Our mission is to create economically stable families on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

We're tackling this through job training programs, culinary & nutrition education, addiction prevention, and community engagement.

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Farming4Hunger

Job training & education programs centered on agriculture and addiction prevention

Event Venue

An venue with multiple options for weddings, meetings, fundraisers, and private parties

Nutrition Services

Processing & distribution of healthy, local foods to institutions and meal delivery services

Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Farm-to-table restaurant located within a working greenhouse

Chesapeake Food Connection is a project of Chesapeake Culinary Center and Farming4Hunger.

We've found a fantastic location on Rt. 328 (New Bridge Road) in West Denton! We are leasing the property with an option to buy.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is the purpose of this project?


The purpose of Chesapeake Food Connection is to create economically stable families on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Every aspect of the project will include a job training or life skills component. Students and justice-involved individuals will learn a trade that will provide them with a stable career path. Families and students will learn the fundamentals of cooking and nutrition, as well as table manners and the value of sharing meals as a family. By providing members of our community with job training and life skills, we're helping them on a path to self-sufficiency and healthy life choices. We're partnering with Farming4Hunger, which has achieved tremendous success in Charles County. Farming4Hunger connects students to food and agriculture. It also provides a context for them to learn about the consequences of poor life choices. This program has helped reduce opioid addiction rates and improved student performance and behavior in school. We're excited to implement Farming4Hunger in Caroline County to achieve similar results for students throughout the Eastern Shore.




What is Farming4Hunger?


The mission of Farming4Hunger is to feed the hungry and help feed the soul. Hunger comes in many forms. Healing the mind, body, and spirit is at the core of what Farming4Hunger does. Farming4Hunger is a proven program with phenomenal results. It got its start at Serenity Farms in Charles County in 2012. There are many facets of Farming4Hunger, but one of the most impactful is its work with incarerated individuals. The organization provides carefully selected inmates with agricultural job training. These individuals learn important skills that provide them with a career path upon their release, which significantly reduces recidivism. But that is just the beginning. Farming4Hunger also hosts field trips for schools throughout the region. Young students visit the farm to learn about agriculture and nutrition. Older students learn about life choices at a critical point in their development. They have direct, supervised interaction with inmates to learn about the decisions that led to their incarceration. The inmates share their experiences, which not only helps the students make better choices, it helps with their own healing and recovery. Farming4Hunger has produced phenomenal results. These include significant reductions in recidivism and instances of new opioid addiction. The schools that have participated in field trips also report improved classroom behavior among their students. There are many other aspects of Farming4Hunger including team building, career exploration, life coaching, student mentorship, and community events. We encourage you to visit the Farming4Hunger website and Facebook page to learn more about their programming and community impact.




Who is served by this project?


The Chesapeake Food Connection project serves many parts of the Caroline County community and broader Eastern Shore region:

  • Students and schools (elementary, middle, and high school)
  • Athletic teams
  • Justice-involved individuals
  • Adults with disabilities
  • Senior citizens and home-bound individuals
  • Local farmers
  • Local businesses in the food & hospitality sector
  • Institutions (higher education, hospitals, prisons, etc.)
  • Civic organizations and non-profits
  • Community members and local residents




Is Chesapeake Food Connection a non-profit?


Yes, this project is a partnership between Chesapeake Culinary Center and Farming4Hunger, both of which are registered 501(c)3 non-profits. The purpose of this project is to provide job training, employment, and education opportunities to the Eastern Shore community.




Who owns the project?


This project is part of Farming4Hunger and Chesapeake Culinary Center. Both entities will own and operate the property that becomes the project's permanent home. F4H will implement their proven model for youth education and inmate rehabilitation. CCC will expand upon their successful job training and education programs.




How will the project sustain itself?


We are designing this project to be self-sustaining through various program revenues. These include:

  • Venue rentals and event fees
  • Restaurant revenue
  • School field trip fees
  • Sales of processed local produce to institutions throughout the region
  • Sales of complete meals to food delivery services such as Meals on Wheels
  • Class and program registration fee
We will also pursue fundraising and grants for special programs and projects as needed.




Will Chesapeake Food Connection be open to the public?


Yes. The event venue will be available for weddings, fundraisers, corporate retreats, and other events. We will also occasionally host special programs or classes that are open to the general public. The restaurant will be open to the public as well.




Will there be a lot of traffic and noise?


It is very important to us to be good neighbors! We are not planning any programs or activities that will result in excessive noise or traffic. Field trips will take place during regular school hours, and will be primarily contained to the buildings and grounds near the Education Center. Classes and programs that take place in the evenings will be small with an average class size of 20 participants. The event venue will be positioned to minimize noise and disruption to surrounding properties. Finally, the restaurant will have limited hours and a fresh, farm-to-table menu.




Will there be training for inmates? How will you keep the community safe?


A key goal of this project is to prepare justice-involved individuals for a stable and successful life upon their release. Reducing recidivism has immense benefits to the community, including lower costs to taxpayers and improved community safety. Inmates will be carefully selected to be part of our job training programs. First, they must have already qualified for work release. Then they must also demonstrate maturity, respectfullness, and positive personal interactions. All inmates participating in the program will be interacting with student field trips, so we will work with those who have the ability to lead meaningful group discussions with students. They must be willing and able to share their life story while reflecting on the decisions that led to their incarceration. This vulnerability and direct interaction between students and inmates is at the heart of what makes Farming4Hunger such a successful program. Inmates working and learning on site will always be supervised. Their daily arrival and departure will be highly structured. People are often surprised to learn that work release is quite common for qualified individuals. It's very likely that you have interacted with inmates in training programs on many occasions. The viability and success of work release programs depends on careful selection and positive interactions with the public. As such, ensuring the safety and security of the community will always be our top priority.




How do I get involved? What can I do to support the project?


As we move forward, we'll be providing information about how you can volunteer and get involved. We'll also be pursuing a fundraising campaign to help with development costs. Please stay tuned for more information. If you would like to make a gift to support the project now, please contact us and we'll get back to you right away.




Who do I contact if I have a question?


The best way to reach us is through our online contact form. We'll get back to you within two business days once you submit your question.





 

OUR TEAM

Chesapeake Food Connection is a partnership between Chesapeake Culinary Center and Farming4Hunger. Both organizations bring their expertise and proven track record to the project. We are also supported by a dynamic team of local advisors, farmers, and partner organizations.

Beth Brewster

Beth Brewster is the founder of Chesapeake Culinary Center. She is passionate about the power of food to unite individuals and build communities. She is the Director of Food Services for Caroline County Public Schools and has extensive experience in the food service industry.

  • Black Twitter Icon

Bernie Fowler, Jr.

Bernie is the founder of Farming4Hunger. His passion and drive to serve the community are evident in everything he does. Bernie owns a construction company and has a background in law enforcement as a K-9 handler.

  • Black Twitter Icon

Advisory Team & Project Partners

ADVISORY TEAM

Brent Fuchs

Becky Loukides

Dave Whaley

Peter Fillat

STAFF & CONTRACTORS

David Murray

Julie McMahan Thomas

Roxanne Wolf

Holly Foster

Angela Visintainer

KEY PARTNERS

We have a strong network of partners in Caroline County and beyond, including:

Schools

Criminal justice & law enforcement

Hospitals

Food pantries 

Meal delivery services

Local Management Boards

Elected officials

Private businesses, including farms

CONTACT US

Please use our contact form if you have any questions or comments. We'll get back to you within two business days.

 

Thanks for visiting!

 
  • Facebook - White Circle

© 2019 by Chesapeake Culinary Center