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Take a ‘behind the fields’ tour of Spartanburg schools’ thriving organic farm in South Carolina

Spartanburg (SC) School District 6 Director Ron Jones takes us from the roots of this growing partnership to the results: fresh, organic, local produce for the lunchrooms, summer take-home boxes and more.

Ron Jones talks to us on his cell phone as he drives down a rural road on a recent South Carolina summer day. He’s on his way to the 49-acre expanse of Spartanburg Six at Cragmoor Farms, adjacent to Walnut Grove Plantation, which was given to a Scotch-Irish immigrant teacher and his wife in 1765 by King George III.

This land is very old, but it’s very much alive, thanks to a partnership the school district, The Spartanburg County Foundation and the preservation nonprofit Upstate Forever. The seeds were planted for the partnership in 2016, and since then the organic farm has become GAP Certified (Good Agricultural Practices) and successfully grows tomatoes, yellow squash, bell peppers, cantaloupes, blueberries, sweet potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, collards and more. Flowers and honey also come from the farm.

As Jones drives, he explains how the farm provides even more than all that produce: educational opportunities for the students in the district, and job opportunities for people in the community—many of them immigrants and people working under a Visa.

“Spartanburg District 6 has been blessed with a school board, superintendent and community that supports our efforts,” Jones says.

Farm Manager Philip Ward adds: “No matter how hard you work, you are only as good as your support.”

Check out what’s growing at Spartanburg Six…

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