Annapolis-based Grow & Fortify, a firm specializing in consultation and business development in the value-added agriculture industry, will close its doors at the end of the year. Founded in 2015 by Kevin Atticks, who now serves as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture, Grow & Fortify was set up to nurture and empower value-added agriculture businesses, while fortifying the state’s craft alcohol industry.

Grow & Fortify quickly became the foremost authority on value-added agriculture operations and regulatory guidance in Maryland. The team at Grow & Fortify worked with industry stakeholders, legislators, regulators, and community leaders throughout the state to affect meaningful change to regulations and laws in counties throughout the state.

The Grow Maryland Summit was launched in 2016 as a biennial gathering to focus on value-added agriculture businesses and opportunities. This policy and entrepreneurship summit was rebranded in 2018 as the Grow & Fortify Summit. Its most recent iteration in December of 2022 garnered more than 200 attendees from around the state and region.

The firm’s Regulatory Resource Hub debuted in 2018, providing a one-stop venue for startups to learn about the licenses and regulations pertaining to their prospective value-added agricultural business.

In 2020, the firm published the first-ever economic analysis of the state’s value-added agriculture industry, noting its $20.6 billion impact across dozens of sectors, including craft alcohol, dairy, equine and agritourism, and featured case studies on the regulatory challenges these businesses faced. This report led to policy initiatives expanding the viability of the value-added agriculture industry.

Grow & Fortify also played a key role in managing Maryland’s three craft beverage trade associations, representing nearly 300 small, local manufacturers. Maryland’s craft beverage alcohol industry provides $6.2 billion of economic impact and directly contributes to more than 55,000 jobs in the state.