Growing Local SC is focused on building a network of organizations and individuals to support South Carolina in getting food from farms and gardens to the table. The goal of the project is to create a cross-sector local food system network aspiring to cultivate a thriving, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and just food economy providing access to healthy food for all.
Growing Local SC | Food System Network
Growing Local SC is an initiative of the SC Food Policy Council focused specifically on getting food from farms and gardens to the table across South Carolina. The network builds off work done to date and is designed to be reflective of South Carolina's local food system which is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption of food.
Growing Local SC is a network focused on facilitating collaboration between organizations and individuals actively engaged in supporting South Carolina's Food System. The Network will 1) connect and cultivate South Carolina’s local food economy, 2) develop a plan centered on addressing systemic inequities in the state’s food system, 3) catalyze action to address farmland loss, 4) increase capacity of the local food system and 5) refine metrics for measuring partnerships. All organizations, individuals and businesses working in the local food system are encouraged to get engaged. How? Join the SCFPC, sign-up for one or both of the Local Food Committees (Urban and Rural), subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on Instagram @GrowingLocalSouthCarolina.
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This project is supported by funds from the 2021 USDA Regional Food System Partnership Grant
Equity, Inclusion, & Access
Growing Local SC celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to our mission and affirm solidarity with those individuals and groups most socially vulnerable. We actively disavow all racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ageism, classism, ableism, and hate speech or actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and marginalize. As a network focused on cultivating a thriving, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and just food economy providing access to healthy food for all, we must first recognize the historic, ongoing, and systemic role that racism has played in our state. As part of this process, we will work to critically understand and address the culture, systems, policies, institutions, and infrastructure that have created our currently inequitable food system.
Growing Local SC acknowledges that the place in which we work, South Carolina, is located on the traditional lands of The Catawba Indian Nation, Beaver Creek Indians, Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe, Pee Dee Indian Nation, Pee Dee Indian Tribe, Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation, Santee, Sumter Tribe of Cheraw, Waccamaw Indian People, Wassamasaw tribe, Chaloklowa Chickasaw, Southern Iroquois, Natchez, Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek, Sewee, Congaree, Wateree, Westo, Waxhaw, Lumbee, Chicora, Winyah, Saluda, Miccosukee and all those others not named but honored in spirit. We acknowledge the painful history and dispossession of the Indigenous Native people of South Carolina and honor the ongoing connection of all Indigenous people past and present to these lands and waters. We welcome and invite all Indigenous communities in South Carolina’s food system to join the network and encourage all members to connect with their local tribal communities.
We recognize that many in the South are uncomfortable acknowledging the history of our region but as so succinctly stated by KJ Kearney during the Inaugural Growing Local SC Food Summit, “Uncomfortable for whom?”. Our network honors the desires of those communities most negatively impacted by systemic racism to dictate what is necessary in the process of creating a truly equitable and just food system. The BIPOC members of Growing Local SC have expressed a clear desire for South Carolina to acknowledge and address the historical trauma caused by the legacies of colonialism and structural violence perpetuated which persist currently. We intend to invite our members on a collective journey through critical self-reflection and empathetic dialogue paired with tools and resources to support the network on a path towards healing and growth.
Please join us in this path along the continuum of becoming an anti-racist multicultural organization, a journey on which we know will come with missteps, struggles, and growth as we grow together.
The project is administered by Wholespire, governed by the South Carolina Food Policy Council, executed and evaluated by contracted project managers (Nikki Seibert Kelley and Alison Pierce), and supported by partners as follows: the SC Department of Agriculture providing financial, programmatic (ACRE), and marketing support; UofSC School of Public Health providing administrative, stakeholder, and food council support; the Rural Resource Coalition as an organizer for gatherings, coordinator of the Local Food Subcommittee, facilitating a farmland working group, and providing engagement to indigenous communities; Bonita Global providing outreach to African American communities; Alianza Latina of the Midlands providing outreach to Latina communities; SC Food Hub Network expanding mid-tier value chains; and SC State University Small Business Development Center and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association providing technical assistance to food and farming businesses. Check out the leadership team profiles below.
The activities of the network are guided by input gathered at annual meetings and through several stakeholder engagement mechanisms designed to elevate minority voices including the general membership of the South Carolina Food Policy Council and its committees (interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to apply). The project prioritizes strategies to fill food systems gaps, meet stakeholder needs, and facilitate market opportunities and food access solutions.
Please note the organizations and individuals listed represent the leadership structure built into the grant but the project is committed to continuously expanding the network leadership to include many other food system organizations.
The Growing Local SC Food Summit will be the inaugural meeting for organizations, individuals, farmers, and businesses working in the local food system to gather, connect, learn, and collaborate on building a collaborative network. The event is hosted by SCACED and the Rural Resource Coalition and coordinated by Growing Local SC Food System Network and the SC Food Policy Council to create a cross-sector local food system network aspiring to cultivate a thriving, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and just food economy providing access to healthy food for all.
Bonita Global LLC
Central Midlands Council of Government | Alianza Latina of the Midlands | SC Food Policy Council
UofSC School of Public Health
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association | SC Food Policy Council
SC Food Hub Network Coordinator
UofSC School of Public Health
Wholespire | SC Food Policy Council
SCSU Small Business Development Center Orangeburg | Midlands Local Food Collaborative
Pick 42 Foundation | SC Food Policy Council Board Vice Chair
SC Department of Agriculture ACRE Program | SC Food Policy Council Board Member
UofSC School of Public Health | Food is Medicine Subcommittee
PAL: Play. Advocate. Live Well! | SC Food Policy Council Board Chair
SC Association of Community Economic Development | Rural Resource Coalition | SC Food Policy Council
Nikki Seibert Kelley
Growing Local SC Network Director
| Wit Meets Grit
Ashley Page Bookhart
UofSC School of Public Health
Central Midlands Council of Government
SCSU Small Business Development Center
Growing Local SC builds off of a variety of other collaborations and projects, several of which are listed below.
SC Food Policy council
The SC Food Policy Council strives to advance the production and consumption of healthy foods in South Carolina through education and strategic policy planning. Anyone interested in Food Systems in SC can join as a member for free to stay up to date on Growing Local SC and more.