2012: Formation of the Midlands Local Food Collaborative
November 2012: The Collaborative hosted the first Midlands Local Food Summit, bringing together agricultural producers, restaurateurs, grocers, food distributors, and support organizations to discuss the needs and opportunities for growing the Midlands local food movement. A summary of the event can be found here.
June, 2013: The Collaborative hosted a second Midlands Local Food Summit to give midlands food system representatives an opportunity to provide input on the “Making Small Farms Big Business” assessment conducted by the SC Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. A summary of the event is available here.
October, 2013: Executive Director of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Roland McReynolds joined the Midlands Local Food Collaborative in October, 2013 to present a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Information Session in Columbia. Proposed FSMA regulations pose issues of real concern to the local food community and, especially, to small farmers.
May, 2014: Midlands Local Food Collaborative website and Find Local Food widget launched.
June, 2014: Midlands representatives from federal, state, and local agencies gathered in St. Matthews for an Agency Stakeholder Meeting to learn more about the Midlands Local Food Collaborative and new developments in the local food system. This meeting was sponsored by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District through Organic Richland, a cooperative program with SC-NRCS.
August, 2014: The Future of Midlands Farms and Food Summit was held at the State Farmers Market on August 4. More than 100 people participated in the event, which included special presentations by Jack Shuler (Palmetto Agribusiness Council), Scott Park (Greenville County), Sara Clow (GrowFood Carolina), Kevin O'Connell (The Produce Box), Tony Kleese (EarthWise), Rochelle Sparko (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association), and others. Priority areas for future Midlands food systems efforts were identified: increasing agriculture education, improving land access, expanding the Farm to School and Farm to Institution programs, and solving labor access issues.
August, 2013 - July, 2014: MLFC members interviewed 77 Midlands farmers to identify barriers farmers face in producing and selling food , the level of demand for locally farmed food, and the potential need for a food hub in the region. The results of these interviews were published in a October, 2014 USC Policy Brief: Growth and Representation: Decreasing Barriers and Creating Networks Supporting Food Producing Farmers in South Carolina’s Midlands.
September, 2014: As an outgrowth of the "Future of Midlands Farms and Food Summit," the Midlands Food Alliance (MFA) formed as a grassroots group under the nonprofit Sustainable Midlands umbrella to advocate and educate for a sustainable and equitable, localized food system in the Midlands of South Carolina. A Memorandum of Understanding was created to outline the relationship between the Midlands Local Food Collaborative and the MFA.
September, 2015: The Midlands Food Alliance published a 2015 Midlands Food Guide and began hosting regional potlucks to strengthen local networks of food producers and consumers.
Fall, 2015: MLFC members began interviewing food distributors to identify obstacles to local food distribution in SC. The results of distributor interviews was published in an August, 2016 USC Policy Brief: Local Food Distribution in the SC Midlands: Identifying Barriers to and Opportunities for Food Producing Farmers Entering Wholesale Markets.
May, 2016: The SC Farmer Resource Rodeo was held at the Phillips Market Center to help farmers and resource providers navigate the complex array of technical, financial, and educational resources provided by various federal, state, local, and non-profit resource providers. The event was attended by ~100 people, with participation from 22 statewide resource providers.
May 21, 2016: The MFA hosted the Midlands Farm Tour.
July, 2016: The Midlands Food Alliance published an updated 2016 Midlands Local Food and Farm Guide and distributed it at festivals, farmers markets, and Extension offices throughout the region.
October, 2016: MLFC was one of 11 SC organizations included in the James Beard Foundation and Food Tank's national "Good Food Guide.”
December 2016: The MLFC hosted a Land Access Committee Meeting with discussion facilitated by David Harper of the Pee Dee Land Trust. Twenty-four agency and organization representatives attended the meeting and agreed to meet quarterly to further the goals of the Committee.
December 2016: The MLFC published a 2012-2016 Accomplishments Report
April, 2017: The second annual SC Farmer Resource Rodeo was held at the Phillips Market Center to help farmers and resource providers navigate the complex array of technical, financial, and educational resources provided by various federal, state, local, and non-profit resource providers. The event was attended by ~113 people, with participation from >24 statewide resource providers.