The Grove Wins Best in Category for Community & Economic Development
Harford County government has earned national recognition for four innovative and effective programs.
The National Association of Counties’ highest 2022 award, Best in Category, went to Harford’s agribusiness incubator, The Grove, in the category for Community and Economic Development.
Three other NACo Achievement Awards were given to Harford County programs that support first-responders in the opioid epidemic, help disabled recipients navigate Medicare, and improve land preservation using technology.
Harford County has earned a total of 20 NACo awards during the Glassman administration.
“NACo awards matter because they focus on programs that really help people and can be replicated by other jurisdictions,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “I am proud that Harford County continues to be a leader in this area, and I would like to thank my staff for bringing these programs to our citizens and businesses.”
Brief summaries of Harford County’s 2022 award-winning programs are below.
Best in Category: The Grove at Harford is an agribusiness incubator for local farmers, artists, and food processors to sell their products directly to consumers and to promote local agriculture commerce and sustainability. Vendors lease space in The Grove’s barn-like open-air building with eight interior stalls, two kiosks and available exterior stands. The Grove also hosts special events that make it a destination for residents to gather in the heart of Harford’s farming community and enjoy food, entertainment, and shopping. The Grove’s site includes a one-stop location for local ag offices and meeting rooms, a preserved historic home displaying farm-themed artifacts, an ag-themed playground, and walking trails that will soon connect to an ag-themed library that is under construction.
Understanding First Responders’ Role in Recovery
The opioid epidemic has taken a toll on first responders. Except for instruction on how to provide Narcan, most do not receive standardized training on substance use disorder, its impacts on patients and how, as first responders, they could make a difference. Understanding First Responders’ Role in Recovery is a two-hour training that informs first responders about the disease of addiction and identifies opportunities for them to encourage treatment and provide resources to family members in the home. The training includes information on the first responder’s own risk of substance use disorder due to PTSD, long hours, repetitive traumatic calls, and little sleep or downtime. Approved by Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems for required Continuing Education Units (CEUS), the training has also been recognized by state agencies as a best practice. Since inception, Harford County has trained more than 150 local first responders including firefighters, EMS providers, law enforcement and telecommunicators.
ALVIN – The Agricultural Land Valuation Index
Harford County has an agricultural land preservation program that protects land from future development. Through a voluntary agreement with the landowner, the county purchases the land’s development rights and places an easement on the property, forever restricting future development.
ALVIN: The Agricultural Land Valuation Index, is a computer software program to establish a monetary value for land placed in agricultural preservation. The program evaluates soil productivity, land quality, development potential, site location, and other factors to develop a valuation. Then it calculates a competitive ranking score to prioritize the parcels evaluated for inclusion in the county’s agricultural preservation program.
Using the ALVIN program has dramatically increased the efficiency of Harford’s agricultural land preservation program; has improved the quality of land preserved; reduced staff resources needed to administer the program and provided an enhanced level of service to program applicants.
Transitioning to Medicare
Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 are notoriously underserved. Harford County’s Transitioning to Medicare educational folder for the under-65 disabled population is a step-by-step resource to help them meet essential deadlines and navigate the transition from Medical Assistance to Medicare in a more informed and organized manner. This population has limited choices that supplement Medicare and hard deadlines that are many times unmet because access to timely information and resources can be sporadic and confusing. The resources contained in the folder allow recipients to follow the transition steps to become properly insured and able to make informed choices as their circumstances change.