About Us

 Philosophy

Chesapeake Harvest is working to build a vibrant local food economy on the Eastern Shore producing healthy food bursting with flavor. Chesapeake Harvest is committed to sourcing local, clean, and diverse ingredients that fuel the growth of a regional Chesapeake Cuisine. Chesapeake Harvest seeks out farmers who show their commitment to regenerative agricultural practices that protect the future of the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Harvest gives preference to those who share our belief that sustainability is not a fixed point but a pathway of continuous improvement.

Background

The Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware contains rich agricultural land within close proximity to Washington D.C. and other large markets. In the state of Maryland, unmet demand for local fruits and vegetables is estimated at $937 million, while unmet demand in Washington DC is estimated at $135 million.

The EEDC established a regional brand, Chesapeake Harvest, to actively manage the marketing and sales of source-identified food products from local and regional producers to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.

Vision and Mission

Chesapeake Harvest envisions a regional food production and distribution system that increases sustainable agricultural employment on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and contributes to a vibrant regional economy, enhanced food production, distribution infrastructure, food security and the preservation of farms.

Chesapeake Harvest will create agricultural jobs by expanding high-value markets for locally grown food. The three-fold strategy for achieving this mission entails facilitating wholesale market access for local, sustainable Delmarva producers; supporting the transition to regenerative growing practices by local producers through technical assistance; and increasing healthy, affordable food options in low-income, low food access communities.

Core Business

Chesapeake Harvest, a Maryland limited-liability benefit corporation,  will invest in sales, marketing, branding and technical assistance to enable Eastern Shore farmers to expand market reach, increase the supply of healthy foods to the region, and create employment opportunities.

Chesapeake Harvest will leverage existing systems and resources to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.  Chesapeake Harvest will aid Eastern Shore growers to ensure the viability of their businesses, while guaranteeing growers a fair price for their products. Using a contract grower model, Chesapeake Harvest will invest in high tunnel infrastructure on existing farms to extend the growing season to a year, supporting full-time, permanent employment, and allowing for purchasing agreements with wholesale buyers such as grocery and restaurant chains throughout Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York (a 200-mile radius).

Chesapeake Harvest will work with producers, buyers and distributors to address challenges involved in scaling up for wholesale channels while maintaining local food value for increasingly discriminating consumers. Chesapeake Harvest will target a variety of wholesale buyers, including grocery stores, broad line distributors, restaurants, and nonprofit organizations focused on providing healthy food to underserved communities.

Who We Are

Tracy Ward

Tracy Ward

Tracy.ward@chesapeakeharvest.com | 443.798.4077

Tracy Ward, the Executive Director, was hired in April 2014 to make great things happen for Easton Economic Development Corp.  Tracy has over 27 years of experience as an economic and community development leader, devoting her career to urban transformation through collaborative public/private partnership and cross-disciplinary strategies.  Tracy has led major housing and neighborhood development initiatives throughout the Baltimore region.  She was instrumental in the creation of over 1,000 housing units in downtown Baltimore, implemented the nation’s first combined residential and commercial special taxing district, helped hundreds of families transition to home-ownership, and has created community master plans that are still being used today.  Later, at Fannie Mae, Tracy provided technical assistance to communities in five states, originating and underwriting over $100 million in debt and equity investments for transformative housing projects in targeted communities identified for growth.

In 2004, Tracy founded Urbanite, an award-winning glossy magazine with a circulation of over 60,000 in the Baltimore metropolitan area.  During her tenure, Urbanite’s circulation tripled and annual revenues grew by double digits each year.  In 2013, Tracy took a “sabbatical year” to travel and work on farms to learn about agriculture and the production of local food.  Tracy holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition & Foods from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  She is also a graduate of Leadership Maryland.

