Montgomery County is home to over 100 food producing farms and 80 packaged food and beverage businesses. The growth and expansion of these establishments is critical to long-term food system resilience as well as economic and social mobility within our community. The current lack of local food processing infrastructure, specifically commercial kitchen and co-packing space, limits our diverse entrepreneurs from accessing new retail customers and disproportionately impacts businesses wishing to enter or expand wholesale markets. Investment in food processing infrastructure would boost the economic sustainability of local food production while creating jobs, reducing the environmental impact of food distribution, and potentially attract food businesses from around the region to access facilities in our County. However, as documented in the recently released DC Central Food Processing Facility Assessment, 2018 MCEDC Co-packer study, and numerous other reports and studies, there is a significant lack of food processing infrastructure in the entire DMV region. An investment in food processing infrastructure would boost the economic sustainability of local food production while creating jobs, reducing the environmental impact of food distribution, and potentially attract food businesses from around the region to access facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the critical nature of increasing local food production for greater self-sufficiency and recent Maryland legislation has created new opportunities for local food producers to access new markets, though these goals will be difficult to meet without greater investment in aggregation and processing infrastructure.
Contact Ester@mocofoodcouncil.org with questions!
Save the date for Montgomery County’s Summit on Aging! The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 26 in person at the Silver Spring Civic Building.