Plant the right seed and good things will grow. That’s the goal of SC Plants the Seed, multi-component, library based intervention program that was developed to improve nutrition access and literacy, among low-income families.
Program driven by partnership
SC Plants the Seed is a partnership between DHEC (SNAP-Ed), the SC State Library, and the SC Department of Social Services. The program currently integrates activities within four components: nutrition education, increasing access of fresh produce, USDA Summer Food Service Program, and literacy.
A summer of nutrition and reading
Once a month at the Bishopville and Pelion libraries and weekly at the Orangeburg Library, local farmers were invited to set up a farm-stand to give patrons the opportunity to purchase local farm fresh produce. One of the goals was promoting the Healthy Bucks Program, the SCDSS farmers market incentive. The program also set out to make it more accessible for SNAP, WIC, and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) participants to redeem their vouchers. Persons on SNAP could spend $5 in EBT and receive an additional $10, which only can be used with a local authorized farmer.
Not only did patrons have the opportunity to purchase produce but the SNAP-Ed program conducted food demonstrations and provided recipe samples prepared with the farmer’s local produce. They were also able to learn and ask about how to select, prepare, and store produce and find out what is in season.
At each event, every child received a free book, by a grant provided by the State Library, and there were arts and crafts activities. The Lee County Library in Bishopville served free meals at each event for children under 18 years of age through the USDA Summer Food Service program.
The farms and libraries that participated
The local farms that participated in the program were Martin Farms of North, SC; Rogers Vegetable Farm of Sumter, SC; and Beason Farms of Pelion, SC. The host libraries for the summer of 2017 were Lee County Library in Bishopville, Orangeburg County Public Library-Main branch, and the Lexington County Library-Pelion Branch. The program was implemented in conjunction with each library’s summer reading programs.
SC Plants the Seed will return in the summer of 2018!