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Local nonprofit Sweetgrass Garden provides fresh produce to food banks across the Lowcountry
Donating close to 4,000 pounds of produce to local charities from one acre of land isn’t too shabby for any first-time farmers. But Dale Snyder and Dr. George Taylor of John’s Island’s Sweetgrass Garden (named Conservationists of the Year by the Charleston Soil and Water Conservation District) aren’t about to relax yet. “We hope to double our yield this year,” says Taylor. Which means Lowcountry Food Bank, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, and Hebron-Zion Presbyterian Church—who already have benefited from donations of asparagus, cabbages, and blueberries—have a lot to look forward to.
Yet even with their impressive haul, the duo uses the term “farmer” loosely. Both spent the majority of their careers in different fields—Snyder in broadcast media and Taylor as a physician. In fact, the idea for the farm was inspired by Taylor’s patients. “A number of them live in the country and give their surplus vegetables to neighbors and churches,” he says. “I thought, what better way to fulfill my own gardening hobby than to help the community receive fresh produce?” As for Snyder, the two met while singing in the choir at Circular Congregational Church, where Snyder has been the Crisis Ministries liaison for 15 years. “While it’s great to serve food at shelters, it’s even better to know you’ve grown what they’re serving,” he notes.
Care to help? “We welcome volunteers Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon,” Taylor says. Stop by 3105 Plowground Road and dig on in.