Allendale County, South Carolina
GrowingSC's pilot region is Allendale County, South Carolina, where we are partnered with many farmers and community organizations.
Allendale is located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Recognized since the 1970’s as a Persistent Poverty County, Allendale is considered the most impoverished area of South Carolina. The county has South Carolina’s lowest median household income - $20,081 and few sources of economic opportunity. Allendale also exhibits the highest rate of diabetes in the state (19.2%) and one of the highest rates of obesity in South Carolina (24%).
In part this is due to Allendale's citizens having little access to nutritious food. Allendale County has only one grocery store for its almost 11,000 residents. The county is classified as a food desert by transportation, with most of the county living more than a mile from the grocery store. Many in the county lack access to a car, leading to poor food availability and dietary habits.
In 2017, Allendale County Schools were declared in a “state of emergency” by the South Carolina Department of Education. Currently, one in four people in Allendale County does not graduate high school. One in five is not literate at a basic level.
However, Allendale County is a hotbed of community activism and development. GrowingSC is a proud partner of both the All Together Allendale Business Council and Allendale Alive – an extension of the Obama Administration’s Promise Zone delegation to the South Carolina Lowcountry. Together, we have been able to feed over 2,500 households below the poverty line. We are working to make Allendale a better place to live, work, and eat.