The annual Maryland Buy Local Challenge has come to an end for 2021 but reminds us of the importance of the “buy local” movement and how diverse the offerings of our local farmers and producers truly are.
Launched by the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission (SMADC) back in 2007 as a regional promotion, the Buy Local Challenge (BLC) has evolved to include statewide participation by vendors, farmers markets, and customers.
Having run through two weekends, from July 17-25, 2021 this year, the Buy Local Challenge was a completely virtual effort this year. Although there is typically an in-person celebration to end each year’s BLC, this year’s efforts were virtual with different photo contests and encouraged social media interaction. The Buy Local Challenge encourages participants to try new offerings and to never hesitate to ask a farmer or producer for a recipe or inspiration.
By taking the BLC pledge, participants agree to buy from a local producer at least once over the course of the several days promotion. Participation ranged from shopping a local farmers market or farm store, visiting a local winery, brewery, or distillery, or even participating in numerous agritourism activities throughout the region.
Although marketing and promotional efforts ramp up for this extended weeklong event, opportunities to buy local exist year-round. The BLC is simply a reminder that buying local is great benefit to the economy, environment, and consumer. Beyond purchasing local goods, building awareness of our local producers and small businesses builds an important sense of community support.
Curious how you can buy local year-round? SMADC releases multiple guides highlighting local producers specific to industries and Explore Charles County has an interactive map of agritourism opportunities and farm stores throughout our local community. Support local farms and producers, and don’t forget to celebrate the Buy Local Challenge in 2022.