Fresh Future Farm to Host Annual SC Black Farmers Conference Virtually

UPDATE: This Conference will now be completely virtual

Press Release

Fresh Future Farm (FFF) will host its second annual SC Black Farmers Conference on March 29-30, 2020 at the Penn Center in St. Helena, SC. The goal of the conference is to bring food activist experts from across the country to share their best practices with new, budding, and established SC growers. The SC Black Farmers Conference will leverage expanded food literacy into an action-based event grounded in shared economic and social justice opportunities. NASA engineer and pitmaster, Howard Conyers will serve as the 2020 Keynote Speaker.

Along with open lectures and networking, the leadership team will map and access Black farms and farmer needs, and provide healing and massage spaces thanks to sponsors Avery  Research Institute, Transformation Yoga, Reinvestment Fund, RAFI, and an anonymous donor. Ben and Jerry's Foundation has also contributed funds to this intergenerational organizing effort.  The conference will host a working lunch for non-Black participants to discuss how  allies can support Black food sovereignty in South Carolina. Laurell Sims (Urban Growers Collective), Margaret Gifford (Watervine Inc.), and FFF board treasurer Steve Saltzman (Charleston LDC) will lead the discussion. Participants are encouraged to purchase Zoom  tickets and engage virtually. Registration information is available at scblackfarmers.org.

Laurell Sims is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Finance for Urban Growers Collective. She received her BA in Asian Studies and Government from the University of Redlands. Laurell worked at Growing Power Chicago for 11-years prior to UGC, where she served as the Production and Marketing Manager for six-years and the Education Coordinator for five-years.

Formerly, Laurell was the Director for ReVision House Urban Farm, a farm-training program for homeless young mothers in Dorchester, MA.  Laurell is active in the Chicago Food Policy  Action Council, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for Slow Food Chicago and Green City Market. In 2011, Laurell was selected as a Bold Food Fellow, a State Department exchange with farmers from Uganda and Kenya, and has managed development projects with urban farms in Haiti.

Margaret Gifford is the National Business and Community Engagement Consultant to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Health Means Business campaign, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is the founder of Watervine Impact in NYC. Watervine helps social impact enterprises enter new markets, gain customers and access funds for growth. Margaret’s mission is to bring together business and impact capital to grow healthy and sustainable communities.

Margaret serves as an advisor to RAFI-USA, Farm Hack and Vesta Foods, LLC. Margaret has held senior leadership positions in global brand marketing at Ogilvy and HP and she is the founder of the public health nonprofit organization, Farmer Foodshare. Her work has been mentioned in publications from the New York Times and Edible Manhattan to  Epicurious.

Steve Saltzman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Lowcountry Development Corporation (LDC), a CDFI headquartered in Charleston, SC. The organization provides support for food systems, affordable housing and local business. Before taking leadership of the LDC, he committed twelve years to the Self-Help Credit Union, where he created and led its food system finance sector and directed its $400 million Charter School Loan Fund. Mr. Saltzman sits on a number of boards focused on food system justice, including the Kresge FreshLo Advisory Board and Charleston’s Fresh Future Farm. He holds an M.A. from the University of Virginia and a B.A. from Duke University.

About Fresh Future Farm

Fresh Future Farm grows food to build strong communities. They apply a multi-prong strategy to address health, wealth and quality of life issues by creating jobs, micro-entrepreneurial opportunities that keep dollars circulating in underserved communities. For more information, please visit http://www.freshfuturefarm.org. This nonprofit accepts SNAP (EBT) in addition to cash, debit and gift cards. Fresh Future Farm is proud to offer sliding scale pricing for people who qualify for the discount.

Information on volunteer workdays, gardening classes and other educational and social events can be found on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. The USDA farm store is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 11 am – 6 pm and Saturdays 8 am - 3 pm in winter and fall; noon – 7 pm Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays 7 am - 2 pm in spring and summer.

If you would like more information, please call Germaine at (843) 276-8552, or email [email protected]

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