Local food is more than just nutritious and delicious - it is a critical ingredient in regional economic and community development. The rural economy of South Carolina’s Catawba Region (Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union and York Counties) has been devastated due to the sharp decline of the area’s textile industry over the past decade. Increased globalization of the manufacturing sector has created an out-migration of economic opportunity in the region, leaving behind high unemployment, pervasive poverty and fragile communities.
New economic development strategies will be required to create wealth and sustain the regional economy in the years ahead. We believe sustainable agribusiness development, if properly supported, can be a strategy that will attract new investment and support the region’s “triple bottom line:” our economy, our environment and the social well-being of our communities.
The Catawba Regional Local Food Coalition seeks to advance and sustain food and farming in which agricultural productivity, environmental stewardship and profitability reinforce each other for the benefit of the entire region.
Sustainable Agriculture Education
We will provide the education necessary to allow farmers to be successful, productive, and innovative members of the local agricultural community.
Agribusiness Development and Diversification
We will lower the barriers to entry and growth within the local agribusiness economy. Area “ag-entrepreneurs” will have the infrastructure and support needed to start, sustain and grow their venture.
Strategic Partnerships and Planning
We will assemble groups that have not traditionally worked together as allies around the economic, environmental and social issues surrounding food and farming.
New Local Food System Marketing Channels
We will facilitate the development of new marketing channels including: farmer’s markets, on-line market platforms, institutional arrangements, and community supported agriculture.
From York to Fork
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Chester County Agriculture Innovation Center
Recieved $125,000 USDA-RD Grant to begin building renovation
Chester Chapter has First Meeting
May 19, 2011