For many families, finding healthy food easily can be a struggle, especially when there are fast food restaurants located conveniently on almost every corner. Today, DHEC made finding some of those healthy alternatives easier when it launched the new S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market App.
The web-based app is designed to help people locate farmers' markets and places that sell fresh, local produce. It contains a free, interactive map that shows the location, hours of operation, and accepted payment methods of over 200 roadside farmers' markets that sell locally grown produce throughout 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."
The app was developed by the S.C. Department of Agriculture, S.C. Department of Social Services, and by the S.C. Association of Farmers Markets. In addition to providing the location of farmers' markets, it even provides healthy recipes each month that feature in-season produce.
The app’s usefulness goes far beyond simply providing locations for farmers' markets. In order to gather the data provided within the app, its creators developed the S.C. Fruit and Vegetable Outlet Inventory, which DHEC used to survey the hundreds of farmers' markets featured within the app. The data collected will be included as part of the S.C. Obesity Action Plan and will also be used to identify areas of the state that need greater access to fresh produce.
S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers stated that the app would help increase access to healthy food and support South Carolina’s “number one industry” among its multiple benefits.