Ima Oldman, your questions are valid, but you don't have to look to far for answers. The Charleston Area Children's Garden Project (http://childrensgardenproject.org/) has been building school gardens and integrating fresh, locally grown produce into school cafeterias around this area for at least five years. That organization has been active orchestrating school gardens at Title 1 schools around Charleston for over 12 years.
Olivia Thompson's Farm to Schools initiative is being rolled out statewide this year, meaning that select schools across the state will be experiencing the benefits of this model. In addition, that initiative has partnered with Trident Technical College to begin training public school cafeteria staff in the best use of locally grown produce.
You can also check out what's happening with the Green Heart project downtown (http://greenheartsc.org/). This privately backed initiative is helping to supply the cafeteria at Mitchell Elmentary School with fresh, locally grown produce and the opportunity for the school's students to work and learn in the garden. That's been going on since 2009.
You mention waste. There really is no waste when you apply a closed-loop model. Instead, there's compost. Most of the schools with gardens are actively composting the food waste. Green Heart does that, the CACGP schools do this, and so do the schools involved in the Farm to School initiative.
As for the feasibility of these programs for farmers, I can't speak to that. But I'm sure if you check out some of these projects in person, the folks involved will happily answer your questions.
And don't forget about Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. It's that largest sailing regatta of it's kind in the Western Hemisphere, right here in Chucktown April 10-14. Anyone can attend the post-race parties at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at Patriot's Point. www.charlestonraceweek.com
Fantastic article. Great to know that this is happening in our community. Funding something liket this makes a lot more sense than throwing money at a political campaign. I hope all the donors to our recent special election for District 1 will consider supporting the Children's Garden Project as liberally as they supported their respective candidates.
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