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New effort to help farmers, feed South Carolinians

Farmers to Food Banks will buy food from farmers to supply local food banks
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture's Certified South Carolina program and the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture non-profit are partnering on a new initiative -- Farmers to Food Banks -- to support farmers and needy South Carolinians cope with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The Farmers to Food Banks project will buy food from South Carolina farmers and distribute it to local food banks as part of a new charitable effort to ease COVID-19 strains on the food system. 

According to reports, "the South Carolina program will complement the federal Farmers to Families Food Box program, a COVID-19 response effort to use tax dollars to buy and distribute commodities. With a quick launch and brief fundraising period, South Carolina’s Farmers to Food Banks program aims to rapidly address local needs by buying food and distributing it to Feeding America food banks, potentially filling gaps in the federal effort. The program will accept applications from distributors, 15 of which have formally expressed their interest already."

Restaurants, schools, grocers and other businesses normally supplied by farmers have either been shut down or business greatly curtailed in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. These closures have left farmers with nowhere to sell fresh produce, meats and dairy products. And with unemployment soaring, many South Carolinians have had to seek food assistance. 

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SC Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said, "Farmers to Food Banks solves two problems with one charitable effort: helping the needy while supporting the South Carolina farmers who work hard to feed us all. People want to lend a hand during these difficult times, and this is one simple way they can do so.” 

Weathers also serves as an advisor to South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture.

Those who wish to donate to or participate in Farmers to Food Banks can contact Cristina Key at ckey@scda.sc.gov or 803-734-2190 for more information. 

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