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USDA awards $1.6 million total to five SC food providers

Money will fund improvements to local farmers markets, create new business opportunities in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina is the recipient of $1.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service as part of $64 million available nationwide. South Carolina's allocation will go to five grant projects aimed at assisting food entities to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for business.

The funding is made possible through the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). LAMP encompasses two grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS): the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and the Regional Food System Partnerships Program (RFSP). FMLFPP is implemented through two components, which include the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). Grant recipients in South Carolina are receiving $397,500 in FMPP funds and $1,232,655 in LFPP funds.

The FMPP recipients are:

  • Axis 1 Center in Barnwell: $147,500 award; $59,200 matching funds; $206,700 total to redevelop the Barnwell Farmers Market, establishing an enduring seasonal market that actively works to improve food accessibility and economic stability. 
  • Family Health Centers, Inc, Orangeburg: $250,000 award; $119,073 matching funds; $369,073 total to create the Right Choice Fresh Start Mobile Farmer's Market -- a mobile farmers market that will bring locally grown produce to consumers in priority areas. FMPP funds will be used to retrofit a bus, purchased with health center funds, for use as the mobile market. Grant funds will be used to hire a Market Manager/Driver and a Sales Assistant to staff the mobile market. Host sites will include FHC satellite sites and Senior Centers in priority areas. South Carolina State University’s 1890 Extension Program will assist in the recruitment of additional local vendors. 

LFPP recipients include

  • Catawba Farm and Food Coalition, Chester: $323,080 award; $127,937.12 matching funds; $451,017.12 total to connect local farmers to an already developed and implemented online farmers market and year-round brick-and-mortar farmers market store, both of which are designed and working to increase product sales for local South Carolina farmers. It will also create access to a new mobile fresh food market utilizing the refrigerated van owned by the coalition. Through working in rural areas with partners, this project will also allow greater access to local food in food deserts throughout the Upstate and Piedmont Regions of South Carolina. Funding will allow the Catawba Farm and Food Coalition to expand on current delivery routes and product pick-up routes through the counties of Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union, York, and the Catawba Indian Nation. 
  • Low Country Fresh, LLC., Bluffton: $500,000 award; $125,000 matching funds; $625,000 total to construct a grocery and cafe whose mission is to support farmers, fishermen, and other producers within a 250-mile radius of the store.
  • Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, Greenville: $409,575.84 award; $208,706.29 matching funds; $618,282.13 total to provide intentional support to new, beginning, small, and historically underserved farmers, including guidance on packaging, food safety, and marketing. With additional staffing and a promotion plan that highlights local farmers, SRCG will promote local farmers and food to consumers. By the end of the 3-year project period, the SRCG will increase the number of local producers from whom it purchases, and increase the amount of local produce purchased from local producers. 

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