Elizabeth Beggins

Elizabeth Beggins

elizabeth@chesapeakeharvest.com I 410.200.8431

Elizabeth Beggins, the Production Manager, has spent over a decade as a market farmer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore before becoming a food-focused freelance writer, educator, and vegetable garden consultant. As director of the You Food Project, an initiative rooted in school and community gardens, Elizabeth facilitated increased awareness of the connection between personal and environmental health. She helped launch the St. Michaels farmers market in 1998 and has served in many capacities including market manager, producer, volunteer and adviser. A graduate of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, she moved to the Bay Hundred in 1993. She continues to be active in management of the St. Michaels Farmer’s Market and helps the market navigate growing industry challenges. Her work is key to the market remaining viable and accessible to families in today’s ever-changing food marketplace and sustaining its position as an important part of a healthy community

Deena Deese Kilmon

Deena Deese Kilmon

deena@chesapeakeharvest.com I 410.829.4052

Deena Deese Kilmon, the Sales and Marketing Director, grew up in southern coastal North Carolina, where she learned at her grandmother’s knee how to scratch cook and use local ingredients. After attending college at UNC-Chapel Hill she moved to the Eastern Shore of MD to raise her family with her husband.  Over the years, she owned a 75-seat waterfront restaurant in St. Michaels, MD and worked for SYSCO foods, selling the ingredients that make kitchens run.

Over the years Deena has served on the board of Phillips Wharf Environmental Center in Tilghman Island and helped to educate the public on the importance of a sustainable seafood harvest. As the Sales and Marketing Director for the Chesapeake Harvest, Kilmon is combining her love and belief in fresh, healthy foods for all and her desire to help preserve the rural and agricultural heritage of the special community she now calls home.

Lindsay Gilmour

Lindsay Gilmour

lindsaygilmour@comcast.net

Lindsay is the owner of Organic Planet LLC, and the GAP Food Safety Educator and Group GAP Consultant. Lindsay plays two roles professionally, as a personal chef and culinary instructor specializing in sustainable and healing diets; and as a consultant and educator in regional food systems and Value Chain Coordination, helping farmers meet the demands of the wholesale marketplace. Her current focus is GAP Food Safety education, working with produce farmers, helping develop food safety programs that make sense for them. Lindsay has a particular interest and expertise in helping farmers work together to achieve food safety certification as a group. Currently, Lindsay is working on projects for the Wallace Center at Winrock International, implementing a USDA approved ‘single-entity management’ food safety model as a viable solution for under-resourced, small farm cooperatives. For Chesapeake Harvest, she is helping farmers become Harmonized GAP certified, and working on an initiative to develop a regional Group GAP program.

Pam Skillings

Pam Skillings

pam@chesapeakeharvest.com I 410.690.7348

Pam Skillings, who does the Bookkeeping, is a native of Pennsylvania.  She spent 26 years in corporate sales, working with customers throughout Pennsylvania, and in parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and New Jersey. During that time, Pam held various positions in Marketing, Sales, and as a Sales Instructor in the classroom and over the internet. After retirement, Pam wanted to experience different types of jobs and other ways to use her skill set. One of her main interests since 2010 is studying and learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating and using only organic products. She researches how produce is grown, animal welfare and meat quality, and what seafood is sustainable wild-caught. In addition, she researches the ingredients of other foodstuffs, beauty, and household products that she uses, to continuously educate herself about healthy living. Pam holds a Bachelor of Science degree In Spanish Education and a Master of Arts degree in Guidance and Counseling, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Board of Advisors

Board of Advisors

Chesapeake Harvest Business Advisory Committee

Shannon Dill
sdill@umd.edu | 410.822.1244

Shannon Dill is the Agriculture Extension Educator for University of Maryland Extension in Talbot County.  She has been a faculty member of the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources since 2001. She graduated from the University of Wyoming receiving a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business and a Master of Science in Agriculture Economics.  Shannon provides outreach and education to agriculture producers of Talbot and neighboring counties in farm business planning, sustainable small farm enterprises, marketing and livestock management.  Educational programs have included QuickBooks for Farm Business Planning, Ag Tourism, Equine, Pasture Management and Grain Marketing

