In 2011, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) entered a cooperative agreement with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to promote voluntary conservation practices on certified- and transitioning-to-organic farmland through a program called the Organic Initiative. It quickly became apparent that, in order for more local farmers to take advantage of the Organic Initiative, more education, support, and local food system developments were needed to expand farmers’ access to local organic markets.
To facilitate these developments, the SWCD and NRCS partnered with a local non-profit organization, Sustainable Midlands, and together, the trio launched a working group called the Midlands Local Food Collaborative (MLFC) in the fall of 2012. Today, five years later, the MLFC boasts fifteen active member agencies, organizations, and academic institutions whose common goal is to promote a vibrant and sustainable local food system in the eight-county region known as the South Carolina Midlands. These partner organizations meet regularly to coordinate regional food system efforts and have spearheaded a number of initiatives to increase the production and distribution of local and sustainably-grown foods.
For more information about the Collaborative or its meetings, visit www.midlandslocalfood.org or contact Chanda Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Midlands Local Food Collaborative (MLFC) is a catalyst for local food system developments in the Midlands of SC. Based on shared values of sustainable agriculture, land stewardship, and equitable access to food, MLFC participants join efforts to cultivate a thriving local food system through education, infrastructure improvements, policy development, community organization, and technical assistance. Current participants include: