Grants worth $161,000 to benefit Promise Zone area

Allendale to get help for farmers market; targeted farmers to get training

OCT. 6, 2015 — Two new agriculture-related federal grants worth more than $161,000 will help farmers and communities in the South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone through education and marketing efforts for locally-grown food, officials said today.

15.1006.allendale“One grant will allow targeted farmers and ranchers in the Promise Zone get risk management education that will help them make good decisions as they build sustainable and profitable agricultural businesses,” said Danny Black, president and CEO of SouthernCarolina Alliance, the lead organization for the Promise Zone. “Another will help support marketing efforts for locally-grown food at a farmers market in Allendale.

“Both grants are good examples of the kind of funding we can win to help change lives in our area.”

Open Air Allendale. Allendale’s grant of $66,952.69 is part of nearly $35 million in new funding in four grant programs announced Oct. 2, 2015, by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.   The Allendale grant is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $13.3 million in the Farmers Market Promotion Program by the Agricultural Marketing Service to support 164 projects helping farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture and other direct-to-consumer outlets for local food.

“USDA is helping to create economic opportunities for producers, increase access to fresh, healthy food for consumers, and connect rural and urban communities across the country,” Vilsack said in a news release. “Each of the grants announced today targets a unique part of the growing market for local foods. We are also expanding access for current SNAP participants to the wonderful array of fresh produce at America’s farmers markets, which is important to a healthy diet.”

The award for “Open Air Allendale” will allow the town of Allendale to “operate a robust marketplace that is profitable for local farmers and increase local consumption of local and regionally-produced fruits and vegetables by implementing a transaction system to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; developing a comprehensive training program for farm producers, including marketing certification, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training, and Market Manager Certification; conducting an advertising campaign; and acquiring and using a mobile market trailer.” More info.

USC Salkehatchie Dean Ann Carmichael noted that the college’s Leadership Institute staff identified the grant opportunity and worked with the town of Allendale to develop the grant application.

“This grant award will allow the Town of Allendale to continue making strides to revitalize its economy in order to make a positive impact on the lives of its residents,” she said “USC Salkehatchie values opportunities such as this to partner with municipalities in our region.

“The Promise Zone designation, announced mere days before the grant was submitted, gave the application an extra boost in the scoring process, which may have made a crucial difference. The Leadership Institute will continue to serve as a resource throughout the Promise Zone region, as the strategic planning process continues.”

Targeted education help. Also awarded recently was $95,000 in funding to the Corporation for Community and Economic Development United, Inc., to work through collaborative partnerships to develop and deliver crop insurance education and risk management training to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers in South Carolina and Georgia. The funding for the North Charleston-based organization is expected to benefit 130 farmers and ranchers in the Promise Zone.

The South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone, a project of the SouthernCarolina Alliance, seeks to catalyze efforts in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties to boost the quality of life and revitalize rural communities.

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