Mary Beth Durkin
marybethdurkin@gmail.com  l  301.717.9393

Mary Beth Durkin is founder and owner of Yellow Brick Road Productions, a media company that supplies media outlets with documentaries and short form video content across an array of platforms such as network television, public television, cable TV and the web. Ms. Durkin is a veteran documentary film and news producer with 25 plus years of broadcast production experience. She has won numerous awards for her productions. These include, the 2009 Cine Golden Eagle for Betty Ford: The Real Deal, four Emmy nominations, two National Press Club Arthur Rowse Awards, a New York Festival award for Best Investigative Report and a Columbia

Journalism Review Laurel.  Most recently she was the producer, writer and director for a series of one hour documentaries on “The Modern First Ladies” for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

Before producing the documentary series for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Mary Beth worked for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for nearly a decade.  Prior to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Mary Beth spent over a decade at CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, where she spearheaded their business and economic coverage.  Mary Beth Durkin is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of New York University where she majored in both journalism and history.

Colby Ferguson
cferguson@mdfarmbureau.com
  I  401.922.3426

Colby Ferguson is the Government Relations Director for Maryland Farm Bureau, beginning his role in December 2013.  Colby was the Agriculture Business Development Specialist for Frederick County for nine years prior to joining the MFB team. In that capacity, he worked with elected officials at the state and local level to implement legislation important to the farm community. Prior to his county position, Colby was the sales and marketing manager for Sinclair Cattle Company, a purebred Angus ranch in Pennsylvania. He has also been a nutrition specialist for dairy, beef, swine, sheep and horses with Southern States Cooperative.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science, biotechnology from Oklahoma State University. He is a 2006 LEAD Maryland fellow and currently serves on the LEAD Maryland Board of Directors. Colby also serves on the Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors and represents Maryland Farm Bureau on the MD Aquaculture Coordinating Council and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. Ferguson is an experienced livestock judge and coach.

John E. Hall
jehgrain@gmail.com | 410.708.8781

John E. Hall has served as the Extension Agent and Kent County Extension Director for the Agriculture & Natural Resources University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, as well as Professor President of Chesapeake Fields Institute. As Extension Director, Mr. Hall represented the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and serves as County Extension Director in Kent County, Maryland.

John has made 12 national, 1 international, and countless regional and state presentations. He has conducted workshops in farm management, business organizations, grain marketing, organic grain production, nutrient management, and pesticide application usage. He has also produced video programs on organic grain production and building value added agricultural enterprises that have been distributed nationally. Hall has raised approximately $1 million dollars in grants in the past 6 years of his Extension career.

In 1999, John organized a community-based needs assessment discussion group that met bi-monthly. Chesapeake Fields Institute (CFI) evolved from this discussion group in 2000. The community-based group has embraced the mission, ”Preservation Through Profitability”. In 2003, CFI launched Chesapeake Fields Farmers LLC, a for-profit to build the infrastructure necessary to develop value added markets for the region. The LLC, has received 2 valued added grants and completed a $1 million equity drive.

Anthony (Tony) P. Kern
darnallfarm@me.com | 301.332.4105 

Tony Kern is a recognized industry expert in the field of technology, media and telecommunications with extensive experience in management consulting and strategy across numerous industries. He has provided business counsel to boards and senior management of some of the top companies in the world and advised on issues related to corporate finance, M&A, restructuring and innovation.  Most recently he served as U.S. Deputy Managing Partner of Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group and the firm’s Global Managing Partner of Innovation.

Tony has successfully started and sold several companies in the communications, technology, and energy industries, as well as taught advanced industry seminars on the future of consumer interactions with new technology, traditional media and telecoms. As a recognized and respected speaker in the industry, he has been interviewed by the press including the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, CNBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, Dow Jones News-Wire and Fortune Magazine. During his career, Tony has made legacy predictions and forecasts regarding wireless networks, applied internet solutions, social media, and the energy industry. 

