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New statewide network aims to strengthen South Carolina's food economy

Growing Local SC will connect local growers, producers, processors and distributors to support and strengthen the state's food system

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new statewide network has been created to make it easier for South Carolina's farmers and food producers to get their products from the farm to your table.

Growing Local SC is bringing together local food hubs, agencies, organizations, coalitions and businesses to create a resilient food distribution network built on equitability and effectiveness to bring local food to South Carolinians. 

The network is funded $479,893 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Regional Food System Partnership Grant and $133,687 in matching funds from the SC Department of Agriculture, for a total investment of $613,580. 

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the fragility of supply chains, with food not getting to grocery store shelves or getting there in short supply. 

The South Carolina Food Policy Council -- an organization advocating for the production and consumption of healthy foods through education and strategic policy planning -- will be providing oversight for the network, and Wholespire will be managing the project.

Currently, the network includes local entities such as:

“Growing Local SC brings leaders together to create community-based solutions for a resilient food system for South Carolina,” said Project Director Nikki Seibert Kelley. “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.”

Groups and organizations interested in Growing Local SC are encouraged to join the South Carolina Food Policy Council -- basic membership is free -- and attend meetings and offer input to this new project.

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