Growing produce and local communities

By Kerry Coffey

One of the contributing factors to high obesity rates is that the neediest citizens frequently cannot afford, or do not have access to, fresh produce.

To combat this problem, the Lowcountry Food Bank and Clemson’s Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life (IFNL) developed the Growing Foods Locally program. In the pilot study in Beaufort County, this program brought together eight local farmers and 18 community agencies who distributed more than 750,000 pounds of fresh produce to needy families in the first year.

The food bank is the single most important source of food and related household items for the participating agencies. In addition to providing fresh produce, the food bank has dramatically overhauled its entire inventory so that significantly more nutritious foods are now available.

“New management systems, inventorying procedures, and service functions have been added, including some that make the food bank a promising economic engine for the region,” said Kathy Robinson, project director for IFNL.

For information: Kathy Robinson, 864-656-6284,