

The Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics Unit within the Garrett County Health Department submitted the proposal and continues to work closely with partners from the University of Maryland Extension, Garrett Growers, and Garrett County Government. High school students have expressed their concerns about issues related to food insecurities and, through this partnership, are going to be part of the solution to address these challenges in our county.

Meaningful conversations and local data collection around food insecurities are foundational to these efforts. We are expanding the scope in year two to create infrastructure in the form of a nonprofit with a multisector board that will aid in the ease of resource coordination to help end hunger in Garrett County. Additional partners from the Western Maryland Food Council, Garrett County Farm Bureau, Mountain Fresh Farmers Markets, and others are sharing their thoughts. We want to hear your voice, too!

To join the efforts to make Garrett County hunger-free, visit mygarrettcounty.com and join the Food Council action group found here, https://mygarrettcounty.com/groups/social-determinants-of-health/. Check-in on the progress with real-time data reporting and get updates to stay informed.

Here’s a link to the updated food brochure: https://louddoc.com/gcfood. Please share it!

Shelley Argabrite

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