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:
In November 2012, the MLFC hosted the first Midlands Local Food Summit, bringing together agricultural producers, restaurateurs, grocers, food distributors, and support organizations to discuss the needs and opportunities for growing the Midlands local food movement. A summary of the event can be found here.
The MLFC hosted a second Midlands Local Food Summit in June, 2013, to give midlands food system representatives an opportunity to provide input on the “Making Small Farms Big Business” assessment conducted by the SC Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. A summary of the event is available here.
Executive Director of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Roland McReynolds joined the MLFC in October, 2013 to present a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Information Session in Columbia. Proposed FSMA regulations pose issues of real concern to the local food community and, especially, to small farmers.
In June, 2014, the MLFC hosted an Agency Stakeholder Meeting in St. Matthews for representatives of federal, state, and local agencies to learn more about the MLFC's efforts and new developments in the local food system.
The Future of Midlands Farms and Food Summit was held at the State Farmers Market on August 4, 2014. More than 100 people participated in the event, which included special presentations by Jack Shuler (Palmetto Agribusiness Council), Scott Park (Greenville County), Sara Clow (GrowFood Carolina), Kevin O'Connell (The Produce Box), Tony Kleese (EarthWise), Rochelle Sparko (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association), and others. Priority areas for future Midlands food systems efforts were identified: increasing agriculture education, improving land access, expanding the Farm to School and Farm to Institution programs, and solving labor access issues.
In May, 2016, the MLFC hosted an SC Farmer Resource Rodeo at the State Farmers Market. Nearly 100 people attended the event, which was designed to provide information about the variety of technical, financial, and educational resources and services available to SC farmers through federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. Participating service providers gave 8-minute presentations introducing their programs, then staffed exhibits throughout the day to answer questions and provide more detailed information.
MLFC members meet monthly to coordinate local food systems efforts. For more information about the Collaborative or its meetings, visit www.midlandslocalfood.org or contact Chanda Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.