Annual Sustainable Emporium Attracts Successful HCC Alumnus
Alumnus Jared Gulliford has always enjoyed digging in the dirt. And when it came to a job, he longed for a fulfilling career working in the sunshine, surrounded by friends and family.
So in 2015, he started Earth First Farm, a local, eco-friendly farm based in Highland, Maryland that produces eco-systems, art, and clean food for the Howard County community.
On Thursday, March 17, Earth First Farm made its first appearance at HCC’s annual Sustainable Emporium, where more than two dozen local green vendors and agencies set up in the Burrill Galleria to show off their sustainability efforts. Gulliford’s “Mighty Micro Mix,” bags of superfoods arugula, chard, cabbage and kale, were a hit.
A few tables down, Howard County “Beekeeper Extraordinaire” Jeff Crooks was also staying busy. He said the Howard County Beekeepers have been very active lately. The group’s last course, “Intro into Beekeeping” brought out more than 100 people.
“That’s how popular it’s become,” he said. “They’re interested in the sustainability, learning about it and doing something about it.”
Sustainability is one of Howard Community College’s values. Academically and operationally, the college is committed to limiting its collective impact on the earth and to taking a leadership position in promoting sustainability practices in the community and beyond. On campus, one example is the popular water bottle station installed in each building. These stations allow students and staff to fill and refill their own water bottles instead of buying and discarding bottled water.
The campus’ Rain Garden is also popular, said Bob Marietta, facility renovations, sustainability, and safety manager. Rain gardens catch run off from storms and prevent it from going into the rivers and the bay. These gardens keep streams clean, said Giselle Hardy, an intern working with the HCC sustainability team.
In recent years, the college received a large grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to restore the campus’ central stream. Marietta said Howard County Government will soon start restoring the eastern streams on campus.
Another bright idea underway on campus is the ongoing replacement of halogen lightbulbs with LED lights, which use less energy.
And with commencement soon approaching, the college is bringing back the graduation gown return. This is the second year collecting old gowns to be recycled for future graduates. Gowns can be returned after the ceremony or at the campus bookstore.
“We expect a big crowd from last year to bring their gowns back,” Marietta said.