Nutrition Services will provide processing of local fruits and vegetables. This produce will be sorted, cleaned, cut, blanched, and frozen for distribution to institutions throughout the Eastern Shore. Nutrition Services will also prepare healthy, complete meals for distribution through services such as Meals on Wheels. Female inmates will receive job training in food processing, safety, and distribution. Finally, this will serve as a permanent home for the Caroline County Public Schools backpack food program.


  • Provide job training and a career path for female inmates

  • Provide jobs for adults with special needs

  • Provide institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.) with healthy, local produce for use in their meals all year long

  • Provide delivery services such as Meals on Wheels with significantly better meal solutions for the Eastern Shore

  • Improve nutrition for the region's senior citizens, students, and patients

  • Provide local farmers with new revenue streams 


We've done our best to estimate our project timeline. However, reality doesn't always cooperate with even the best-laid plans! The timeline below is our best current estimate of when Nurtrition Services will be fully operational. It will launch with a limited service area as soon as the new education building for Farming4Hunger is completed (Stage 1 below). The building will house both Farming4Hunger and Nurtrition Services.

Timeline - Nutrition Services - ng.jpg


Why is this part of the Chesapeake Food Connection project?

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is one of the strongest agricultural regions in the country, yet many of our local residents are not getting the nutrition they need. This is particularly true for our most vulnerable populations: senior citizens, children, and the seriously ill. Despite the wealth of produce that surrounds us, many institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.) are unable to accpet and process large quantities of local fruits and vegetables. By processing produce as part of this project, we can freeze it and distribute it throughout the Eastern Shore. We can also prepare complete meals for services such as Meals On Wheels. Many of these delivery services are currently supplied by processors outside of our area who, because of cost and distance, are unable to supply fresh, high-nutrition foods. Nutrition Services can address these problems, all while providing job training opportunities. We will train female inmates on all aspects of food processing, safety, and distribution, which will provide them with a career path upon their release. We also plan to employ and train adults with disabilities.

Will it be safe to have inmates working in the food processing facility?

Yes! The women who are selected for job training through Nutrition Services must qualify for work release. They will work in a supervised environment while they receive training. Many people are surprised to learn that work release is quite common for qualified inmates. It is very likely that you have interacted with inmates on work release many times without realizing it. Work release and job training are critically important to reduce recidivism, which saves taxpayers money and improves the safety of the community.

Will you be growing your own produce? Will this compete with local farmers?

We will be growing a very small quantity of our own produce - approximately 5 acres - for training and demonstration purposes for Farming4Hunger. We will process this produce, but we will need significantly more to meet total demand. The additional produce will be purchased from local farmers, providing them with new revenue streams. This is particularly advantageous for the farmers as we will be able to use their seconds and "uglies" that would be rejected by grocery stores. This is already happening within Caroline County. Caroline County Public Schools purchases produce from local farmers. Over the summer, the cafeteria staff processes and freezes the produce for use in the schools throughout the year. Nutrition Services will expand upon this practice, allowing us to supply additional school systems (and other institutions) and support more local farmers.

What is the Bakcpack Food Program?

Caroline County Public Schools has launched a backpack food program to ensure its students don't go hungry over the weekend. Students in need are provided with backpacks filled with food each Friday. This ensures that these students arrive at school on Monday alert and ready to learn. The program improves student performance and reduces behavioral problems in the classroom. With a larger, permanent home, we will be able to ensure the longevity of the backpack food program. We may even be able to expand it to other school systems and counties in the region.