Choose Local Food Hospitality Grant
Choose Local Food is an incentive program offered by Ace Basin Growers to encourage restaurants and other food service participants for enhancing their menus with locally sourced Certified South Carolina Grown ingredients.  Ace Basin Growers (ACE) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that operates the ACE Food Hub and has created other programs to support the South Carolina local food system.  Our goal with this grant program is to facilitate greater utilization of our farmers’ bounty, while making it easier for the food service community to prepare these products for the dining pleasure of their patrons at an affordable cost to the restaurant but fair price for the farmer.  ACE will develop research through this program to create sustainable support for the local food system in South Carolina.  This is a pilot program and more funds/larger amounts may be available if this program is successful.

About the Program: ACE is focused on creating greater demand for the agricultural products of South Carolina small farms and these incentives are based on purchases that directly benefit these stakeholders.  By participating in this program, your business can receive a 25% reimbursement on the product costs for eligible ingredients purchased by you and prepared for your customers.  The award is limited to $1000 per period.   We know one of the biggest barrier for purchasing local foods is cost and hope that this program can encourage exploration and usage of local foods.

You will be encouraged to promote Certified South Carolina Grown within your establishment and through your various marketing channels.  Our staff will be glad to assist in helping you identify more sources for South Carolina grown commodities as we have an extensive network of producers and resources to make it easier for you.  Working with the South Carolina Small Business Development Center (SBDC), we can discuss strategies for gaining customer support for these decisions.  

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Grant Guidelines
Restaurants should sign up for the Fresh on the Menu program,, promise to promote certified South Carolina Grown products, provide evidence of supporting local (menu, social media, promotions) and sign up with the Small Business Development Center (There are no charges involved for these services).
Restaurants and other food service participants will be eligible for a 25% reimbursement on their South Carolina grown items.  An overview of the category descriptions and examples of eligible products is provided in the next section of the application.
There is a $1000 cap on each funding period.  Funding periods are created on the basis of current funding status.  Awardees will be notified of future funding availability and offered opportunities to continue in the program.
Participants must complete a pre-program survey, post-program survey and be interviewed on the impact of the award on the business.  
Eligible applicants for the grant program include:  South Carolina based foodservice businesses who currently purchase or desire to purchase and serve local food products in their establishment.  
Eligible Products:  Any SC produced raw food products meant for human consumption.
Program participants may make purchases directly from local farmers that are active Certified South Carolina Grown members and submit the invoices quarterly.
All invoices must be legible and include the Vendor/Farmer’s Name, Date of Sale, Business Address, Item Description, Quantity, and Total Sale Amount.

Vendors must be able to substantiate the level of direct farm impact and provide guidance on the processor and/or farms from which the products originated.
Participants may purchase products through wholesalers, food hubs, and other third party suppliers with the requirement that the verification of the local farm is included.
Requests for reimbursements are due on a quarterly basis and any purchases made prior to that reporting period will be ineligible for reimbursement consideration:

o 2022 Quarter 1 (January-March purchases) due by May 31, 2022.  Extensions on spending may be granted on a case by case basis.

All invoices and reimbursement documentation submitted by the choose Local participant will be reviewed quarterly and determinations made by ACE staff on the appropriate payment to all parties.  Documentation can be submitted to
Products not further prepared by your business as part of your menu offering and simply offered for resale through your gift shop or storefront are not eligible for the program.
Invoices for products purchased before Ace Basin Growers staff approve your application in the Choose Local program are not eligible for reimbursement.
Applicants and awardees are encouraged to contact ACE for further clarity.

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