Online map serves as key for Harford marketers
Harford County gave a boost to its farmers last month when it launched the Harford Farm Finder, an interactive, online map showing all farms selling to local customers.
The map is part of larger county effort to take advantage of its digital mapping and data work to create new products that benefit residents and business owners, including farmers, said Cindy Mumby, a county spokesperson.
“It really is helpful, I think, for the farmers, some of whom don’t have a website, and they have limited means to promote their products,” she said.
The map, which can be viewed here, identifies each farm with an icon of the primary product sold. A menu to the right of the map allows users to sort those farms by commodities such as apples, beef, Christmas trees, cheese, corn eggs and hay.
Mike Doran, owner of Highview Farms in Whiteford, said he’d love to see the map send new business to his farm, which sells beef and hay. It ought to boost interest in local food, including beef, he said.
“It’s a great thing,” said Doran, 75. “You hear all these horror stories about … imitation meat, but it seems like the people in Harford County — even the urban people in the development corridor — they seem to embrace it.”
Mike Doran runs the farm with his wife Carol and his adult son and daughter, Mike and Diane.
The county’s planning and zoning department developed the Farm Finder in partnership with Harford Community College and North Harford High School’s popular agricultural magnet program. The idea for it was hatched after the county successfully debuted a similar map for Christmas tree farms several years ago, Mumby said.
“This is all in keeping with the county executive’s direction to us to turn the face of government to service citizens,” she said.
Since then the county has also used its geographic information systems technology to build similar maps detailing road projects and closures.
The county also recently debuted its Barn Quilt Trail, which showcases the county’s agricultural community by highlighting agribusinesses, nature centers, wildlife preserves and other attractions that display prominent, painted quilts on barns and other structures owned by local farmers. Stops on the trail can be viewed online at www.barnquiltsofharfordcounty.com.
The site also includes other attractions such as restaurants, breweries, museums and dairies. Trail fans can also post selfies on Instagram to be eligible for prizes.
“It brings art to these agricultural settings, but it’s also a nice way to plan a day in Harford County,” Mumby said. “You can create a fun day for yourself. There’s actually one on an alpaca farm.”
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