FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Frederick County, Maryland has been presented with one of the state’s “Sustainable Growth Awards” by the Maryland Department of Planning.

According to County Executive Jan Gardner, this award is the result of a collaboration between local government and residents of the area.

“I asked industry leaders in our community what the county could do to help. They told me they needed to add value and diversify their existing operations,” Gardner said. “With the support of the county council, we advanced a new initiative.”

That initiative is the “Agriculture Innovation Grant Program“, which was introduced this year. Gardner explained the program provides farmers with the funds to expand their businesses and branch out into new food markets. The primary goal of the initiative is to preserve and improve the farming industry for future generations.

A total of 10 awards were presented to various organizations, programs and individuals across the state.