Sunday, June 23, 2024

Where the Food Is

I am going to take a break from stressing out about all the folks who love to drag area restaurants on social media to take a look at a different kind of food service.  Not fast food, casual, or fine dining. The kind of service that means people who might not get food, or not enough, will get to eat.

Summer meals will be available to children this summer beginning tomorrow, June 24th:

To continue meeting the growing need to feed hungry children and families in Howard County and fill the nutritional gap over the summer months, the Howard County Public School System's free summer meal program begins on June 24 and runs until August 2 

This year, meals will be served on weekdays from 12:30-2 pm at our Elkridge and East Columbia branches. 

There are no applications, enrollment or fees to participate in this program, however children must be present to receive free meals. Meals will be provided at no cost to any children aged 18 and under. There will be no meal service Thursday, July 4.

Find all the information at

In addition, the Central and East Columbia branches will be offering free afternoon snacks sponsored by Good Harvest between June and August.

I had not heard of Good Harvest before but I am guessing this Baltimore-based nonprofit is what they are referring to here.

Did you know that the Farmer's Market at Clarksville Commons matches SNAP benefits?

Once again this year, the Clarksville Commons farmers market is participating in the Maryland Market Money program. This wonderful program allows us to match SNAP benefits to buy eligible food at the market. 

If you receive SNAP benefits, come see us in the yellow MMM tent to get SNAP tokens & MMM tokens, which can be spent at almost all of our food vendors. 

We're able to offer unlimited matching, and you set the amount every time you visit. Tokens are good all season, so you don't have to use all of them on the day you get them. 

FMNP and Senior-FMNP benefits can also receive MMM matching once they are distributed in July.

The farmers market is every Saturday, 10am-2pm, through November 23.

You may have heard that the Roving Radish is roving once again. A lot of us think of the Roving Radish as “that local meal kit thing”.

The Howard County’s Roving Radish promotes healthy eating habits through meal kits comprised of locally and regionally grown foods straight from the farm to your table. The meal kits are available to anyone who works, plays or lives in Howard County and are offered at a discounted price to those in need.

But now they’re taking the show on the road with a mobile market.

After being relatively stationary at the Long Reach Village Center for several years, the Roving Radish will be out and about making regular stops throughout the community. 

I saw them setting up at Stevens Forest elementary school as I drove by this week. Getting fresh food out to the community in a way that supports people with limited resources makes a lot of sense to me. If you take a look at the sponsors you’ll see that this is an investment both in public health and equity in education. To be clear, anyone can purchase food from the Roving Radish. Members (see info above) can purchase at reduced prices.

An anecdote from back when the Roving Radish was in the planning stages: then-County Executive Ken Ulman announced a naming contest for the new initiative on social media. He described how the soon-to-be launched food service would connect local farmers with community members in need of fresh food and how the meal kit service would work. As a way of generating interest (I’m guessing) Ulman solicited name suggestions from Howard County residents. “Something like…the Roving Radish,” he tweeted, to get the ball rolling. 

I thought up a name. It was probably silly. I have no recollection of what it was. Ulman’s tweets as County Executive don’t exist anymore - - as far as I can tell - - so I can’t document this. But when the winning name was announced it turned out to be: The Roving Radish!

I have since suspected that the name had already been chosen in advance and the naming contest had been a social media engagement exercise. On the other hand, maybe it was better than all the other ones submitted by the community. We’ll probably never know.

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