On July 1, 2021 the Frederick County Office of Economic Development opened applications for the second round of Agricultural Innovation Grants. More than 30 applications were received for funding to help farmers diversify through value added agriculture. Some of the applicants who received grant funding this round were able to grow their vegetable operation. Let’s explore the innovative technologies and plans these farms have.
Fox Haven Organic Farm is located in Jefferson, Maryland on 730 acres offering a learning center, regenerative farming practices, and ecological retreats. Fox Haven received funding for infrastructure that will improve garden operations and allow them to grow a wider selection of leafy greens. This will also influence their new innovative farm initiative of using shallow swales for collecting and storing rainwater. This stored rainwater will support the productions of nut and fruit trees and varieties of berries.
District Farms is located in Frederick, MD where they grow lettuce hydroponically under glass in a one-acre green house. They received funding to conduct research and develop technology that will allow the farm to patent an earth/air heat exchanger engineered specifically for greenhouses growing leafy greens. This advanced technology aims to reduce the air temperature within greenhouses during both warmer and cooler months. This will lead to quicker growing times for their leafy greens, prevent loss of products, lower energy costs, and allow them to grown new varieties.
Grossnickle Farm, located in Walkersville, MD received funding to support their goal of building a store on their farm. This money was granted to help fund the well and septic expenses that are required when opening a farm store for the public. The store will allow Grossnickle Farm to expand their sales of fresh products as well as offering other locally grown products to their customers and community.
The Ag Innovation Grant allows Frederick County farmers to start something new or expand on their current operation to continue to economically grow and become sustainable. The next round will open on March 1, 2022. For more information on this grant program, you can reach out to Katie Stevens at KStevens1@FrederickCountyMD.gov.