Food deserts are low-income census tracts where people live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery story; in rural areas, the distance expands to 10 miles.  Simply put, these are communities where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain.


Food deserts can be located in the middle of urban areas or in small, rural towns, and everywhere in between.  According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Desert Locator, nearly 200,000, or 57% of South Carolinians, live in communities where there is low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.

South Carolina needs to bring together key stakeholders to address the issue of food deserts in our state and on September 25, we’re doing just that.  Partnering with the S.C. Food Policy Council, we are hosting Growing Food & Opportunities in SC: Economic & Community Development through Healthy Food Access, a workshop that will provide a forum for a discussion on creating healthy food access for underserved communities across the state.

This one-day workshop will identify food deserts in South Carolina, highlight current initiatives that are addressing the issue, and present financial resources available for developing healthy food retail outlets.  The goal of the workshop is to explore challenges and opportunities leading to the decrease in food deserts across SC.

Our executive director, Michelle Mapp, will present on the economic and community development opportunities associated with healthy food access, and keynote speaker, Jeff Brown, will share his personal experiences with developing food retail outlets in underserved communities.  Jeff is the owner and operator of 11 state-of-the-art supermarkets and is a nationally recognized leader on improving food access in low-income communities.

We encourage anyone interested in increasing healthy food access, creating economic development, and creating healthy environments to attend.  While this is a free workshop, we do ask that everyone pre-register.

We look forward to seeing you next week in Columbia.