- 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
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture says that 3 million dollars are spent each month in food stamps in the South Carolina Low Country. Almost all of these resources go out of our community as they are spent at large grocery stores, often on unhealthy food. The primary goal of this grant is to get more of these resources into the hands of local farmers. Metanoia Community Development Corporation (CDC) has partnered with others to develop an innovative and model approach to helping rural towns and communities by building explicit linkages between local farmers and a community where food stamps are a primary commodity.
In the fall of 2007, a partnership was formed between Metanoia CDC, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, and local farmers to create the Chicora Farmer's Market pilot. The pilot ran for two months and was judged a success by all parties involved. Thus we are seeking this grant to continue to build on the success of these two markets by creating a partnership that will create a "win-win" situation between each of the partners that generates capital and builds value for each member.
In addition, the community surrounding the Chicora Farmer's Market does not have a grocery store within a five mile radius. The market will create a healthy alternative for neighborhood residents who wish to buy fruits and vegetables with Food Stamps, cash or senior vouchers and serve as a pilot program for both rural and urban area food deserts. (term used by scholars to denote broad community environments lacking healthy and economical food resources). The Chicora Farmers Market seeks to build sustainable partnerships between farmers, the SC Department of Agriculture, local government, community leaders, low-wealth people, and interested citizens. We will increase knowledge about healthy produce and the benefits of incorporating it into consumers' daily diets. The market will support and sustain agriculture entrepreneurship and be a site for the development of Youth Entrepreneurship within the Chicora Community.
Project objectives from proposal:
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. Each day at the market, Metanoia will run a small stand where EBT customers may swipe their card and purchase an allotted number of tokens to be spent with local farmers. At the end of the day the farmers will trade in their tokens and receive a check in the amount spent at their food stand. This will provide an additional income stream to their already accepting cash, and vouchers (WIC and Senior Checks).
2. Strengthen both agriculture and Southern communities by providing a model for how to alleviate 'food deserts' through the establishment of local farmers markets. The market is located within walking distance for over 2,000 residents of the Chicora community. It is also close to two major thoroughfares to generate additional consumers to the market.
3. Create a healthy community that can sustain itself in future generations. The Chicora farmers market gets fresh produce into a community that currently has no opportunities to acquire fresh produce. The market also partners with the Metanoia CDC after school programs to offer free fresh produce to the 50 students in after school care. (Produce that is near expiration is donated at the end of the market day.)
4. The market will generate further interest in the development of the disinvested area around the Chicora Farmer's market.