Eli Barber, 7, was eager to take a photo with the Carroll County Grown carrot sign Saturday at Baugher's Restaurant in Westminster.
Eli, a member of the Sam's Creek 4-H Club, plans to submit the photo to Instagram with the help of his mother, Ashley Barber. The submission will contribute to the club's eligibility to win a prize for participating in Carroll County's inaugural 4-H Buy Local Challenge.
"The kids got to pick where they wanted to go," said Ashley, of Silver Run. "We've always tried to support the mom and pop shops. The whole club is all over that."
Maryland's Buy Local week began Saturday, July 18, and continues through Sunday, July 26. The Carroll Buy Local Challenge is meant to bolster participation among youth, according to Diana Hare, Carroll County's agriculture development specialist.
"The Buy Local Week challenges Marylanders to eat one thing from a local farm each day during the week," she said. "The Carroll County 4-H Buy Local Challenge is meant to compliment the week by targeting the next generation of consumers."
Diana said the challenge encourages 4-H'ers to find the Carroll County 4-H Buy Local carrot sign at participating markets and take a selfie with the sign. Only one picture can be submitted per 4-H'er through Sept. 1.
The photo must be posted to Instagram and tagged #CarrollCountyGrown. The submission should include the 4-H'er's name and club as a comment. Each photo will count as a point. The Carroll County 4-H Club with the highest percentage of participation will win a yet-to-be named prize.
"We choose Instagram because social media is strong motivator and wildly useful in promoting a worthwhile cause. It doesn't take much effort to Instagram," Diana said.
Diana said she started the challenge to raise youth awareness about the importance and availability of local food. There are seven Carroll County locations that have a Carroll County Grown sign. Baugher's Orchard and Baugher's Restaurant in Westminster, the Carroll County Farmers' Market in Westminster, Knill's Farm Market in Mount Airy, Local Homestead Products in New Windsor, Hampstead Farmers' Market and Sykesville Farmers' Market will be participating.
"We encourage them to take a picture but also to explore the market and the beautiful produce there," Diana said. "Local food is safe and sustainable, and by supporting local farms, they are also supporting other aspects of the community. Everyone benefits. We hope to see many families at the markets throughout the week."
Diana partnered with Ann Dicke, Carroll County Extension's 4-H youth educator, to get the word out to kids and their parents.
"This is the very first year we're doing this. We're excited to see the kids out there and participating," Ann said.
Bryn Kerney, 11, is looking forward to a chance at the mystery prize.
"We're going to take a picture, and then we can go and check out the natural local stuff," Bryn said.
Bryn's mother, Kristen Kerney, who owns Truck Patch Farm in New Windsor, said the challenge was a great idea.
"We are farmers ourselves, and we raise all of our own meats and produce," she said. "Most of the stuff we buy, if we don't produce it ourselves, is from local farmers. This is a great way to encourage kids to eat seasonally.
Carroll County 4-H Buy Local Challenge locations:
4-H'ers can take a selfie with the Carroll County 4-H Buy Local carrot sign at participating locations and post the picture to Instagram using the hashtag #CarrollCountyGrown. The submission should include the 4-H'er's name and club as a comment. Each photo will count as a point. Only one picture can be submitted per 4-H'er.
The Carroll County 4-H club with the highest percentage of participation through Sept. 1 will win a prize.
Carroll County Breaking News
• Baugher's, 289 W. Main St., Westminster. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
• Baugher's Orchard & Farm, 1015 Baugher Road, Westminster. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
• Carroll County Farmers' Market, Carroll County Agriculture Center, 700 Agriculture Drive, Westminster. Open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.
• Knill's Farm Market, 4001 W. Watersville Road, Mount Airy. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
• Hampstead Farmers' Market, 1341 N. Main St., Hampstead. Open 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday.
• Local Homestead Products, 2425 Marston Road, New Windsor. Open 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
• Sykesville Farmers' Market, 7547 Main St., Sykesville. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.