In December, the Feeding Innovation Colleton and Catawba sessions culminated in final pitch nights with a total of 11 class members competing for two separate $12,500 seed capital awards.

The Feeding Innovation Colleton class took place in Walterboro, and participants’ projects included teaching farms, aquaponics, and mobile and online markets. The Feeding Innovation Catawba class, which took place in Rock Hill, presented a wide array of projects from livestock farming to a corner store, farmers market, and mobile pantry.

Feeding Innovation Colleton’s winner was John Lloyd of Greening the South. John is a fourth-generation farmer who has also participated in a past Feeding Innovation session as well as Lowcountry Local First’s Growing New Farmers program. John’s small-scale farm will utilize a farm-to-church supply line, which is vital to low access, rural communities in South Carolina.

Feeding Innovation Catawba’s winner was Alisha Pruett won Feeding Innovation Catawba for her nonprofit mobile pantry, The Bulb,which uses donated and reclaimed food to teach and feed isolated communities in York County. Alisha is a social worker by trade who saw a need  for healthy food delivery in rural communities, particularly for residents lacking transportation.

We are proud of not just our winners, but all the entrepreneurs who worked so hard to complete the coursework as well as their business plans. Ian Dillinger of Instinct Earth said the class has shifted his thinking to an entrepreneurial mindset. Deryl Scott of Capital City Fresh Farms noted he felt Feeding Innovation prepared him to solidify his business plan and become more comfortable presenting it which will help when seeking financing for his project. Further, both classes became tight-knit groups of healthy food entrepreneurs who plan to collaborate as their businesses grow. Katherine Nelson of STEAM Works Farm, for example, said she plans to partner with two classmates to distribute her greens.

Congratulations, Greening the South, The Bulb, and all of the entrepreneurs who participated in these Feeding Innovation programs! We look forward to watching these entrepreneurs put their ideas into action across the state. To learn more about Feeding Innovation, visit our programs page. You can also learn more about our healthy food lending program here.