The Coastal Conservation League announced today the appointment of a new Director of GrowFood Carolina, their highly successful and innovative nonprofit food hub providing logistical, sales, marketing, and distribution support to South Carolina’s smallest producers, with the goal of supporting the conservation of the state’s farmland.
“We are incredibly pleased to have Benton as our new GrowFood Carolina Director,” said Coastal Conservation League Executive Director Faith Rivers James. “He has been with GrowFood from the beginning and helped to lead the team to its existing success. I am looking forward to seeing his new ideas come to fruition and know his deep understanding of agriculture, produce and farm opertaions will serve him well in leading this team.”
A native of Newberry, South Carolina, Montgomery graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2008. Previously, Montgomery served as Director of Operations for GrowFood. When he was hired in 2011, it was as part of the original team to launch the food hub. Throughout his 12 years at GrowFood, Montgomery has established and maintained strong relationships with local producers and wholesale customers. He has also coordinated a virtual taste test program with over 20,000 South Carolina students, organized and executed a healthy food distribution and nutrition program with over 1,000 families enrolled in Charleston County Head Start Early Education Centers, and developed a routing plan to incorporate five new markets, increasing the reach of the GrowFood program.
In his role as Director, Montgomery will be responsible for leading and executing the strategic direction for GrowFood, and continue to advance opportunities with local growers, as well as supporters, partners, existing and potential customers, and the general public.
“GrowFood is a special project that means a lot to me—especially having been in on the ground floor when the project launched—and I can’t wait to lead this team into a new era,” Montgomery said. “I feel fortunate to have had those years of experience watching GrowFood grow into what it is today, and look forward to strengthening our relationships with current growers, expanding our food access reach, and becoming an even stronger presence in the Charleston food scene.”
The Conservation League launched GrowFood Carolina in 2011 in an effort to protect productive agricultural landscapes and support small family farms across South Carolina. Now, GrowFood partners with more than 120 farmers across the state, collectively harvesting on 10,000 acres. In the nearly 13 years it has been operating, the food hub has distributed more than $14 million in local produce, returning $12 million back to South Carolina’s small farmers.
South Carolina farmers deliver fresh, seasonal produce and goods directly to the GrowFood facility located in Charleston. From there, the GrowFood team stores, advertises, and distributes locally grown food direct to the market, serving more than 400 restaurants, major retailers, and large institutions like corporate and college campuses. GrowFood Carolina currently distributes to Beaufort, Bluffton, Charleston, Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head and Savannah.