Kershaw County hosted its fourth annual Ag+Art Tour of farms, a showcase featuring local farms and artisans, on Saturday and Sunday.
The Ag+Art tour is a free, self-guided tour of farms and farmers markets with six major farm sites, nine ancillary farm-related sites and more than 30 local artisans. According to Camden-Kershaw County Tourism Director Suzi Sale, in South Carolina 40,000 visitors have been drawn to the event and gotten acquainted with the farms during the past seven to eight years.
“The whole idea is to get people out to see where their food comes from and to see the people that are really driving the strong agricultural industry,” Sale said. “From what I hear, the agriculture industry in Kershaw County is one of the most profitable in the state.”
Tammy Brown from Tickled Pink Jewels ‘N’ Such sold her crafts at Old McCaskill’s Farm. This was her first year at Ag+Art. Brown said she started making jewelry after her mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Now, she donates $1 from everything she sells to cancer research.
“I wanted to do something to get my sister, my mother and I linked together and remind us to pray every day, so I made three bracelets and people loved them and it took off,” Brown said.
At Raintree Farms, the barking of dogs and buzzing of bees could be heard. At Raintree, Teresa Motley showcased her farm and Jack Russell Terrier rescue organization. According to Motley, Raintree Jacks Inc. is the only breed-specific Jack Russell rescue in South Carolina and is entirely non-profit, running solely on donations and fundraisers the volunteers put together.
“In the last four and a half years we’ve adopted out over 500 Jack Russell Terriers and we have adopters in 30 states, from California to Maine. We also have adopters in Canada and Washington, D.C. The outreach of social media has greatly helped with the rescue dogs. And we’re just blessed to have the community behind us,” Motley said.
At another table, various products such as soaps, chapstick and honey are sold. Teresa Motley’s husband, Bryan, displayed his numerous beehives.
“(Beekeeping is) great for the environment, it’s great for your gardens, your flowers, your trees, everything’s gotta have it pretty much. One-third of our food comes from being pollinated. So if all the pollinators went extinct, we’d lose one-third of our food,” he said.
According to Teresa Motley, agriculture is much more than going to the grocery store, and Ag+Art allows people to see that.
“They can see the gardens, they can see the turkey farms, and see where their food comes from and that it’s not just that you go to the grocery store and get your food. There’s a lot of labor, love, time, effort, energy -- a lot of dedication,” she said.