- Vegetables: Project addresses all vegetables and other specialty crops that are harvested for fresh market.
- Crop Production: postharvest treatment, winter storage
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, mentoring, technical assistance, workshop
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
This project will be led by Clemson University in collaboration with the South Carolina SARE Program,
the FamilyFarmed organization, non-profit farm advocacy organizations and Clemson and South Carolina
State University Extension. The goal of the project will be to build the capacity of small- and mid-scale
farmers to take advantage of the increasing wholesale market demand for locally-grown produce by
adopting best practices in food safety, post-harvest handling, packing and business management. In this
SARE PDP project we will work with FamilyFarmed and our stakeholders to develop a customized
"Wholesale Success" training curriculum and series of training events for Extension agents and other
agriculture professionals. The curriculum will be designed to train these professionals so that they in
turn can help farmers to gain the knowledge and skills needed to implement best harvesting and postharvest
handling practices to access wholesale markets and also to improve the quality of produce for
direct markets. A series of "Wholesale Success" training events will be held over two years to address
stakeholder-identified challenges related to post-harvest handling and other areas that are critical to
successful wholesale and direct marketing of fruits and vegetables. The project team and FamilyFarmed
will collaborate on development of program evaluation protocols as described in the proposal. Through
this SARE PDP program, a core group of experts in best practices for produce harvest and post-harvest
handling will be established who will continue "Wholesale Success" training programs for local farmers
into the future.
Project objectives from proposal:
The overall goal of the project will be to build the capacity of small- and mid-scale farmers to take advantage of the increasing market demand for locally grown produce by adopting best practices in food safety,post-harvest handling, packing and business management. Through the project a core group of agriculture professionals will be trained in these practices who in-turn will be able to educate growers by providing the knowledge and skills they need to implement best harvest and post-harvest handling practices to meet the high quality standards that wholesale markets require.
Objective 1. Collaborate with Family-farmed and SC SARE Program stakeholders to develop a custom "Wholesale Success" training curriculum in best food safety, post-harvest handling, packing and business management practices for agricultural professionals and educators specifically to aid them in helping small- and mid-scale produce farmers in South Carolina and the region to be more efficient and profitable.
Objective 2. Organize a series of Wholesale Success training events for 1862 and 1890 Extension, NRCS and other agriculture professionals to address stakeholder-identified challenges related to post-harvest handling and other areas that are critical to successful wholesale and direct marketing of fruits and vegetables.The near term outcome of the project will be a core group of agricultural professionals with necessary knowledge and skills who will help our farmers to implement best harvesting and post-harvest handling practices to access wholesale markets and also to improve the quality of their produce for direct markets. In the long term, the project will result in
1) a greater number of local farms who are able to sell products to wholesale market outlets thereby increasing farmers' market diversity and economic viability, and
2) a greater number of consumers with access to fresh, local produce.
Objective 3. Evaluate the Wholesale Success training program using surveys and follow-up interviews with participants to assess their level of satisfaction with the training,and also how they were able to use the knowledge and skills gained to effectively assist farmers in adopting produce handling practices to optimize quality and to access wholesale markets.