Seafood grown as part of aquaculture research will help provide healthy food options in underserved communities in a new program launching this week.
The United Way of Central Maryland organized partners around the FISH Project, short for Feeding Individuals to Support Health. It brings together four organizations to distribute food from an Inner Harbor marine research center to organizations working on food access. Stats show that 319,000 people in Central Maryland are food insecure, and in Baltimore 23.5 percent of residents live in Healthy Food Priority Areas.
“Helping at-risk families become successful is at the heart of our work — and to achieve this, we believe it is critical for these families to obtain healthy, affordable food,” Franklyn Baker, CEO of the United Way of Central Maryland, said in an announcement of the program on Monday. “The goal of this program is to not only break down the barrier to accessing nutritious protein-based foods, but to instill the importance of healthy eating to sustain healthy living.”
Currently, fish that is suitable for eating is being grown and harvested at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) by scientists from UMBC and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The aquaculture research is initially producing bronzini, which is a Mediterranean sea bass.
“These bronzini were grown in IMET’s Aquaculture Research Center using advanced technology that ensures healthy, nutritious fish produced in a totally sustainable way with no release of pollution to the environment,” said IMET Director Russell Hill.
The FISH Project takes that work from the lab to the community. The fish are being packaged and processed at Elkridge-based seafood distributor JJ McDonnell, then distributed to partner nonprofits like the Maryland Food Bank, Moveable Feast and the Franciscan Center of Baltimore. The latter hosted Monday’s announcement.
— UnitedWayofCentralMD (@UnitedWayCM) June 25, 2018
To go along with the fish, McCormick is providing recipes for preparation that are designed to include low-cost ingredients through its Flavor for Life program.
IMET indicated shrimp could be harvested as soon as December for the program as it looks to expand.