The Coastal Conservation League has substantially increased its deliveries of fresh, local produce to families in need thanks to a new contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box contract, the Conservation League’s local food hub, GrowFood Carolina, is packaging 30-pound food boxes, with a variety of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables from their partner farmers, to be delivered to families in need.
Since May 15, food boxes have been delivered to clients served by One80 Place, Enough Pie, and the Humanities Foundation. These organizations were selected because they work with individuals who don’t have enough food to support their families due to the pandemic. The contract allows for more than 1,000 food boxes to be delivered through June 30.
One of the partners, One80 Place, ends and prevents homelessness and has identified 75 families who have recently moved into new homes. Unfortunately, because the unemployment rate is so high (due to the pandemic), these families do not have adequate access to food. “Fresh, quality produce makes a huge difference for families working to keep food on the table,” said One80 Place CEO, Stacey Denaux. “This collaboration among the federal government and local agencies is a beaming example of how to tackle emergencies, as well as how to help formerly homeless families stay safe and healthy in their own homes.”
“The Conservation League created GrowFood Carolina to support South Carolina’s small farmers and get local food to our local communities,” said Coastal Conservation League Executive Director Laura Cantral. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, that mission is more vital and urgent than ever. We’re thrilled that the USDA contract will help us substantially expand our efforts to get produce from local farms to families that desperately need it during these tough times.”
Anthony Mirisciotta, GrowFood’s General Manager, said that since the pandemic started, GrowFood has been working hard to get fresh food to local families in need. “In recent weeks, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, GrowFood has been able to raise over $16,000 and deliver nearly 10,000 pounds of food to our friends at the Lowcountry Food Bank and other organizations committed to keeping our coastal communities fed. Thanks to the USDA program, we’ll be able to expand both our reach and the amount of local food we deliver.”
Founded by the Coastal Conservation League in 2011, GrowFood Carolina partners directly with 100 growers producing on a combined total of 2,500 acres throughout South Carolina. Through these partnerships, we have provided 350 products to over 300 restaurants and 25 grocery store locations, returning over $7.2 million to local farmers.