The City of Manning was able to improve the participation and attendance of our Farmer’s market by moving the site of the market to the downtown central business district. The SARE Community Innovation Grant enabled the City to pay for the move and advertise the market with signs and mail outs.
By partnering with the Main Street Manning Promotion’s Committee, the market was able to have entertainment once a month and advertise in the Clarendon Chamber of Commerce’s monthly packets.
By partnering with Clemson Extension, the Farmer’s Market was able to have a monthly newsletter that highlighted the market and farming.
Agricultural land makes up more than 80% of the land use in Clarendon County. The Manning Farmer’s Market proposes to strengthen the linkage between this agricultural community and the community development of the City of Manning. This linkage between “town” and “country” will ensure the success of both communities in the face of an ever-growing Clarendon County.
The Manning Farmer’s Market proposes to partner with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s 4-H program, the Clarendon County Council on Aging and a local farmer to create a community garden. At this community garden, the Clemson Extension and the Master Gardener’s program will teach the youth from the 4-H program, local interested citizens and the elderly from the Council of Aging various agricultural practices to help them grow fresh fruits and vegetables. The Manning Farmer’s Market will then allow these products to be sold at the market. This will teach the value of agriculture and entrepreneurship while encouraging community interaction. The proceeds from the sale of these goods will go to purchase seed and tools for the next year’s garden, with the hopes that this will become a self-perpetuating project.
The Manning Farmer’s Market would also like to move the market downtown onto the Clarendon County Courthouse Square to make the market more accessible to the entire community. The City of Manning is a “Main Street, SC” community and this move would allow the Market to benefit from the economic and community development activities that are being undertaken by the Main Street Manning Group. This move will marry sound farm and non-farm economic and community development activities in a way that will benefit the agricultural and downtown community.
The Manning City Farmer’s market also proposes to continue our pilot program of allowing customers at the market to purchase produce with their Food Stamps or Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT.) This will allow the local farming community to connect with the low to moderate income population of Clarendon County and to take advantage of this largely guaranteed income stream. It will also allow the low to moderate income population to receive the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.
1) Create a stronger, more sustainable farmer’s market that provides service to and is more easily accessible to a larger portion of the Clarendon County population.
2) Make fresh fruits and vegetables available to the low to moderate income population of Clarendon
County by accepting EBT cards at the Manning Farmer’s Market.
3) Improve the health of the population of Clarendon County.
4) Teach the community about sustainable agriculture and encourage entrepreneurialism.
The moving of the Farmer’s Market into downtown Manning and the advertisement that was able to be done as a part of this grant has raised the awareness of the community about the Farmer’s Market. This awareness has increased local use of the market.
This grant has helped build partnerships between the Manning Farmer’s Market and its farmers, the Clemson Extension Agency in Manning, the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce and the City’s Main Street Manning group. These partnerships will help build a stronger Manning Farmer’s Market which will, in turn, build a stronger farming community by giving them another way to sell their produce.
As part of this grant, the Manning Farmer’s Market was able to employ a market manager that operated the EBT machine each week. The grant helped pay for the electricity and phone lines that were needed for the EBT Machine. The City further contributed to the project by clearing the lot, providing landscaping services and having a ramp built for the farmer’s trucks and for the elderly and handicapped.
The Clarendon County Master Gardeners Association was able to have a tent at the market each week for individuals to “Ask a Master Gardener” and the sell plants to raise money for their group.
Because of a lack of participation from the 4-H group, we were unable to achieve the community gardens portion of this project.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grant allowed the Farmer’s market to purchase two large, durable signs that have been placed on the site to advertise the market to the traffic on Hwy 521 and Hwy 261.
Mail outs about the Manning Farmer’s Market were placed in the monthly packets of the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce that go out to all of the Chamber members in the County.
The Main Street Manning Committee advertised the Farmer’s Market and included it in their promotions for the months the market was open.
Because of the success of this project, the City will be funding the part time market manager position for the 2010 year.
Because of the success of the Farmer’s Market in its new location, it has been recommended that the City purchase or long-term lease the parcel for a permanent site for the market.