City Roots farm up for $5,000 prize - - Columbia, South Carolina |

City Roots farm up for $5,000 prize

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For three years, City Roots has been providing the Midlands with fresh produce from the heart of the capital city. Now they're up for a national award and a cash prize.

You'll be hard pressed to find another business in Columbia that gets the most out of its real estate like the farm.

"Our goal is to get as much food production out of our three acres as we possibly can, and we're getting better at it," said Robbie McClam, one of the farm workers.

McClam has been at it since the farm sprouted in 2009. They grow year-round, harvesting around 80 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

"We invite people to come in 7 days a week," said McClam. "We grow and have programs year round, from preschool to senior citizens."

On Friday, it was a group of new farmers who were getting a lesson in renewable farming. It's a cornerstone of City Roots' mission: you can see it in the city's recycled compost or in their use of recycled water

Those features made them a finalist in Green America's People and Planet awards, and the top three finishers receive $5,000

"The cash will come in handy," said McClam. "It's getting ready to be very cold and things slow down a bit, so the timing couldn't be better."

But more than the cash, McClam wants to win to celebrate the community and the army of volunteers and interns who keep the farm growing.

"We'll also be able to recognize the folks in the community who through their support, buying our products, the interns the volunteers, we've just had a wealth of support and it would be great to share it with the rest of Columbia," said McClam.

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