A. To develop and sustain profitable farming systems in Beaufort County, South Carolina, ensuring that 10 local farming enterprises become profitable within a three-year period.
1. Create a multidisciplinary Farming Systems Research and Development (FSR&D) team to provide rapid appraisals and technical assistance to ten small-scale farming enterprises. This team includes an agricultural economist, entomologist, plant pathologist, crop management specialist; integrate pest management specialist, horticulturalist, small business developer, agronomist and soil scientist, community developer, food science and human nutrition scientist, registered dietician, and biosystems engineer.
2. The FSR&D Team will also provide one Growing Food Locally Systems analysis each year to track progress of partners in behaving as if they were a food system interacting to provide needed inputs, outputs and outcomes from each other. In addition, they will deliver business enterprise and technical assistance to 10 local farmers, including soil, water, crop, pest management, harvesting, marketing, and farm management analysis. Business services provided will include farming operations, marketing approaches, storage, food preparation, and distribution.
3. Create an Economic Safety Net for participating farmers by signing “Intent To Purchase” agreements guaranteeing an established price for crops produced. Current projections include the purchase of (a) 227,100 pounds of crops in Year One for $51,262, (b) 350,000 pounds in Year Two for $86,017, and (c) 376,050 pounds in Year Three for $92,162. Please see Appendix B: GFL Production Goals & Revenues for an economic justification of these goals.
4. Advance a maximum of $5,000 in working capital to each participating farmer, as needed and requested, by offering zero-interest loans from those funds ($114,721 requested) allocated toward food purchases in the application budget. The partners will guarantee the purchase of 75% of yields in Year One, 70% in Year Two, and 50% of total yields in Year Three.
B. To increase the self-reliance of 10 farming enterprises and 25 nonprofit operations working with the LCFB as a food delivery system, developing long-term solutions to related community food, health and socioeconomic issues.
1. Establish retail marketing channels for participating farmers, delivering an increasing percentage of total yields (25% in Year One; 30% in Year Two; 50% in Year Three) to 15 local restaurants, grocery stores and resorts. In Year Two, the program will implement a direct, niche marketing and branding plan to guide these efforts, including branding materials (logo, brochure and labels), and one reception with corporate and community leaders.
2. Link farmers to 25 nonprofit feeding programs addressing the needs of low-income consumers by creating the required marketing channels. The Food Bank will provide delivery, storage, inspection and disposal services. The organization will support other supply-chain functions, including an extranet for food ordering, order tracking, reporting, and account management.
3. Train and certify 25 nonprofits serving 3,000 low-income consumers to prepare and deliver nutritious meals. The program will ensure that all nonprofit participants understand the nutrition assistance programs available to Beaufort County, and will link their individual clients to appropriate service providers, including TEFAP, WIC and Food Stamps.
4. Create the capacity needed within these nonprofit feeding programs to serve community needs. Based on progress toward specific expansion goals, the project will award incentives (kitchen equipment, refrigerators, freezers, special offers) for nonprofit participants meeting training and sanitation requirements.
5. Teach organic farming methods to interested farmers through the establishment of a training/demonstration farm, where farmers can also plan farm/crop rotations, farmer’s markets and develop other collaborative projects that promote community self-reliance.
C. To address the food and nutrition needs of 3,000 low-income consumers in rural Beaufort County and surrounding areas by equipping 25 local nonprofit feeding programs with the training, skills and resources needed to prepare and deliver nutritious foods.
1. Compile a rigorous analysis of consumptive patterns, food security issues and nutritional deficits in target communities by analyzing the South Carolina sample and findings of the Second Harvest’s Hunger Study, 50 random client interviews, trends in foods orders and meal reports, and nutritional inventories of participating nonprofits.
2. Conduct an assertive, continuous nutrition education program, ensuring that a minimum of eight annual technical assistance and educational opportunities for cooperating nonprofits are conducted, ensuring that 98% of partners have participated in three educational events.
3. Create a training program and establish nutrition standards followed by all network providers in delivering services to their low-income clients. The network of 25 nonprofit organizations will provide nutrition education and prepare nutritiously sound meals. The project will make health assessment and nutritional counseling available to individual clients.
D. To develop a comprehensive response to local agricultural and nutrition issues in Beaufort County by integrating Growing Food Locally objectives and activities with local education systems, culinary job-training models and government assistance programs.
1. Integrate local educational and job-training models into the project’s distribution and production system. The Kids Feeding Kids program will produce a minimum of 100 bushels of crops annually distributed to the Community Kitchen program. In turn, the Community Kitchen program will produce 75,000 meals for low-income children at six local Kids Café programs.
2. Ensure that 90 jobless individuals are trained as food preparers, chefs and managers through the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s Community Kitchen Culinary Arts Training program. Individuals will learn to prepare alternatives that increase nutritional value by 33%.
3. Develop and implement a comprehensive formative and summative evaluation program using a logic model of evaluation to measure the success of the program against local needs and established objectives, as described in the evaluation component of this proposal.