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South Carolina Farmers Selling Food Through New Program

South Carolina Farmers Selling Food Through New Program

LFPA Program Connects Underserved Producers, Communities

South Carolina farmers have new outlets for their products thanks to a new federally funded program operating in the state.

The Local Food Purchase Assistance program is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA). SCDA and the Catawba Nation collaborated on the program application and were awarded $6.1 million in LFPA funds in late 2022. SCDA is responsible for administering $4.7 million of that total.

Using these federal funds, SCDA is contracting with aggregators to buy food from local, socially disadvantaged producers to distribute, free of charge, to underserved populations within the state.

USDA defines socially disadvantaged producers as farmers or ranchers who have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability. This definition may include Black farmers, Hispanic farmers, women farmers, veteran farmers diagnosed with PTSD, and others. The federal program is intended to help these producers build capacity and connect with new markets.

In addition to increasing consumption of local, healthy, and culturally unique foods, SCDA hopes this program will help expand economic opportunity and transform the state’s food system in the long term.

The aggregators are responsible for distributing food purchased through the program to underserved communities in the state. Practically, this means food may be distributed in 24 South Carolina underserved counties: Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Cherokee, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Edgefield, Georgetown, Greenwood, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Union, and Williamsburg. Outside of the 24 counties listed above, food may be distributed in any other area of South Carolina that is rural or where people are adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

Twelve aggregators are currently participating in the program:

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is still seeking more farmers to participate. Interested producers should fill out the Producer Registration Form.

Nonprofit food pantries, schools and other groups engaged in food distribution can also register online and be connected with participating aggregators. Interested distributors should fill out the Partner Distributor Registration Form.

To learn more about the LFPA program, visit

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