(Posted Tue. Oct 4th, 2011)

CommonGroundOct. 4: Southern farmers Marie Bolt, Caci Nance and Jennifer Wimberly successfully launched the CommonGround program in South Carolina last week as they hosted a dinner at the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market. The event brought dozens of farmers, members of the media, academics and government officials to the table for dinner and a discussion about food and today’s farming.


The guests received an invitation not only to a meal but also to open a dialogue. Noting that consumers are not currently getting the real story about American agriculture, the farm women explained that they planned to change through the creation of the CommonGround movement. Designed to bridge the gap between the women who grow food and the women who buy it, the volunteers invited the attendees to join the conversation and help rebuild trust in our nation’s remarkable food system and the people behind it.


To further encourage exchanges on food, volunteers milled about, helping their guests select an array of South Carolina-certified specialty foods to fill their CommonGround reusable grocery bags. These items, which were graciously donated in support of the program, represented the finest options in locally-produced foods common to the area. As they discussed their choices, the attendees also found they were taking home a better understanding of how they were grown and new contacts who would be happy to share their story, the true story of modern farming, again in the future.


The women behind this dinner come from differing backgrounds yet share the same passion. Caci Nance, who is actually from Georgia, raises sheep, beef cattle, dairy cattle and grows corn, soy wheat and forage crops with her husband, William. During the day, she works for the York County Government though as the environmental outreach coordinator. Like Nance, Jennifer Wimberly works both on and off the farm also. In her off-farm career, Wimberly works as a consultant pharmacist. At home, she and her husband, Thad, farm corn, cotton, soybeans, peanuts, wheat and hay while raising Black Angus cattle and running a trucking company. While Bolt does not currently work off of the farm, she is currently completing her master’s degree in agricultural education. With her husband, Brian, currently working away from the operation too, she has assumed primary responsibility for many farm tasks, including care of the cattle, sheep horses and chickens.


Click here for more information on CommonGround.