MCHF provides $275,000 to Agriporium

MARION, S.C. -- Marion County Council members were presented a big check from the Marion County Healthcare Foundation Tuesday to help move forward with the planned Pee Dee Agriporium.
“Its important to us to support projects that ultimately help support healthy living and health in Marion County,” Executive Director Mary Dunbar said. “We felt that providing farmers an opportunity to provide their fresh produce to restaurants and the grocers in the area.” The food hub is a great way great way for farmers to be successful and allows them a place to sell, she said of the connection.
The MCHF awarded $275,000 to help fund the Pee Dee Agriporium Food Hub commercial kitchen facility. Marion County Economic Development Commission Director Norman said the grant will help provide for marketing and distribution services and trying to retain a portion of the multibillion dollars spent on food in the state. “I think we’ve achieved a tremendous amount in the last year in a half with five projects announced, four expansions, one new company that has located and now the food hub as part of the first phase of the Pee Dee Agriporium,” she said. “I think this is going to be a huge economic engine for Marion County and the region and will help to spur additional activity especially related to agribusiness.”
In an update to council, Norman said construction on the facility will begin soon and securing commitments from 50 farmers and 24 retailers for the purchase of produce is underway. “We have about 40 farmers who have committed and we know exactly what they’re growing and how many acres committed,” she said. Gathering information for the monthly items demand needed from restaurants is the next step. A director for the food hub remains a need and job announcement will be reposted, she said.