MDH Awards Funding to GC Health Planning Council to Increase Food Security

The Garrett County Health Planning Council was awarded funding from the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control (Center) at the Maryland Department of Health. The grant was given to implement the Building Local Health Improvement Coalition Food Security Committees project for a second year.

Improvements in addressing food and nutrition security for residents continue to be a major focus of the funding. Healthy recipes, cooking demonstrations, and other tips for making affordable meals are available on a website found at By watching videos and reading short articles on the website, Garrett County residents can earn points for gift cards from Shop & Save, fresh produce from Garrett Growers, gas cards, and many other incentives to improve wellness.

Access is a major focus of the funding. To help residents access fresh produce more easily, last year pop-up markets were held in Friendsville and Kitzmiller, with hours extending after 5 p.m. An updated guide to food access was also created and widely distributed to connect people to food pantries and other resources.

Shelley Argabrite, MA, Health Strategist for Garrett County, submitted the proposal and continues to work closely with partners from the University of Maryland Extension, Garrett Growers, and Garrett County Government on this project.

“We’re expanding the scope in year two to create infrastructure in the form of a nonprofit with a multisector board that will aid in the ease of resource coordination to help end hunger in Garrett County,” said Argabrite.

The State Partnerships Improving Nutrition & Equity program promotes equitable and sustainable food and nutrition security. In collaboration with funders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, and a team of subject matter experts, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors supports State Health Departments in addressing food and nutrition security through sustainable and equitable actions that tackle economic and social conditions limiting food and nutrition security across the lifespan through a policy, systems, and environmental change lens. Health equity is foundational to the SPINE program and will be integrated throughout the project’s planning, action, and evaluation phases.

The Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics Unit at the Garrett County Health Department, directed by Argabrite, will continue to manage the grant and coordinate with local partners. To join the efforts to make Garrett County hunger-free, visit and search for the Food Council action group. Check-in on the progress with real-time data reporting and get updates to stay informed.