STATEWIDE – An established group of leaders across South Carolina’s food system are launching a new network, Growing Local SC, to cultivate a thriving, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and just food economy providing access to healthy food for all. The Growing Local SC local food network is one of 30 national projects awarded funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Regional Food System Partnership Grant program. With ten project partners, matching funds from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, and project oversight from the South Carolina Food Policy Council, this highly collaborative and cross-sector network is a decade in the making.
“Growing Local SC brings leaders together to create community-based solutions for a resilient food system for South Carolina,” states Project Director Nikki Seibert Kelley. Mrs. Kelley notes, “Local food systems are complex and highly place-based, making it essential for communities to build networks around the people working locally to get food from farms and gardens to the table.” The pandemic highlighted the vulnerability in global supply chains, demonstrating the importance of building regional economies able to withstand disturbances. Growing Local SC brings together agencies, organizations, coalitions, food hubs, and businesses to create a network focused on building systems to equitability, effectively, and economically source, aggregate, and distribute local food to South Carolinians. Growing Local SC is designed to be reflective of the state’s local food system and also includes Wholespire, University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health SNAP-Ed Implementing Agency, SC Food Hub Network (coordinated by Alison Pierce), Rural Resource Coalition, Bonita Global, LLC, Alianza Latina of the Midlands, SC State University Small Business Development Center, and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
Food system leaders across the state are encouraged to engage in Growing Local SC by joining the South Carolina Food Policy Council as a member, participating in the annual meetings, and getting engaged through committees, local food councils, and coalitions. Visit www.growinglocalsc.org for more information.