Mother Nature gifted South Carolina when Hurricane Irma turned westward, sparing this state a direct hit.
She also gives us the chance to step back and see how everything is connected; how weather affects crops – too much rain equals flooded fields, not enough rain equals drought; how transportation and distribution systems can either help or hinder farmers and producers getting items to market; and once in the market, how much access consumers have to fresh food products.
Over the next few weeks, because of rescheduling due to the threat of Irma, there are opportunities for you in the community to experience different aspects of how the food community is truly connected.
The City of Columbia Food Policy Committee is meeting 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 in the third floor board room at Richland Library. The meeting is free and open to the public and there will be opportunities for public comment at the end of the meeting. The Food Policy Committee was formed to address problems found within the whole food system – from production, distribution, and processing to consumption and waste disposal – and find solutions that would promote sustainability, economic development and social justice within the community, using and fostering cooperation between private, public and non-profit interests.
Listen, learn and contribute to the discussion. www.columbiasc.net/boards-commissions/food-policy-committee
The 2017 Food Access Summit is 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Columbia Conference Center, 169 Laurelhurst Ave. If you want more insight into food policy and the role it plays in a healthy food system, this summit will provide an overall view. With panel discussions and facilitated breakout sessions, participants will come away with the social policy tools, training and action oriented ideas to educate and organize others to support a food system that is equitable for all. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will be giving the keynote address. Tickets to this event are $20/person, includes lunch. www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-food-access-summit-tickets-36211751323
Meet the farmers
The Midlands Farm Tour, sponsored by Sustainable Midlands, has been rescheduled for Sept. 23. The 10 farms featured on the tour feature different aspects of sustainable farming practices, ranging from experimental heirloom cultivation and the 360 method of composting to aquaponics and rainwater harvesting.
Take the kids and a cooler (for farm fresh veggies, meats and cheeses) and spend the day touring Richland and Lexington counties. https://midlandsfarmtour.com
Chefs and farmers
The Midlands Food Alliance Chef/Farmer Mash-up has been rescheduled for Oct. 9 at Senate’s End in Columbia. This is where food growers and producers can meet chefs, distributors, institutions, and anyone interested in facilitating a direct-from-the-farm program. Participants are urged to come prepared with wish lists, prices, schedules and availability, and an open mind. Not open to general public. www.facebook.com/midlandsfoodalliance/
Give help, get help
September is Hunger Action Month and Harvest Hope Food Bank urges you to take some time to think of how hunger would impact your life.
Now realize that currently 328,850 people across Harvest Hope’s 20-county service area do not always know where they will find their next meal. This is called food insecurity and it is a real problem affecting the lives of people across the entire spectrum – old and young.
Harvest Hope is a partner of Feeding America, the largest charitable hunger relief organization in the United States, and the S.C. Emergency Management Division has designated Harvest Hope as South Carolina’s primary disaster hunger relief emergency feeding organization.
Learn how to donate – non-perishable foods, your time or money – or how to get help at www.harvesthope.org
Foodshare Columbia wants to ensure access to fresh produce for everyone in the community. Orders for fresh food boxes may be placed twice per month, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday – next order must be placed by Sept. 22, pickup date is Sept. 27.
Here’s how it works: Contents of the Fresh Food Boxes change weekly but are filled on average with 12 to 15 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables and recipe ideas. Foodshare accepts payments in cash and SNAP EBT.
Large boxes cost $20 in cash – if using SNAP, boxes are $10 and you receive $10 Healthy Bucks to cover the rest of the cost.
Small boxes cost $15 in cash – $5 on SNAP and you receive $10 Healthy Bucks to cover the rest of the cost.
Foodshare encourages participation from the community with the NeighborShare program – where you can donate the price of food boxes for others or help with deliveries. Information at foodsharesc.org
Don’t forget the farmers markets, it’s great way to directly support local farmers and food producers. Although some area markets are close to the end of the season, most are still up and running.
City Roots Farmers Market will be celebrating the beginning of their Fall season 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. Check out the farm, take a tour, enjoy live music and ask about their CSA program
Farmers Market Schedule
Farmers in the Forest: Forest Acres Farmers Market at Richland Mall in the parking lot along Beltline Boulevard. Wednesdays 3-7 p.m. through October. Vendor applications can be found at farmersintheforest.org; follow on Facebook.
Blythewood Farmers Market: 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays, Doko Meadows, 171 Langford Road, Blythewood. Michaela Barno, (843) 697-1733. www.facebook.com/BlythewoodFarmersMarket or www.localharvest.org/blythewood-farmers-market
City Roots Farm: 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, 1005 Airport Blvd., www.cityroots.org
Northeast Farmers Market: 3-7 p.m. Thursdays through mid-October, Lake Carolina Town Center, 100 Lake Carolina Blvd, Northeast Richland. www.lakecarolina.com or www.facebook.com/lakecarolinafarmersmarket
Kershaw County Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays at 222 Broad St., Camden. www.kcfarmersmarket.org.
Soda City Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday at the 1500 block of Main Street. www.sodacitysc.com
Sandhills Farmers Market: 2-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thanksgiving at Sandhill Research Center, 900 Clemson Road, across from Village at Sandhill, Northeast Richland. www.clemson.edu/public/sandhill/programs/farmers_market.html
Healthy Carolina’s Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Greene Street in front of Preston. www.sa.sc.edu/healthycarolina/farmersmarket. USC On-Campus delivery via Pinckney’s Produce and AFRESH! can be scheduled in 4-, 6- and 12-week sessions.