FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2016
Columbia, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control today launched the new S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market App - a free, interactive map that makes it easier to find and buy fresh produce locally. The web-based app shows the location, hours of operation and accepted payment types, including WIC, SNAP and senior voucher programs for more than 200 farmers markets and roadside produce stands across the state.
"Access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be a defining factor that distinguishes a thriving community from a disadvantaged one," said Lisa Davis, DHEC Director of Health Services. "The app makes it easy to find local, affordable options for fresh produce throughout the state, which can help empower people to make healthy eating choices for their families."
Helping people discover that cooking fresh foods can be easy and delicious, the new app includes healthy recipes each month that feature in-season produce.
Eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day can help people maintain a healthy weight. In addition to fighting obesity, fresh produce is packed with vitamins and minerals that deliver a wide variety of health benefits - from fighting cancer to reducing inflammation and so much more.
"This app provides many benefits to users by enabling them to locate nearby farmers markets and increasing access to healthy food all while supporting South Carolina farmers and our state's number one industry," said SC Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers.
The app was developed in partnership with the S.C. Department of Agriculture, S.C. Department of Social Services and S.C. Association of Farmers Markets.
To collect the data that powers the S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market App, the partners developed the S.C. Fruit and Vegetable Outlet Inventory, which DHEC community health staff used to survey 229 local markets throughout April, May and June of 2015.
Amber Gillum, DSS Deputy Director of Economic Services said, "We appreciate the coordinated efforts of SCDA, The SC Farmer's Association and DHEC to help produce this useful app. Helping provide nutritious food options is another way DSS helps strengthens families in South Carolina."
Data from the inventory will be included as part of the S.C. Obesity Action Plan. The information will also be used to identify areas of the state where access to fresh produce needs to be improved.
In addition to making fresh food easier to find, seasonal programs are also making local produce more affordable in various parts of the state. DHEC's WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides WIC participants with checks that can be used to buy approved fresh produce at authorized farmers markets and roadside stands.
To use the S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market App, visit www.scdhec.gov/farmersmarkets.
For more information on WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, visit www.scdhec.gov/Health/WIC/FarmersMarkets/
DHEC Media Relations