In December, agribusiness entrepreneurs statewide presented ideas for improving their businesses during a live Pitch Day. A panel of judges selected the five grant recipients from among 15 participants in the ACRE program, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Agriculture.
The ACRE program, in its second year, offers skills training and networking opportunities.
“We taught them (farmers) about business planning, finances, marketing, operational planning, how to give a pitch, how to apply for a grant or loan, and other crucial business skills,” said Kyle Player, ACRE executive director.
2019 funding recipients:
Woodland Valley Mushrooms: Ben Crawford and Rebecca Goldberg, Aiken County. The duo uses a converted shipping container to grow gourmet mushrooms and plans to acquire a second container to expand their market.
Wando River Farm: Justin Hancock and Jen Sample, Awendaw. The small Lowcountry farm runs a community-supported agriculture program and provides produce to several restaurants. Hancock and Sample plan to expand the farm’s production.
CHI Design Indigo: David and Caroline Harper, Columbia. The company makes hand-dyed indigo textiles and is working to bring the indigo crop back to South Carolina. The Harpers are working with three in-state farms and have plans for further educational outreach.
Patchwork Farm LLC: Melissa Price, Saluda. Price plans to launch an educational project in which students will be able to adopt a cow on her farm and follow it virtually from their classroom.
Jackson Farms II: Toshiba Traynham-Jackson, Lyman. Jackson is one of three family members who work the Upstate produce farm. Jackson plans to create a mobile farmers market to serve area food deserts.