Ron Kopicki
rkopicki@gmail.com

Ron Kopicki is a world-class expert in food chain analysis, design and development. Through his work with the World Bank, Ron has successfully completed reforms to the logistics and food marketing systems of more than 60 developing countries. Rom manages a financial advisory firm which works at the intersection of logistics services and agricultural market development.

Jordan Lloyd
www.bartlettpearinn.com  I  410-770-3300

Jordan Lloyd, a native of Easton, Maryland, traveled the East Coast gaining the experiences that would later serve him at the Bartlett Pear Inn. Jordan worked with Michel Richard at Citronelle, Thomas Keller at Per Se in NYC and with Christian Delouvrier at La Goulue in the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami. Additionally, Jordan learned European-style service at Auberge du Soleil in Hilton Head, South Carolina and The Four Seasons in Washington DC. Having achieved so many extraordinary experiences, Jordan felt his hometown of Easton was the place to settle down and raise a family.  Jordan and his wife Alice currently own and operate the historic Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton, MD.  Jordan has recently taken a position as an Executive Chef with the Clyde’s Group. He is an advisory chef for their whole program, and will be building new pastry programs as well as working to create a more local farm to table program for their menus.

Niamh Shortt
niamh@futureharvestcasa.org   

Niamh Shortt is an Eastern Shore of Maryland native and has worked on various farms throughout the region: Calliope Farm, Salisbury, MD; Greenbranch Farm, Salisbury, MD; Herbs and Spice Farm, Selbyville, DE; and Hattie’s Garden, Lewes, DE. Recently she worked as the Project Manager for a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant awarded to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market in Lewes, DE – in that role she organized and ran workshops, market events, and experiments to help bolster the regional consumption and production of locally produced agricultural products. She has a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and a MSc in Sustainable Development from Trinity College Ireland. She became interested in farming while living in New Orleans, LA, but didn’t really “dig in” until 2012 when she started farming in her parents’ homeland, Ireland. She is impressed by the length of the growing season here on Delmarva and believes that this rich-agricultural region has the potential to grow and shine even more.

Matthew (Matt) Teffeau
Matthew.Teffeau@maryland.gov   I  410.841.5886

Matthew Teffeau is the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Director of Government Relations. Matt joined the Department of Agriculture after serving three years as the Assistant Director of Government Relations at Maryland Farm Bureau. Prior to that, Matt gained legislative experience working for U.S. Representative Andy Harris in Washington, D.C., and the Maryland House Republican Caucus in Annapolis. During his time with Maryland Farm Bureau, Matt effectively lobbied members of the Maryland General Assembly on a range of issues including energy, natural resources and transportation.

The Caroline County native graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Salisbury University. Matt is a LEAD Maryland Fellow, which is dedicated to identifying and developing leadership to serve agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

John Trax
johnr.trax@aol.com I 410.829.3755 (m) 410.822.0338 (w)

John R. Trax, Retired Civil/ Environmental Professional Engineer managed Engineering Programs for the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. He directed Engineering programs for the National Rural Water Association and served Talbot County as a board member and Chair of the Economic Development Commission, and as a member of the Planning Commission. John served on several volunteer community organizations and boards including the Church of the Brethren, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Talbot County Farm Bureau, Easton Ruritan Club and Chesapeake Fields. John participated in many study groups associated with agriculture issues in Talbot County and maintains a family farming enterprise.

Parker Welch
pwelch@mdfarmbureau.com  I  443.480.4059  
 

Parker is the Eastern Shore Regional Director Young Farmers Committee Staffer, for the Maryland Farm Bureau.  Parker works with the 9 counties from Cecil to Worcester as both the liaison with Maryland Farm Bureau and as their local affairs representative. He works with county Farm Bureau Presidents to recognize county issues and provide leadership development training.  Parker also works to increase membership on the Eastern Shore and track local or regional activities that impact farmers.

