Our mission is to increase access to healthy, local foods and create markets for farmers throughout South Carolina.
By increasing the demand for SC products, we aim to achieve:
- More viable food and farm enterprises
- Good jobs and a stronger agricultural economy
- Consistent access to affordable, healthy, locally produced foods for institutional facilities
- Helps influence healthy eating habits by increasing access to locally sourced produce
- Provides opportunities for economic growth
- Did you know that $2.16 in economic activity is generated from every $1 spent on local food?*
- Promotes environmental stewardship
- Strengthens community connections and relationships
The South Carolina Farm to School Program originated in 2011 as a two-year project funded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the program began, it has expanded to not only include more funded schools, but also other institutions. In 2015, the umbrella organization South Carolina Farm to Institution was founded to encompass a wide variety of institutional sites beyond preschools and schools.
The Program is a collaborative partnership between the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina Department of Social Services and Clemson University. The South Carolina Farm to Institution Program seeks to increase the number of farmers certified to provide locally grown products into institutions, such as: schools, preschools, hospitals, military installations, and other businesses.
Core goals of the South Carolina Farm to Institution Program include providing education to food service staff on procuring and preparing local products, promoting SC Grown within cafeterias and food service operations, and creating hands-on experiences such as farmers markets, CSAs, and institutional gardens.
The South Carolina Farm to Institution Program supports sites in implementing four components:
- Source at least two SC grown fruits and vegetables per month
- Promote SC grown in the cafeteria
- Integrate nutrition and agriculture education
- Establish a vegetable garden or farmers market
The South Carolina Farm to Institution Program is committed to South Carolina farmers and helping them grow their markets. Efforts are in place to expand to other institutions, such as hospitals and workplaces, and small retail venues. By continuing to increase the demand to South Carolina products, we aim to achieve more viable food and farm enterprises, a stronger agricultural economy, and consistent access to affordable, healthy, locally produced foods for institutional facilities.
The South Carolina Farm to Institution Program is part of the larger nationwide movement.