Goal: The goal of the SC Food Access Task Force is to expand the availability of nutritious food by developing and equipping food retail and wholesale outlets selling healthy food, including but not limited to grocery stores, corner stores, farmers’ markets, food hubs, and mobile markets.
Purpose: South Carolina's Healthy Food Financing Initiative, administered by South Carolina Community Loan Fund, provides predevelopment, acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, equipment, leasehold improvement, and working capital loans, and tax incentives to food producers, retail operators and distributors located in food deserts.
Rationale: South Carolina ranks 42nd nationally in public health and leads the nation in most of the negative health indices, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, obesity, diabetes, infant mortality and access to affordable health care. Among the challenges facing our low-wealth communities is access to fresh, healthy food. Yet, the problem goes beyond health; poor communities are often cut off from the economic development opportunities that are presented from having a local grocery store.
On September 25, 2012 the South Carolina Food Policy Council and the South Carolina Community Loan Fund hosted a statewide workshop that focused on food access issues. The conference identified food deserts in SC, highlighted current initiatives and organizations that are addressing food access, and presented financial resources available for healthy food retail options in SC. The Task Force released its initial report in October, 2014.
The result of this workshop was the launch of the SC Food Access Task Force, a multi-disciplinary collaboration of public, private, and government organizations including public health, agriculture, grocery industry, transportation, planning, economic development, community development, education, civil rights, faith, and youth advocacy groups. The task force focuses on food deserts throughout the state of South Carolina.