Prior to joining Maryland Farm Bureau, Parker wrote for Holstein World and was an Associate Editor and Marketing Assistant. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech to earn a degree in Dairy Science and a minor in Professional Writing.  Parker has been active in 4-H and several dairy clubs in Maryland and New York.

Ann Harvey Yonkers
annyonkers@freshfarmmarket.org | 202.486.9310

www.freshfarmmarkets.org

Ann Harvey Yonkers is co-founder and co-executive director of FRESHFARM Markets. A lifelong environmentalist and local-food advocate, Ann is one of the early leaders in the movement to transform the way Washingtonians eat. She is compelled by the idea that eating locally makes sense from every point of view—flavor, the environment, health and sustainability. Ann has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades including being named one of the 100 most powerful women in Washington, DC, by Washingtonian magazine. In 2012, Washingtonian again recognized Ann and FRESHFARM Markets co-executive director Bernadine Prince as “Green Giants.” That same year, she and Bernadine were also recognized by Mayor Vincent Gray with the Mayor’s Sustainability Award for their dedication to providing fresh, healthy food to neighborhoods in the District of Columbia for more than a decade. Nationally, Ann has been recognized as a “Woman Who Inspires” by Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She is the past president of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and holds a professional culinary degree from L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD. She has appeared in local and national media including Cooking Light, Natural Home, Chesapeake Life, Washington Business Journal and the Washington Post. She and her husband, Charlie, own Pot Pie Farm, outside of St. Michaels, MD, where they raise laying hens on pasture and grow vegetables and fruits using organic methods.

Our Partners

EEDC

EEDC

The Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization formed in 2013, was created to promote economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business formation in order to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works towards maintaining Easton’s continued growth as a diverse, healthy and smart town, leading innovation where the land and water meet. The EEDC seeks to support and enhance the region’s rich agricultural and seafood heritage through a variety of projects, including: Launching a food hub to connect local food producers to unmet demand for healthy, local foods within a 200-mile food-shed area and attracting and supporting healthy food producer businesses. 

Chesapeake College

Chesapeake College, founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, serves the growing needs of the upper and middle Eastern Shore including Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties.
A new agriculture program is in the final stages of development at Chesapeake College to provide students with an opportunity to receive an Associate of Arts Degree in Agriculture, the only one of its kind in the state of Maryland. Two tracks of study are proposed – a standard agriculture track and a sustainable agriculture track. It’s anticipated that this program will launch in 2016.

Chesapeake Culinary Center

Chesapeake Culinary Center is a grassroots, community-driven non-profit organization that promotes a positive culinary learning experience for students, and a professionally trained workforce in the culinary industry. Established in the Fall of 2004, Chesapeake Culinary Center provides culinary training to youth, students, and adults and a catering service that allows students to have practicum learning experience in the industry.

Eastern Shore Food Hub Corp.

Eastern Shore Food Hub Corp. (ESFH) is a Maryland non-profit organization formed for the purposes of providing educational services to increase public awareness and engagement in consuming healthy foods; increasing community access to healthy foods; making available to emerging farmers shared resources and training opportunities; and increasing public awareness on the connection between food choices, personal and public health, agriculture and the environment.

Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (FH/CASA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide education, networking, and advocacy to help build a sustainable Chesapeake foodshed where food flows from farm and fishery to table in ways that strengthen farming and the regional food economy; protect our land, water, and air; and provide healthy, nutritious food that sustains the region’s communities and cities.

Town Creek Foundation

The Town Creek Foundation was established in 1981 by Edmund “Ted” Stanley, a retired printing industry executive. Over the years their grantmaking has ranged across a broad geographic and programmatic scope. In recent years they have sharpened the focus of their grantmaking, and today their mission is to provide resources to help catalyze, support, and accelerate progressive changes in environmental policy and practice within the State of Maryland.

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops. AMS also provides the agriculture industry with valuable services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country.

CHESAPEAKE HARVEST

101 Marlboro Avenue, Suite 53
Easton MD, 21601
410.829.4052
sales@chesapeakeharvest.com

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