June symposium highlights So. Md. tobacco culture, traditions
The heritage of Maryland’s tobacco industry is the focus of a symposium from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 11, inside the tobacco barn at Serenity Farm in Benedict.
The discussion, moderated by Buddy Hance, former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture, will highlight the role of basketry used to transport tobacco to market, early uses of tobacco by American Indians, the role of tobacco in the founding of St. Mary’s City and Port Tobacco and the social and family cultural fabric and community heritage raising tobacco. Lastly, the event will examine the transformation of farming since the state buy-out of tobacco farms and the Farm Heritage Conservancy’s preservation of Southern Maryland farmland.
Tobacco plays a prominent role in Maryland’s history. Known as the “Money Crop,” it brought financial success and good fortune to Maryland farmers until 1998 when the federal government, 46 states and the tobacco companies signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which resulted in more than 90 percent of Maryland tobacco farmers exiting the industry, effectively ending the tradition of tobacco warehouses and the auction market in Maryland.
To help preserve tobacco’s unique history in the state, the Center for Research in Basketry (CRB), the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), the Maryland Agricultural Extension Service of St. Mary’s County, Serenity Farm and the Farm Heritage Conservancy are hosting the symposium. Serenity Farm, which is donating its space for the event, will also offer a visit to the sacred burial ground of enslaved African Americans, and shopping in its Harvest House.
The symposium specifically recognizes the role of basket flats and the influence of coopering (hogsheads) used to transport tobacco to market. Until the 1900s, hogsheads (or barrels) were packed with tobacco and rolled to ships that transported the crop to Baltimore and beyond. At the same time, tobacco baskets were made in North Carolina until the buy-out to transport, weigh and measure tobacco.
During the symposium, many tobacco baskets will be on display, as will an exhibit of Czech family tobacco artifacts and a still, and an exhibit of tools used in planting and harvesting tobacco. Tobacco sticks and crafts will be sold. The Marshal Sheets Cooperage will demonstrate the art of coopering and sell coopered dog bowls. Book sales include Memories of Sotterly, by local residents Richard and Shawn Knott, and Faith and Tobacco, by Franklin Robinson. Exhibitors include Port Tobacco, the Farm Heritage Conservancy, SMADC, University of Maryland Agricultural Extension Services, St. Mary’s County and the Maryland Capitol Park and Planning Commission.
Volunteers needed for adult dental clinic
Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy needs volunteers for their dental clinic to be held 6 a.m.-4 p.m. July 29-30 at North Point High School, 2500 Davis Road, Waldorf. Mission of Mercy is a free adult dental clinic provided by volunteer dental professionals and volunteer staff. Volunteer dental professionals (dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants) are needed. Volunteers also needed in areas of security, parking, volunteer and patient registration, meals, escorting patients throughout the clinic and more. Morning and afternoon shifts for each position needed. To volunteer or for information, go to www.southernmdmom.org (click ‘Volunteer’ tab to register as volunteer). For more information, call 301-884-4438.
Job Match Re-Employment Project to host free networking event
For four years, the “Nine Innings of Networking” hiring event connected a wide variety of employers with more than 1,800 job seekers for face time with government, business and community leaders last year alone. This year, the event will be noon-4 p.m. June 27 at Regency Furniture Stadium, Waldorf, hosted by the Southern Maryland Workforce Development Investment Board of the Tri-County Council (TCC), the Job Match Re-Employment Project, The American Job Centers/ JobSource and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (DLLR).
The “Nine Innings of Networking” team plans to bring together employers representing a range of companies from various sectors, including defense contractors, home services, transportation, construction, health services, government agencies, hospitality, staffing, retail and home-based businesses. A Business2Business reception will be held in the Legends Room from 5:30-7 p.m.
Nominally-priced sponsorship opportunities are available, ranging from $500 to $2,500. All sponsorship levels offer a variety of incentives, including advertising and complimentary game tickets to the championship-winning Blue Crabs baseball game later in the evening.
Space is limited and early registration is recommended. To become an employer or sponsor of “Nine Innings of Networking,” contact Eleanor Nelson, director of Job Match Re-Employment Project, at 240-419-3367 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. More information and online registration is available at www. jobmatchproject.com.