|Plan Region||South Carolina|
|Entry reviewed by original author||Yes|
|PDF attachment||View Full Report|
|Plan Title||Growing Local South Carolina: Recommendations for South Carolina’s Food System|
|Author(s)||Governed by the South Carolina Food Policy Council, executed and evaluated by Nikki Seibert Kelley and Sara Clow (p. 1).|
|Author Type||Network; Food Policy Council|
|Funding Sources||State Government|
|Funders||South Carolina Department of Agriculture; USDA Regional Food System Partnerships grant during their second round of RFPs|
|Total Project Budget||USDA Regional Food System Partnership Grant Received (Implementation & Expansion)Award Amount: $479,893 Match Amount: $133,687 Total Project Amount: $613,580|
|Plan Goals||The central focus of this publication is to act as a catalyst in continuing the growth and support of South Carolina’s local food system. The goals of this plan are two-fold, each with associated recommendations:|
1) Strengthen and expand local food capacity a. Establish and sustain a local food system network for the stateb. Increase collaboration among local food stakeholdersc. Provide leadership development for local food advocates
2) increase visibility and viability of SC small farmsa. Build capacity for the SC Food Hub Networkb. Develop, gather, and organize key metrics and resources
These recommendations support the continuation of “Making Small Farms Big Business (MSFBB) to ensure South Carolina has the capacity, network, and support to advance the visibility and viability of local farms by connecting local foods to local markets” (p. 1).
|Intended Audience||Community organizations, stakeholders, government|
|Plan Recommendation Structure||This publication uses the structure of its “recommendation goals” as an outline of their plan. They conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and then offers two goals with associated recommendations (5 total), each with specific activities articulated within a three-year timeline.|
|Catalyst for Plan||Largely catalyzed by the desire to build upon Making Small Farms Big Business’s recommendations (attached) and the work of the SC Food Hub Network and the efforts of the SC Food Policy Council (SCFPC). In 2012, the Council began hosting bi-annual full-day intensive multi-sector meetings to share on-the- ground projects, national case studies/speakers, and host regional breakout sessions. Between 2012 and 2021, the Council hosted numerous meetings including 3 full-day workshops covering “Community Development through Healthy Food Access”, “Between Farm & Fork: Development & Investment in Local Foods Infrastructure”, and “Future of Food Safety: Healthy People, Smart Business.” In 2017, SCFPC board member Nikki Seibert Kelley was able to secure multi-agency support for the creation of the SC Local Food System Roadmap project which included an informal landscape assessment of stakeholders, a statewide local food system map (GIS), and the creation of an online farmer resource guide. In 2019, the Rural Resource Coalition recruited a diverse group of local food system leaders (including several board members of the SC Food Policy Council) to participate in a facilitated strategic planning process to define the role, opportunities, and objectives of the RRC related to local food activities. Key activities identified included: the need for a state level organization and contact person for local food systems, professional development for food system leaders, training in racial equity and inclusion, streamlining of farmer training, continued support in connecting rural farmers with food hubs, and support for minority farmers.|
|Creation Process||In the summer of 2019, Nikki Seibert Kelley and Sara Clow were asked by the SC Department of Agriculture to collaborate to provide updated recommendations from the 2013 Making Small Farms Big Business report (attached) to increase the capacity for the state’s local food system beyond the SC food Hub Network Activities (attached). The resulting proposal was circulated starting in the winter of 2019. Over the course of 18 months the concept was presented, reviewed, and adapted with the input from 18 key organizations working in South Carolina food systems. While the report garnered statewide support, the onset of the pandemic was a major catalyst in the pursuit of funding. The plan was adapted for the grant application with significant changes made to ensure the project was building off existing work and investing in project partners with the experience and capacity to center and elevate the voices of Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Indigenous food system leaders. The adapted narrative was shared with all members of the SCFPC and SCFHN for review prior to submission and again edited to address USDA reviewer feedback in October of 2020.|
|Theoretical Framework(s) Employed||Other|
|Theoretical Framework(s): Additional Literature||This plan explores the importance of using a Network Framework to enact systems level change. They pull from “Farm to Institution New England: Building a Network” 2015 report to explore the importance of network building in establishing food systems change. They use Easterling’s (2012) definition of a network, where it is “a set of relationships among a group of ‘members’—individuals or organizations” who “interact with one another in ways that confer mutual benefit” (Easterling, 2012).|
Additionally, this report pulls from Plastrik, Taylor, & Cleveland (2014) book, Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact. This book explores a study of successful networks, showing that “1) process is as important as product, 2 ) relationship building and subsequent trust building are critical first steps…, and 3 ) creating shared aspiration, vision, and goals is the glue that holds people together” (p. 13).
Further, the Consensus Building Institute (2015) builds off Plastrik 2014 to offer a framework by which movement can design and evaluate networks. Their stages are “purpose, membership, value, propositions, governance, and operating principles” (p. 13). Altogether, this report uses this literature to build a case for the importance of network building in food systems change.
|Development Timeline||The plan was developed between August 2019 and July 2021 with updates made to the narrative in October 2021 to address USDA grant reviewer feedback.|
|Implementation Strategy||The goals of the project are to:connect diverse stakeholders to cultivate South Carolina’s local food economy,formalize a statewide network to develop a local food system plan that will address systemic inequities in the state’s food system,establish a working group focused on developing an action plan that leverages resources to preserve farmland,build local food system capacity by increasing participation and connectivity of the SC Food Hub Network with mid-tier value chains, andestablish a collaborative model for broader work in food systems with a focus on refining metrics to measure the growth and success of partnerships.|
Their strategies are within a three-year time frame, and under each goal and strategy, they list specific “activities” which range in scope. For example, “Manage project budgets and grant reporting,” or “Conduct statewide meetings gathering input and sharing frameworks” (p. 19).
|Implementation Timeline||3 years|
|Evaluation Strategy||The Growing Local Director, Nikki Seibert Kelley is responsible for collecting all data during the project period which includes a wide range of quantitative metrics (number of farmers, local food purchasing, number of local food businesses, etc). Additionally, the project is leveraging network evaluation tools developed by Visible Network Labs to document, track, and evaluate how the network and their member’s relationships change over time during the project period.|
|International Development Framework(s)||None|
|Current Plan Status||Active|
|Government Adoption Status||Not Adopted|
|Government Adoption Status (Notes)||This plan was reviewed and supported by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (including as a grant partner), however, it has not been formally adopted by the government in part because this plan was not initially written with that intention.|
|Supplemental Documents||View Supplemental Documents|