Hub City Farmers’ Market receives USDA grant for Upstate Food Assessment

Hub City Farmers’ Market receives USDA grant for Upstate Food Assessment

The Hub City Farmers’ Market (HCFM) is excited to announce an award for over $98,000 in funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s “Local Foods Promotion Program” to undergo a comprehensive food system assessment and plan for Spartanburg and Greenville Counties!

Through this project, HCFM and its partners will gather data on food conditions in the Upstate and meet with stakeholders including farmers, restaurateurs, neighborhood leaders, hospitals, schools, healthcare workers, and community organizations to better understand gaps and opportunities in the local food system. The project will produce a report and implementation plan that will recommend policies, programs, plans, and further research to address those gaps and opportunities. The goal is to coordinate and build on current work and create a comprehensive framework to expand capacity and economic opportunities in the local food system by creating greater access to healthy, local food in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties. This work will update and build on the 2012 Greenville County Food System Assessment.

Despite the exponential growth of Spartanburg and Greenville Counties over the last few years, the Upstate is missing opportunities to increase domestic consumption of locally and regionally produced foods. For instance, the Upstate has a $5.8 billion dollar a year food market, but most of the food consumed in the Upstate is imported from outside of the region. Substituting local South Carolina food for a significant portion of this imported food could keep food dollars local. Part of this is related to the fact that of the majority of farm commodities produced in state ($2.4 billion dollars in sales revenue for state farmers), are exported because programmatic and physical infrastructure for local food does not currently exist. Because food system  infrastructure often crosses adjacent county lines, communication across counties is essential to avoiding duplication of efforts and expenditures in the Upstate of South Carolina, particularly for those infrastructure elements that require large capital investments.

“The Hub City Farmers’ Market (HCFM) is thrilled to spearhead efforts to better understand the food assets and needs in the Upstate. This assessment will provide HCFM and other organizations working on issues of local food promotion and healthy food access with hard data and qualitative analysis which will propel future work to meet the evolving needs of our farmers, food system producers, and community members.,” explained Caroline Sexton, Executive Director for the Hub City Farmers’ Market.

Alissa Duncan of the Spartanburg County Food System Coalition says, “We are so excited to have this incredible opportunity to address our food system issues. This plan will be implemented through the Greenville County Food Policy Council, the Spartanburg County Food System Coalition, and multiple food-related businesses and organizations, and it will facilitate coordination of the important food system work already underway in these counties, highlight opportunities to strengthen the system, and provide a concerted voice of Upstate food system work to the South Carolina Food Policy Council. This will result in everyone being on the same page about how to improve our local food system and will allow us to leverage our current work and resources into even bigger projects.”

In addition to the Hub City Farmers’ Market (HCFM), this project will be led by a team of representatives from a variety of stakeholders including the Greenville County Food Policy Council, Spartanburg County Food System Coalition, Broadmoor Planning, Wofford College, Clemson University, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, and Innovative Rural Development Corporation

Hub City Farmers’ Market’s project is one of 44 projects funded by the “Local Foods Promotion Program” in 2018 and the only funded project in South Carolina.