Comfort Food, Delicious Social Action

We at The Bearcamp Center believe that nutritious and delicious food, raised by people not corporations, is a right and not a privilege. Working to ensure accessibility to locally-sourced meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and grains is key to this belief. For more than a decade, 1164 Bunker Hill Road has been a food hub, serving up weekly Farmers’ Table lunches, summer dinners, and our annual Giving Thanks Feast, all made from the most lush and delicious local foods we can grow, raise, forage, or find within a 75-mile radius, supporting not only our own farm but more than 70 local food producers. In order to maximize accessibility, our meals are served on a by-donation basis, with few notable fundraising exceptions.

During the corona virus pandemic of 2020, our kitchen went into full production to make meals for our community. We retrofitted our farm stand with freezers and a refrigerator stocked with 400-500 meals each week, offered by donation with the guideline to pay “what you can or what you think the meal and service is worth.” Through this program, we supported those suffering from economic downturns brought on by wide-spread shutdowns; those who feared due to the unpredictability of viral contagion the most basic chores of shopping for groceries; and our neighbors who simply craved the emotional sustenance good food lovingly-prepared can bring to a table. Local farmers and producers donated goods, folks with means sent funds to underwrite the program, and many bellies were filled. With 20,500 meals served to date, we are shifting our focus from pandemic need to addressing the pervasive reality of hunger in central Carroll County.

As part of our over-all efforts to build food awareness and security, we preserve the local harvest to be savored through the colder months when we still crave that particular freshness but can’t nip out to our gardens to find it. Processing that which we raise ourselves helps us to close the loop of self-reliance.

With our transition from working as a school to a community center, The Bearcamp Center picks up this mantle. As of December 2021, 20,500 meals have been served; our Comfort Food pick up site was moved into the farm house; grant funding pays for a cook to expand our meal prep and our team to explore supporting local school-age children and their families with weekend meals; private funds have been donated to upgrade our kitchen, preparing us to add a commercial convection oven and two new freezers!