Frostburg Grows is a highly innovative sustainable agriculture training center. In 2014, we were the recipient of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Award and we were a national finalist for a Climate Leadership Award!
Where we are: We are situated in western Allegany County, in the heart of beautiful mountain Maryland near the college town of Frostburg.
About our home: Our 5 acre site was formerly deep-mined and strip-mined for coal, was once used as a county dump and most recently used to store FEMA trailers. Today, the Frostburg Grows site has been repurposed and rejuvenated as a community-based, five-acre sustainability complex and training center.
Our facilities: We have 6 large high-tunnel greenhouses, a native tree nursery, and a composting facility. We take advantage of renewable energy on-site, we collect all of our own water, and we are currently constructing our aquaculture / aquaponics infrastructure. We are masters at creative re-use of materials! Our game plan: We seek win-win solutions in all of our activities. This is very different than most approaches involving human activity, but we are reminded by nature that win-wins are not only possible, they are the reason that we even exist.
Our operation: Reduces GHG emissions, nutrient and sediment runoff, and contaminant entry into waterways. It also makes use of former waste streams such as yard trimmings and food scraps. And even better, it provides healthy local food, creates permanent sustainable jobs, and has become the talk of the town!
Frostburg Grows – winner of the 2014 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award.
Like much of Appalachia, our region has long been dominated by coal mining and logging. As these industries have contracted, our residents have developed incredible resiliency and fortitude, often going without amenities that people in other regions take for granted. But the hard truth is that poverty is all too common and our young people find few opportunities to stay in the region where they were raised. However, there is a new wind blowing, and Frostburg Grows is excited to be part of that wind. Our dream is that we will help catalyze a change that creates permanent, decent jobs, stabilizes our communities and helps them thrive, and provides measureable improvements in both human and environmental health.
FG is a team player in the local food system. We currently grow produce that is sold to Frostburg State University’s (FSU) dining service. Food waste from the kitchen and dining halls is composted into soil and placed in our raised beds, completing the food cycle. (Check out ‘the Rocket’ composter here). A full circle operation, we are committed to improving how things are done in the current agriculture landscape.
FG is also committed to addressing the issues of food security and nutrition off campus. To this end, we have become a major player in developing a local and regional food system that is socially just.
It’s all connected. What we do to the land affects the water, and water and its quality is what sustains life! Our team and our partners strive to look at things through a broader lens, at the big picture, and we are taking action to improve some of the many flaws in our environmental literacy, our economic landscape and our understanding of food and the current food system.
The FG project serves as a model of sustainability. We hope to share it with as many as possible so we can improve our land and our lives for the better.