- Fruits: melons, apples, cherries, citrus, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, berries (strawberries)
- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, cabbages, cucurbits, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, community services, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures, community development
We are grateful for the opportunity that the SARE grant gave us to further test a pilot program began in 2007 to bring a farmers’ market to a low income neighborhood through the use of food stamps. The Chicora Farmer’s market operated with three farmers at varying levels of participation through the end of August. The market became a good place for community residents to meet one another and shop for locally grown produce. In addition the farmers themselves were able to benefit from EBT (food stamps) revenue they would not otherwise have gotten.
Despite these benefits to the community and farmers we did have to end the market a few weeks early due to several factors.
1. The increasingly difficult economic situation was causing farmers to have to spend more in fuel costs to get their produce to the market and at the same time it was limiting the amount of money spent at the market. Eventually, the benefits to the farmers did not match the resources they had to put in to get their produce to market.
2. We had a very wet late summer in the South Carolina Low Country and this affected farmers’ ability to leave their farms and get produce to market.
In the end we were grateful for the opportunity to host the market in our community. In post-market discussions with our farmers they have expressed a willingness to return next spring if economic factors improve.
The purpose of this project was to strengthen both agriculture and isinvested communities by providing families the opportunity to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, increase knowledge on health and nutrition, and support community development efforts. The lack of supermarkets and other food retail outlets in the Chicora-Cherokee area of North Charleston has left many residents without easy and affordable access to healthy and nutritios food.
Therefore, Chicora-Cherokee can be categorized as a “food desert” or a place where people experience physical and economic barriers to accessing healthy food.
In the fall of 2007 the SC Department of Agriculture partnered with the Metanoia Community Development Corporation to offer a two month pilot farmers’ market in the Chicora neighborhood. The market would be the only market in the low country to utilize the EBT (food stamps) program for purchasing produce. This pilot market was enough of a success that we wrote this SARE Grant to run a market through the summer of 2008. The goal of the market was to get EBT investment into the hands of local farmers while also imporving nutrition in an urban inner-city community.
1. Build capacity for fruits and vegetables sold locally to provide sustainability for the rural community farmers by getting more food stamp dollars into the hands of local farmers on a weekly basis.
2. Strengthen both agriculture and Souther communities by providing a model for how to alleviate ‘food deserts’ through the establishment of local farmers’ markets.
3. Create a healthy community that can sustain itself in future generations.
4. The market will generate further interest in the development of the disinvested area around the Chicora Farmers’ Market.