Mill Village Farms transforms vacant properties in Greenville, SC into bountiful gardens that grow locally sourced produce for communities that have limited access to fresh and healthy foods. They offer these farm-fresh foods through their brick and mortar Mill Village Market in West Greenville and their revolutionary Mobile Market, a grocery store on wheels that brings healthy produce to “food-desert” communities.
They also create employment and training opportunities for community youth, empowering them with experiences in basic job skills, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship. Research shows that employed youth are more likely to graduate high school, stay out of trouble, and be prepared for future job success.
Mill Village Farms began in the spring of 2012 when 25 volunteers gathered to break ground on a new urban farm model. The concept is simple: build small, sustainable, organic farms that promote holistic development in Greenville communities.
Not too long ago, Greenville, SC was known as the “textile capital of the world,” and the mill villages were bustling with successful business owners, farmers and workers. But today those once-thriving textile communities battle unemployment, homelessness and high crime rates.
The USDA has labeled many mill village communities as “food deserts,” which means that the residents have easy access to heavily processed foods but only a limited and expensive path to fresh locally grown produce.
The folks at Mill Village Farms are working to combat this situation by establishing fruit and vegetable farms on neighborhood street blocks. Neighborhood interns and volunteers then serve as advocates for the community by sharing the fresh grown produce with other neighbors.
In addition to increasing access to healthy foods, the community farms promote physical activity and healthy eating. But these farms also benefit the environment: beautifying abandoned properties, managing storm water, and increasing biodiversity.
At Propel HR, we are proud to help many nonprofit organizations with their payroll and human resources needs. Each month we are spotlighting one of these organizations. You can read our August Nonprofit Spotlight about TreesGreenville here.