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The Colleton County Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen earns recognition in DC

This past week, the new Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen Director, Matt Mardell, traveled to Washington DC to speak at a conference at the EPA headquarters. Last year, Mardell made a presentation in front of the SC Association of Counties Judges panel to win the J. Mitchell Graham award that recognizes innovated projects completed by South Carolina counties. Once again, Mardell would take the podium to kick-off the conference filled with many community leaders and Federal Agencies. “It’s nerve-wracking when you go first. Are you telling people what they want to hear?” Mardell said. “When you see people smiling, nodding along or vigorously taking notes, you know it’s going well.” The conference detailed many from the EPA’s Local Foods, Local Places program from across the nation. The program guides community leaders with help in identifying the security of our foods among its citizens following Federal guidance. Former Colleton Director Gary Brightwell represented the community at last year’s conference. Mardell stated, “What Gary has done has allowed us to identify how we get stronger as a place, particularly through food.” “Food security, healthy eating, especially within rural communities, are at the forefront of the programs of some major federal agencies such as the EPA, CDC and especially the USDA which is highly influential in what we have already done here in Colleton County. Food is always a common denominator.” Mardell discussed other factors in the program which created the video “ The Art of Rural Community” and the fact the kitchen has grown to an incubation of 12 businesses. “What people really get here is the feeling of community and that’s what my presentation honed in on,” said Mardell, “They were fascinated that we can get people working towards a common goal for the betterment of our community. This program is going to have a great impact on us for years to come. Colleton has many great assets going for it, including its people and it’s really catching the eye of the nation.”

Special to The Colletonian (3053 Posts)