Kaid Benfield Archive


An icon of local farming disappears: "Tearing Down Rosebank Farms"

Kaid Benfield

Posted January 27, 2011 at 1:33PM

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  Sidi Limehouse of Rosebank Farms (via Rosebank Farms)  produce from Rosebank Farms (via Rosebank Farms)

Johns Island is a large barrier island off the coast of the South Carolina mainland.  Approximately one-third of its area is within the city limits of Charleston.  It is home to some 14,000 people and "rapidly changing from a rural farming community to a suburban bedroom community," according to its Wikipedia entry.  That transition is having consequences both for the landscape and the traditional community on the island.

Bruce Lawrence, Jr. of South Carolina Conservation Voters writes:

"Rosebank Farms has become something of a symbol of local agriculture on Johns Island. They are now closing because of a steep increase in the rent on the property. Sidi Limehouse, the farmer, will probably find another place to operate, but this illustrates the challenges local agriculture faces in the Lowcountry."

Writing in The Island Connection, Kristen Hackler adds:

"The closing of the farm will affect far more than just the four-legged residents of the produce stand . . .  Local farmers and fishermen who supplied Rosebank Farms will also be losing large portions of their yearly income.

“'I don’t know what I’m going to do,' said John Davis, a local shrimper and owner of the Miss Marilyn, which docks down at East Coast Seafood in Rockville. Davis sold more than $30,000 worth of shrimp through Rosebank last year – a significant portion of his yearly income as the cost of competing with the cheaper, smaller farm shrimp from China and Japan are already gouging into his family-owned business.

“'We can’t afford to ship, so I do my best to sell everything I catch every day,' said Davis, and a lot of what he caught showed up that same day in the ice bins at Rosebank Farms."

Kiawah TV produced a poignant short video about the demise of Rosebank, and have been very kind in making it available so I can show it to you: