A Warm Welcome

The sweeping view from Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek, SC on an October afternoon


The winds of change are sweeping through Oconee County, ushering in the bounty of Fall and a new team at the Oconee Food Council. These members are already at work on various food, nutrition, and agricultural projects that we look forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks. Stay tuned as pictures and information about our new members will be coming soon, along with upcoming events that we would love for y’all to join!

Oconee County Food System Assessment 

We are excited to announce that the 2022 Oconee County Food System Assessment is complete and will soon be released for public viewing. This report is the culmination of many hands and hearts working under the leadership of OFC staff throughout 2022 to Summer 2023. Mandolin Bright, former Operations Director of the OFC, and Erin Ramos, the current Operations Director, worked with a rotating team of over two dozen members and volunteers to assess the state of agriculture, food processing, markets, along with community food security and nutrition in our county. 

“This project was built on the foundation of all the work done through the OFS [Oconee Food Summit] events – we received input from over 150 people with the help and support of dozens of organizers, presenters and volunteers. We’ve had many unique opportunities to hear directly from people in the county and wanted to center those voices, perspectives, and concerns in the story told.” -Mandolin Bright, former Operations Director 

The assessment also provides an in-depth look at how global, national, and regional trends shape the Oconee food landscape. The creators intend for the assessment to be a tool for community members to catalyze engagement and implement initiatives aimed at improving community food security and nutrition, along with building resilient communities.

 “My hope is that this document can be used as a resource – not just for our local officials in planning and programming, but also for our local community members and fellow grassroots organizations. We worked diligently to compile the most accurate and updated information we could obtain to ensure that this is a comprehensive tool for anyone involved or interested in our local food system, the many factors at play, and the effects it has on our community members. Only with accurate information can any of us advocate for or enact positive change for the people of Oconee County,” -Erin Ramos, current Operations Director 

“Now that we’re on the other side of it, we can look at real opportunities to pursue some of the changes that have been advocated for, but it will require hard work and dedication. Our hope is that the council will provide leadership where it’s needed to pursue these changes, or support where communities spearhead initiatives themselves.” -Mandolin Bright

Stay tuned as we will make an announcement when the assessment launches. We encourage you all to read the assessment and let us know what you think. We recommend curling up with a hot cup of apple cider for maximum enjoyment while you read.

Autumn Activities 

Autumn beckons us to slow down and take notice of the seasonal changes. The evening temperature is beginning to drop, the leaves are turning golden and ruby, and we are starting to see our neighbors decorate their doorsteps with rotund pumpkins. This is the time of year for visiting you-pick farms for tart scuppernongs, crisp apples, juicy persimmons, and pretty pears. Bake a fresh pumpkin pie, make butternut squash soup, and forage for mushrooms. Bundle up in your favorite sweater, lace up your boots, and hit the trails to marvel at the colorful landscape. The breathtaking beauty of Oconee will sweep you away.

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