Championing Change: Fighting for Food Access

A South Carolina neighborhood overcomes food apartheid with a local farmers market dedicated to sovereignty, justice, and community action.

Photo by April Jones

About two years ago, I founded the Pinehurst Farmers Market in Columbia, South Carolina, when I saw that both grocery stores within walking distance of the Pinehurst neighborhood had closed suddenly. I realized that a food apartheid situation had been created in my community, and I knew something had to change.

Inspired by Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm at a Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in Georgia, I chose to be the change I was looking for in my community. “If you’re looking for someone to save you, no one is coming. You’ll have to save yourself,” Penniman said.

Those words were a call to action to create a solution to the issue of food access in the Pinehurst neighborhood. My vision was to form a self-sustaining system that would create healthy, organic food options for the community, support the local economy, and give residents access to food sovereignty. As a result, I started the Pinehurst Farmers Market as an equitable, fair space for farmers and community members. The Pinehurst Farmers Market is committed to food justice and food sovereignty, and strives to create a spirit of self-reliance and community action. The market gives local farmers an opportunity to use their organic, regenerative growing methods and shared cultural experiences, with shared solidarity, to create food access for members of the Pinehurst community and residents throughout the city.



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