Building Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development along the Coastal Plain regions of Georgia and South Carolina

Final Report for CS08-062

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2008: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
John Littles, Sr
McIntosh SEED
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Project Information

Abstract:

Building Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development along the Coastal Plain regions of Georgia and South Carolina has increased linkages between farmers and suppliers as well as increased the public’s awareness of the benefits of sustainable farming and the economic and ecological impact that farming has on the local food system. This project has meshed sustainable agriculture and community development in order to not only provide community residents with access to healthy foods, but also to introduce faming and community gardens as a sustainable and viable economic engine. The project has increased income for farmers and local entrepreneurs, who have ventured into the production of value-added products.

Introduction

Building Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development along the Coastal Plain regions of Georgia and South Carolina helps to build a regional network that provides stronger connections between sustainable agriculture and sustainable economic development.
The project lends itself well to the concept of community sustainability. Creating jobs is an important community development concept. The project intertwines sustainable agriculture and economic development by helping to retain profits and jobs within the region and that helps to stimulate the local economy.

Project Objectives:

Building Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development along the Coastal Plain regions of Georgia and South Carolina provided stronger conncections between sustainable agriculture and sustainable economic development. Objectives and performance targets of the project are as listed below:

-Solicit participation for a Food Systems Working Group
-Develop a regional strategic food system plan
-Increase the current network of 20 farmers to build local food system
-Develop a community kitchen to support entrepreneurship efforts
-Establish a “locally grown” marketing campaign that celebrates the region’s unique cultural heritage
-Increase public awareness of the benefits of a local food system
-Develop community gardents

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Cheryl Peterson

Research

Materials and methods:

The following methods and approaches were used to address the objectives and performance targets of the project:

-A food working group was established with participants from various civic, government, for profit, and non-profit organizations
-A farmers network provided an adequate supply of produce to ensure the long term success of this project
-Partnerships were formed with local high-end restaurants and small businesses
-Partnerships were formed with other non-profit organizations
-Marketing and publicity was conducted for the general public to increase attendance at workshops

Research results and discussion:

With the implementation of this project, McIntosh SEED had the following impact:

-Created additional markets for farmers
-Increased farmers income
-Increased community’s access to locally grown food
-Increased low-wealth community’s ability to gain access to healthy food through the implementation of the EBT program
-Created jobs
-Trained youth in agricultural and leadership skills
-Increased community’s awareness of eating healthy foods and making healthy food choices

-Trained community in how to create value-added products

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

Garden Flyer:

Get Your Garden Growing!

McIntosh SEED and the Ashantilly Center invite you to join the youth gardeners from the food system program; community garden in Darien for a Saturday series on vegetable gardening.

See the newly developed one acre market garden, meet other local gardeners, and learn techniques for growing your own groceries year-round in coastal South Georgia.

February 13th Get Growing!
Site selection, soils of the south, what grows and when,
spring planting, seed starting, composting, and more.

March 13th Small Space, Big Harvest: Container Gardening
A pot, a wooden box, an old boat… grow in what you have. Learn about maintaining soil health and using compatible plants for growing your garden in small spaces.

April 10th Good Bugs, Bad Bugs
Explore some natural approaches to keeping your garden healthy and productive. Including pest identification, attracting beneficial insects to your garden, companion planting, and home-made (inexpensive) garden remedies.

Classes will be held from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Ashantilly Center
(Off Hwy 99, 3 miles from downtown Darien)

Each class is $15.00 and includes a light lunch from the garden.

Registration is required.

Call the office of McIntosh SEED to sign-up:
912-437-7821

***Lens of Work

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

With the implementation of the project, McIntosh SEED accomplished the following:
-Developed two (2) community gardens
-Increased the farmers network

-Strengthened the local food system
-Developed a food system working group
-Created markets for farmers
-Implemented a farmers market
-Developed value-added products

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

After hosting a series of garden workshops, McIntosh SEED’s field coordinator is available for consultations on how to begin a garden and implementing a community garden workshops.

Future Recommendations

None

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.