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Frostburg Grows Recognized by Maryland’s Sustainable Growth Commission

Frostburg Grows Recognized by Maryland’s Sustainable Growth Commission
Frostburg Grows has required a wide partnership to succeed. Some key players are, from left, Willie Lantz, University of Maryland Extension; FSU student Nathan Bennett, site manager; Dr. Dan Fiscus, FSU Sustainability liaison; AmeriCorps member Louise Potter; project coordinator Corey Armstrong; Paul Kayzak, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the originator of the project; Craig Hartsock, president of Western Maryland Resource Conservation & Development Council; former AmeriCorps member Alex Williams; Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Frostburg Grows: Grow it Local Greenhouse Project, a program that is converting a reclaimed strip mine into a greenhouse complex, received a Sustainability Award from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission for leadership, community planning and conservation at the Commission’s second annual forum and awards ceremony Feb. 5. Frostburg Grows was one of eight award recipients. The smart growth project, established and developed by Frostburg State University, in partnership with the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, is gaining ground and putting Western Maryland on the map for its sustainability efforts.

“I’m proud of our University and our partner organizations for making progress on this important project, which is completely off the grid and is giving our students firsthand learning experiences to study restoration and participate in activities that support sustainability,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “Frostburg Grows is very much in line with FSU’s commitment to environmental stewardship and providing students with professional development opportunities.”

The Frostburg Grows complex is teaching local growers to make better use of their land to increase the availability of local food, cultivating native tree seedlings for stream buffers and other restoration projects and providing a living classroom to FSU students. The location, which once stored FEMA trailers, features two high-tunnel greenhouses growing abundant yields of foods such as tomatoes, peppers and raspberries, and a shade house for tree seedlings. Four more high-tunnel greenhouses are planned or under construction.

The project is powered entirely by renewable resources: the plants are watered largely by collected rainwater utilizing a solar-heated drip irrigation system, with pumps powered by solar cells. Old highway signs that were donated by the Maryland State Highway Administration have been recycled into planters and water storage tanks.

Frostburg Grows offers workshops so the community can learn how to build and operate tree nurseries and high tunnel greenhouses. In particular, Frostburg Grows identifies ways to grow local fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse environment, techniques that can be shared with area growers to extend their growing season and make more efficient use of their land.

The environmental, social and economic goals of Frostburg Grows are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce Potomac River basin flooding, reduce acid mine drainage, re-establish natural forested habitat on strip-mined lands, create employment opportunities on site, create a training facility that will help create additional job opportunities, reduce food insecurity, provide local healthy food to the residents of Western Maryland and serve as a model for Appalachia.

To learn more about Frostburg Grows, visit A video about the project can be viewed at

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.


For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589