November 21, 2016
By Kelly Pace
Pace & Love Food Marketing
My name is Kelly Pace Stegman and I founded Pace & Love Marketing in November 2015. The decision to start my own business was simple: I want to help makers, producers and farmers by marketing their products.
I do this through social media marketing, merchandising consulting and food brokering. It’s been a wonderful first year, and I’m grateful for all of the people I have met who share my passion for food.
When a friend invited me to a Fair Farms event, I was happy to attend. It was clear to me that becoming a Fair Farms partner through my business was a perfect way to collaborate with an organization who shares my ideals. I challenge everyone to learn about the movement and if it resonates with you — take the pledge!
I love Maryland. My dad grew up on the Severn River and his siblings all settled in this beautiful state. Spending time with family consisted of crab feasts, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and fishing on the dock. We often visited my Aunt Nancy on her farm “Rock Hill Orchard” in Mt. Airy.
Spending time on the farm was special. We always picked strawberries in June and I still remember how juicy and sweet they tasted. Celebrating the seasons on the farm led me to deeply appreciate farm life. Understanding that my aunt and uncle dedicated their lives every day to the feeding people has stuck with me. They retired many years ago and resettled on the Eastern Shore. Although I can’t visit Rock Hill Orchard anymore, the memories have stayed with me and laid a foundation for my love of food.
In college, I majored in Food Marketing because of my passion for food, farms, cooking and of course, marketing. I spent a semester studying abroad in Italy, tasting my way through 25 flavorful cities and towns. My favorite part was visiting the vineyards of Tuscany. I realized that even though they weren’t growing strawberries or pumpkins, these grape growers were farmers. They worked tirelessly during harvest and produced wine to share with people around the world. I loved learning the stories of each family-owned vineyard and appreciated their work ethic.
While in Florence, I learned about the “Slow Food Movement,” a reaction to the fast food fad. The Slow Food Movement brings together people who appreciate real food and make choices that are best for the community and the environment.
Immersed in these ideals, I began skipping grocery stores in order to shop at the Mercado Centrale or the smaller market on Via de Macchi closer to my apartment in Piazza Santa Croce. I spoke to farmers or butchers and gained a true understanding of the origins of my food. At the time, I thought that this was just the Italian way and that I’d never be able to replicate my lifestyle when I returned to the United States.
I moved to Baltimore in 2011. Immediately, I felt an overwhelming desire to reconnect with the Slow Food Movement and seek out locally grown food. I found the Baltimore Farmers Market under the Jones Falls Expressway and instantly connected. I became friends with the farmers and understood their stories, how they grew their produce, their cooking recommendations and best practices. My eyes were open to this way of life and I decided that I would make a living out of my passion.
Pace & Love Marketing’s clients are food and beverage producers, makers, and farmers. I work on getting their products into high volume retailers, and assist those efforts with social media and merchandising support. I love what I do and with whom I work — because we are all living our passion and carrying out our dream. As consumers, you have a vital role in which kind of food system you choose to support. By signing on as a Fair Farms consumer, you are making the choice to facilitate the growth of a more just, and fair food system.