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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2012

S.C. Farm to School program receives financial boost

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Farm to School program has gained important financial support from Greenville’s Whole Foods Market, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“This Upstate retailer has offered a portion of one day’s pre-tax revenue to promote health, sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation,” said Holly Harring, Ph.D. and statewide coordinator of the Farm to School program. “On May 8, Whole Foods Market on Woodruff Road will donate 5 percent of each sale. Every shopper will be demonstrating their support with every purchase made that day.”

According to Dr. Harring, the S.C. Farm to School program facilitates connections between farms and schools to improve the nutritional quality of school meals while supporting the state’s farmers. The program currently supports partnerships with 52 schools and more than 40 participating farms across the state.

“Farm to School helps provide healthy options for students and increases the share of the food dollar coming back to our own farmers,” said Hugh Weathers, S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture. “With millions of meals served in lunchrooms across the state, school foodservice working with local farmers has the potential to make a difference in building stronger bodies and, at the same time, building stronger local economies.”

“Four times a year, Whole Foods Market Greenville donates 5% of a day’s sales to give back to our local communities by providing support to nonprofit organizations,” said Keri Moore, marketing coordinator for Whole Foods.

“Proceeds will go toward efforts to sustain and support the expansion of the Farm to School program to more schools in the Greenville area and across South Carolina,” Harring said. Currently, Chenydale Elementary and St. Anthony of Padua are two Greenville-area schools receiving grant funds from the program.

“We remain dedicated to instilling the value of health and agriculture among children,” Harring said, “and we need support from our community partners to continue this work.”

S.C. Farm to School originated as a two-year project funded by a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and supported by collaborative efforts from the state’s Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute and DHEC. The program works to increase the number of farmers certified to provide locally grown products to schools, provide education to foodservice staff and teachers on Farm to School practices, and develop hands-on learning activities to promote healthy eating among school children. More can be found online at http://scfarmtoschool.com/.

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For more information:
Holly Harring – (803) 545-4476
Email – harrinha@dhec.sc.gov

For media inquiries:
Jim Beasley – (803) 898-7769
Email – beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov