Who We Donate To
Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation
The Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation is a new foundation, founded in 2015, located on Johns Island. Johns Islands has a 15% poverty population. A lot of those people go day to day without food or water. What Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation does is to provide those people with food and water so it’s one less thing they have to worry about.
Sweetgrass Garden was founded by Dr. George Taylor and Dale Snyder. We got our start in 2010 with a two-acre property donated to us by a local resident of Kiawah Island. What started out as a desire to feed the hungry of Johns Island, SC, and a church volunteer effort, began to grow into something more.
We originally gave the food to the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston with our first year of crops -- a total of 6,000 pounds of produce, donated. We grew green beans, cabbage, blueberries, tomatoes, peas, and peppers. Today, all the produce is donated to the Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation, an umbrella organization that is linked to eleven local organizations that help people to receive the food.
We also produce honey from our bees that we offer to anybody who wants to make a donation towards our cause. It is through donations and grants that we are able to maintain our farm and continue feeding the local community. We also hold two fundraisers throughout the year to help cover the costs of maintaining the farm. We operate with a very small budget of $20,000 to $30,000 per year, which is used primarily for the cost of the supplies, crops, machinery, equipment, and any repairs, but no salaries.
We received two separate grants of $10,000 each from the Southeastern Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program, which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The first grant was to study saltwater fish composting and its effects on crops and how they grow. The second grant was to compare freshwater fish composting to saltwater fish composting.
In 2012, we were named Conservationists of the Year by the Charleston Soil and Water Conservation District (USDA/NRCS) for this region for the great care we take in conserving the precious resources of this delicate ecosystem.
In 2013, the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston designed and then built a much needed GAP (good agricultural practices) Shed on the property. Although 2013's growing conditions were not ideal, we were still able to deliver nearly 2,000 pounds of food.
They then designed and built a community kitchen to provide space for small farmers to create and produce value added products out of what they grow. This kitchen also provides a state of the art space for preparing meals.
We now are aiming to build a pavilion here which would stand as the center for hunger awareness and allow us to continue to educate the community.
Sweetgrass Garden provides free, fresh produce to charitable food distribution agencies.
We are a center that teaches the general public about sustainable methods, farming, composting, and distributing food to people in need and the organizations that serve them.