$11 Million Provided to Boost Food Safety and Protect Jobs at Maryland Wholesale Produce Market

August 2022

On August 4th, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, joined by Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder announced a transformational $11 million to support critical renovations to the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup. The market supports the food chain of the entire Mid-Atlantic region.

The funds include $1 million in Howard County’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget and $10 million from the State. This funding will help expand critical refrigeration capacity and allow for an enclosed expansion of the Market’s back dock.

“This facility is truly a one-of-a-kind asset for our entire region, with over 330,000 square feet of terminal space used to distribute an enormous volume of produce daily,” said Ball.

The Food Center makes Howard County the largest food business cluster in Maryland. Not only does the Wholesale Produce Market employ more than 3,000 Marylanders, but it also connects local farmers with grocery stores, restaurants, and residents. This helps combat climate change through reduced transportation emissions from supplier to consumer.

The renovation shows County Executive Ball’s continued dedication to agricultural prosperity and combating food insecurity. Ball relaunched the Agricultural Land Preservation program in 2019 and added over 300 acres to the acquisition pipeline for preservation. In addition, Howard County continues to offer discounted meals to income-qualified families through the Roving Radish marketplace. In 2021, the Howard County government distributed a record 12,146 meal kits, of which 43% were subsidized.