August 15, 2017
In an effort to integrate Washington College’s innovative new Eastern Shore Food Lab directly with the local Chestertown community, the College announced today that the Food Lab will be based downtown in the building which presently houses the Blue Heron Café.
Larry Culp, chair of the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, purchased the building from Blue Heron owner Paul Hanley, who has operated the popular eatery since 1997. The Blue Heron Café will continue to serve customers through October, after which the space will undergo renovation in preparation for the opening next year of the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College (ESFL).
“Washington College is committed to providing our undergraduates with an education they can’t get anywhere else. The Eastern Shore Food Lab embodies this goal, a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary centerpiece of broader programming that will change the way we think about food, from access to diet and health,” says College President Kurt Landgraf. “Community involvement is key to the Lab’s mission, and basing it in this terrific property in the heart of downtown Chestertown will spark that. We are deeply grateful for Larry Culp’s foresight in understanding the key nature of this relationship, and his continued extraordinary commitment to Washington College.”
“One of the Food Lab’s fundamental missions is to engage the community as we address this region’s food resources, traditions, and history, with an eye toward how we can make positive changes in the future,” says Bill Schindler, the inaugural director of the lab, chair of the College’s Department of Anthropology, and an international expert in the intersection of primitive foodways, technologies, and contemporary innovations in food systems. “Not only will it enable our students and local residents work together, I fully expect the ESFL to draw experts from all over the world to Chestertown to participate in this hub of innovation as we create food system solutions that are environmentally and culturally sustainable.”