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South Carolina Programs Try to Help African-American Farmers Stay Afloat

By: Thomas L. Scott –

At a time when many African-American farmers across the country are struggling to hold onto their livelihood, initiatives in South Carolina may have found a way to help ease their burden.

One program, called the Farm to Food Bank, manages to help the farmers and the homeless and hungry at the same time.

Farm to Food Bank helps farmers sell their crops to the Harvest Hope Food Bank, which provided 28 million pounds of food to more than 2.2 million hungry South Carolinians last year through its four locations.

Farm to Food Bank enabled African-American farmer Jannie Dickson, who started Dickson’s Organics Farm in 2006 when she grew tired of her desk job in the city, to ship her organic kale to Harvest Hope Food Bank, even ventured to use industrial farming equipment, you can read more about it on this page about her journey.

Dickson also has worked with the Community Supported Agriculture, a movement that shortens the gap between the producers and the consumer. Consumers who join the CSA agree to buy directly from the farmer, incrementally, for a season. This kind of relationship ensures that the farmer receives payment early in the season, receives better prices for crops and spends more time farming than marketing.

Consumers benefit, too, because they know where the food originates and can get it extremely fresh.

“I would love to just market everything through CSAs,” Dickson told scnow.com.

The Storytelling Project is a very different kind of initiative in South Carolina. It focuses on interviewing African-American farmers to record the history of African-American agriculture and educate students. The project is an initiative started by the South Carolina-based Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (FARMS), which focuses on issues such as land loss facing African-American and Native American farmers, the program wants to be able to provide farmers with new equipment, they want farmers to be able to get a tractors from a tractor dealer so that they can work in a much more efficient and effective way.

To read this article in its entirety visit: Atlantablackstar.com

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Michael Bailey

Michael is the founder and serves as the Chief-Curator of Information for The Minority Eye, South Carolina’s largest minority-owned media outlet. As the leader of the editorial staff, he works as a multimedia journalist, telling the often-overlooked stories of minority communities from across the state and throughout the region. He specializes in producing news stories and personal profiles that share and expound on cultural, social, economic and political experiences of minorities living in South Carolina and beyond. His extensive media, business, and political background have made him a well-respected voice and an often sought-after commentator on issues that impact people of color.

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