UPDATE: City of Florence approved an ordinance to add ‘Food District’ near Downtown Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence City Council approved first reading of a plan to add a “food district” or healthy food places near the Downtown area.

City Manager Drew Griffin says making healthy food option more accessible is a part of the cities ‘community wellness’ initiative. The city has partnered with Hope Health to grow and support healthy eating lifestyles near downtown.

Tiffany Straus, Hope Health Director of Community Relations said, “We need our community members to have access to fresh and nutritious food options. So, anytime that we can be a part of bringing healthy food options into an area where that is not necessarily something that is available is a win for everyone.”

The City Of Florence wants to create a food district near downtown Florence.  The district will be along Baroody Street right behind the County Complex

The City of Florence wants to create a Food District. That means bring fresh food markets or businesses to the area.

City manager Drew Griffin says City Council wants to make healthy foods available near downtown.

“We do have a food desert in North, West and East, Florence, “said Griffin. “Those people do not have walk-able access to good food.”

The City of Florence hopes abandoned warehouses will be a part of the solution. The City wants to attract investors with grants and turn buildings into farmers markets or food production companies.

“A big piece of the food corridor district is to provide healthy choices or local foods within a walking distance of the Florence area,” Griffin explains.

The City wants more businesses like the Red Bone Alley Sauce Plant, which used to be a storage building.

Will Green has worked with the restaurant for 15 years. He says the restoration of the building took two years.

“We had to gut the building,” said Green. “We had a lot to do to get it up to the standards it needed to be in order to produce the products.”

The building opened 6 months ago.

“We decided to get involved in the packing part for our own products and also to produce products locally,” he said.

Now they are bottling recipes for mother farmers and businesses statewide in Conway, Spartanburg and Columbia.

“We wanted to be hands on with the people. We wanted them to come in. We can work with them to develop the recipes.  A lot of times they may have that family recipe but there are things they need to do to get it to a point that it can be taken out to the market,” Green explains.

Griffin says they will use the money for grants with the hospitality tax fund.