South Carolina Partners

  • Roots of Life

The South Carolina Farm to School Program originated in 2011 as a two-year project funded by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, state legislation established the “Fresh on the Campus Program” within the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to foster direct relationships between South Carolina farms and schools, and to provide schools with fresh and minimally processed foods for student consumption. In 2013, further legislation required SCDA to create and maintain a program to encourage schools to serve locally grown, minimally processed farm food.

Since then, SC Farm to School has expanded to not only include more schools, but also other institutions such as preschools. In 2015, the umbrella organization SC Farm to Institution was founded to encompass additional institutional sites. Administered by SCDA, the Program is a collaborative partnership between SCDHEC, SCDE, SCDSS and Clemson University. Representatives from these organizations serve on the SC Farm to Institution Advisory Council.

Since its inception, the Program has funded over 150 schools and preschools by awarding $4000 mini-grants for schools to implement four core components including procuring and serving SC grown produce, promoting the Certified SC Grown brand, integrating agriculture and nutrition education, and starting or revitalizing a school garden. The Program has also developed a number of resources all aimed at targeting key stakeholders such as teachers, farmers, and food service staff. Beginning in 2017 the Program will shift focus from funding to training, which will allow more schools and districts throughout the state to implement and sustain farm to school programs. Our overriding goal continues to be finding solutions for farmers to source their products to the school market with a vision to become the hub for farm to school efforts in our state, deliver training and resources, both regionally and statewide, and to help launch regional coalitions to strengthen the impact of farm to school throughout South Carolina.