As a child, Eric McClam spent time at his grandfather’s farm in Lake City.
Later, while studying architecture at Tulane University, he had the good fortune to work, study and travel through Europe, Central and South America learning about architecture and culture. The most interesting aspect he said he observed was a more efficient use of land and how that affected the buildings people lived in and the food they ate.
After graduating from Tulane and pursuing a career in architecture, McClam returned to his roots in Columbia and established City Roots urban farm with his dad, Robbie. Located in the Rosewood neighborhood, City Roots is South Carolina’s first urban farm and is USDA Certified Organic. City Roots has produced a highly diverse farming model that includes the production of more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, along with beekeeping, composting, aquaponics, microgreen production, education, agritourism and more.
The farm also has blossomed into a community hub that hosts harvest dinners, cultural festivals and private events through its partnership with the Farm to Table Event Company. Eric lives in the Shandon neighborhood with his wife, Martha, and their 5-month-old daughter, Tessa.
EAT: I am fortunate to call many local restaurateurs friends and have the pleasure to dine at their establishments whenever possible. With so many great independently owned restaurants in Columbia that now carry local farmer’s products, it is always a difficult choice. Some of my favorites are Terra, Motor Supply, Rosso’s and Bourbon.
DRINK: Weather and baby permitting, my wife and I like to take an evening walk to the Five Points district and have a glass of wine at Cellar on Greene or Mr. Friendly’s. If I am feeling up for grabbing a beer and catching up with friends, Hunter-Gatherer or River Rat Brewery offer a great variety of incredible craft beer.
PLAY: I love the outdoors. Taking a long walk or hike with my dog Kaia at the Congaree National Park or mountain biking out at Harbison Forest are great ways to escape. A lazy summer paddle down the Saluda and Congaree is a great way to cool off during our famously hot summers.
LISTEN: I am fortunate that a lot of great music comes to the farm. We have had some amazing musicians come play at some of the festivals we host like Mardi Gras, Tasty Tomato Festival, Big Dam Jam, Cream of the Crop Beer Festival and many more. If I can get off the farm, I head to another one – the Music Farm – to catch a show.
SEE: I love checking out the animals at Riverbanks Zoo with my family. I am yet to check out EdVenture (Children’s Museum) or the new planetarium at the (South Carolina) State Museum. With a young child at home, I anticipate spending a lot of time at the those places.
Janet Jones Kendall, firstname.lastname@example.org