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Equitable food distribution goal of new SC network

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A new network aims to unite agencies and organizations across South Carolina’s food system to address the vulnerability in global supply chains exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Growing Local SC is one of 30 national projects awarded funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Food System Partnership Grant program. The initiative includes 10 project partners, matching funds from the S.C. Department of Agriculture and project oversight from the S.C. Food Policy Council, according to a news release from the state agricultural department.

The network will focus on building equitable and effective local distribution systems to economically source, aggregate and deliver food in the state. Designed to reflect the state’s regional food ecosystems, Growing Local SC’s partners include the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health SNAP-Ed Implementing Agency, S.C. Food Hub Network, Rural Resource Coalition, Alianza Latina of the Midlands, S.C. State University Small Business Development Center and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, among other organizations.

“Growing Local SC brings leaders together to create community-based solutions for a resilient food system for South Carolina,” Nikki Seibert Kelley, project director, said in the release. “Local food systems are complex and highly place-based, making it essential for communities to build networks around the people working locally to get food from farms and gardens to the table.”

Food system leaders can engage in Growing Local SC by joining the South Carolina Food Policy Council as a member, participating in annual meetings, and contributing to committees, local food councils and coalitions.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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