Creating a training center for local, sustainable farmersSPACE


Stephen Nix, our SC Food Systems Coordinator, caught up with Andrew Waters, Executive Director of the Spartanburg Area Conservancy.  One of the missions of this amazing non-profit is to create a training center for local, sustainable farmers at the Cleveland Preserve Farm.  CFSA is helping them do it: they are one of eight Food Projects for 2015:


SPACECFSA: Tell us a little bit about your business and your goals for the future.

SPACE: The Spartanburg Area Conservancy, known by the acronym SPACE, is a nonprofit land conservancy incorporated in 1989. In 2009 we received the 300-acre Cleveland Preserve Farm as a donation from a private landowner. Our goal for the future is to develop the property as a community resource to promote sustainable agriculture, provide training opportunities for new and existing farmers, and to increase local food supply in our schools and institutions.



SPACECFSA: Why are you passionate about using local, sustainable foods as a part of your business plan?

SPACE: As a land conservancy, a core component of our mission is protecting and preserving local farm land, and we feel promoting new economic opportunities for farmer’s is key to that mission. But we want to do that in ways that promote natural resource conservation and sustainable farming practices. We feel sustainable farming practices and natural resource conservation go hand-in-hand.


SPACECFSA: Tell us a little about how you work with farmers.

SPACE: Our goal is to develop the Cleveland Preserve Farm as a training center for local farmers, a place where they can come to learn about sustainable farming practices and how to access new markets like local schools and institutions. In our land conservation program, we provide farm transition planning so that farmland assets are preserved through the estate and family planning process.


IMG_3450CFSA: Why is SC a great place to be in this business?

SPACE: The local and sustainable farming movement is really starting to explode here in Upstate South Carolina. We are an attractive place to live and retire, so we are experiencing a lot of new growth from the type of consumer who appreciates sustainably grown, local food.


CFSA: What are your dreams for your business? How has CFSA helped you get there?  How can we continue to help you?

SPACE: We want Cleveland Farm to be a place that promotes SPACE and our mission. But we are a land conservancy, not farmers or agricultural consultants, so we need the agricultural expertise of an organization like CFSA to help us develop this vision for our property.


CFSA: How do you define success?

SPACE: I think success for us will be when people start to talk about Spartanburg in relation to Cleveland Preserve Farm. We want people to say, “Have you heard about Spartanburg? They’ve got this amazing place called Cleveland Preserve Farm that you should know about.”