Urban farm aims to curb North Charleston food desert

Urban farm aims to curb North Charleston food desert

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Portions of North Charleston are lacking in grocery stores, creating a food desert in several parts of the city, including southern North Charleston.

"There hasn't been a grocery store since Win Dixie closed in 2005," Germaine Jenkins, CEO of Fresh Future Farm said.

The Shipwatch Sqaure is expecting a grocery store to be a part of the new property plan, but for the last twelve years they've been without a fresh produce and meat market. Which is what gave Jenkins the idea for the Fresh Future Farm.

"I personally have a car but the groceries I could afford were not in the neighborhood, And it wasn't bringing any money to the neighborhood so after a lot of trainings we came up with the idea of Fresh Future Farm," Jenkins said.

There are several areas of food deserts within North Charleston. A food desert is a geographic area that doesn't have a grocery store within it so the residents can't walk or get easily to a grocery store that provides fresh produce, fresh meats.

"A lot of folks you can see them passing on success or Leland street. They're walking to the dollar store or convenience stores that have some groceries, mostly processed stuff, but not any fresh produce because of the shelf life. We have over forty varieties of fresh produce here at the farm," Jenkins said.

She sells what she grows and also has a store where she sells a variety of basic grocery items at affordable prices.

The farm also brings more to the table then fresh produce,  “We stimulate social, economic and ecological environments through green farming and building practices, aquaculture design, renewable energy and strategic partnerships to keep overhead costs low” the website said.

The farm also provides an opportunity for elementary school children to take field trips. It's located across the street from Chicora Elementary School, so Jenkins said the farm is an affordable way for children to learn more about farming without paying the expenses to take a bus.

Jenkins also said the farm provides economic benefits to the area, "We're looking for folks of all ages especially folks who living the southern end of north Charleston because you can save money if you walk to work so we want to eliminate the barrier of getting to jobs."

The farm also "provides educational opportunities for adults and children by providing a place within the community where people can grow, learn, and work to provide better food and opportunities" the website said.

The farm accepts volunteers, you can learn more about the farm here: http://freshfuturefarm.org/get-involved/ .

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