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Professor: Thanks to those who made farm symposium a success

Many thanks to all who made "Food, Farmers and Community: Opening the Dialogue" on March 16 at Harford Community College a successful symposium.

We are particularly grateful to our symposium sponsors: Harford Community College, Harford Community College Foundation, Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development and Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation.

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The gathering brought together farmers and community members to discuss critical issues facing our local food economy, issues for both producers and consumers. As a non-farmer participant said, “this event has been a long time coming.”

It's important to note that the agricultural community requested this gathering. They feel they are under-appreciated by the public, which may not understand how complex their job is to provide us food in a rapidly-changing economic, regulatory and technological environment. Consumer demands are rapidly changing as well, which can be prone to food fads and unrealistic expectations of the realities of farming.

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All societies, and indeed all of life, fundamentally depend on their food economies. Without them, communities and nations collapse. We are all stakeholders in the success of our local farms, and I hope that each community member can support local agriculture by visiting our local farm stands, farmers markets and farms. If every person in the county made the commitment to buy regularly at least one locally grown product per week, this would make a huge difference for our farmers and their families. Give our farmers some face time and Facebook time!

You can locate Harford County farmers who sell their products to the public on the county’s new interactive GIS map, Harford Farm Finder, at alturl.com/6waxg.

Harford Community College is proud to support our agricultural community and all county residents through our innovative and relevant curriculum, programming and cultural events.

Sharon Stowers

Bel Air

The writer is a scholar-in-residence, professor of anthropology and sociology, at Harford Community College.

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