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Frostburg Grows

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Frostburg Grows is an innovative sustainability project situated on a barren plateau in the higher elevations of Western Maryland. The project is in the process of converting five acres of land on a former strip mine, which formerly held parked FEMA trailers, into a five-acre greenhouse and shade house complex with multiple functions. Seedlings of native trees – grown from seeds collected from local forests – are being grown in a shade house for use in a variety of restoration and reforestation projects throughout the region, such as stream buffering and mine reclamations-an inherent goal addressing water quality and storm-water runoff. The project is also being used to identify ways to grow local food, fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse environment, which will allow area growers to extend their growing season and to make more efficient and potentially more viable use of their land. Many parts of the region have been classified as ‘food deserts.’ These areas have low healthy food availability, with many people living at or below the federal poverty level, as well as living more than a ¼ mile from a grocery store without reliable transportation. The idea of getting fresh, healthy food into the mainstream marketplace as well as into the mouths of the underserved is of paramount importance, where an estimated 7,000 families in Allegany County have been documented as needing food assistance. The project aims at addressing multiple issues within the region, often referred to as win-win synergy for area residents, the environment, and the Frostburg Grows team of various partners.

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