With the launch of “We Are HoCo Fresh,” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is turning the Farm to Table trend into a way of life.
“We Are HoCo Fresh” launches in Howard County next month and is designed to showcase the local restaurants and businesses who support Howard County farms.
Implemented by the Kittleman Administration through the county’s Office of Community Sustainability, the program will award HoCo Fresh certificates to restaurants and businesses that meet specific goals in purchasing locally sourced produce and protein. Once certified, they can display the HoCo Fresh seal, letting patrons know they are buying from local farms.
“We want to support our farmers…We’re always looking for innovative ways to provide them with stable, reliable local markets. This is one more way to do it.”
-County Executive Allan H. Kittleman.
Allan Kittleman: A Friend to Howard County Agriculture
Since taking office, Allan Kittleman has been a consistent advocate for the county’s agricultural community. He expanded the focus of the county’s Office of Community Sustainability to include agriculture as well as the environment, created an Agriculture Coordinator position, and put together an Agriculture Subcabinet to advise him on issues impacting the industry.
James Zoller, the county’s first Agriculture Coordinator, said Kittleman’s support has allowed his office to pursue new initiatives and expand others. For example, the Roving Radish, the county’s healthy meals program, has expanded its season, added new distribution stops, increased the number of meal kits sold and local products purchased, and added vegetarian options. The program received the “County Innovation Award” in December from the Maryland Association of Counties.
Every year, Kittleman holds an Agriculture Roundtable to hear directly from farmers about their needs. At the Roundtable held Feb. 15, he unveiled the HoCo Fresh program and other initiatives for the coming year, including the centralized HOCOFarms website to promote the county’s agricultural heritage.
Farmers attending the Ag Roundtable praised Kittleman’s efforts. In a press statement, Kelly Hensing, who owns Hensing Hilltop Acres in Dayton said, “ We feel much more included in the community now. This has made agriculture more important.”
To learn more about HoCoFresh and other similar programs, please click here.