Saluda Community Table supports farming, education

Published 12:25 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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SALUDA—The Saluda Community Table recently announced its support for local farming and education initiatives with a scholarship donation to the Foothills Farm to Fork Scholarship Program.

In July, Saluda Community Table held its first Farm to Table dinner, featuring a spread of Polk County’s finest summer produce. By sourcing all ingredients locally, it injected approximately $350 into the local farm economy. The event drew enthusiastic praise from attendees, including farmers and Polk Agricultural Economic Development representatives, leading Saluda Community Table to plan another dinner performance this summer. 

The dinner also gave SCT members Elizabeth Hyland and Charlotte Lovett the idea of making a donation scholarship after discovering the Foothills Farm to Fork Scholarship, which went to Jeffrey Gray of Polk County High School this year. 

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Building on its growing ties to the agriculture community, SCT donated $1,000 to the Scholarship Program in honor of local artist and quilt maker Verlie Murphy, whose quilt was raffled to help raise funds. The donation was formally presented to Kelly Elliott and Carole Gassaway, Farm to Fork Board members, on Tuesday, May 28. 

Murphy expressed her excitement about having the money donated in her name. She described how education was dearly important to her since she went back to school and graduated at age 25, along with her mother, who was 45 at the time. She then went to art school and is well-known in the community for donating her time, energy, and hand-made quilts. 

In its eighth year, the Saluda Community Table allows attendees to donate what they can for a home-cooked meal at the Saluda Senior Center on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. It is open to all and is a fantastic way for locals and visitors to engage with fellow community members. The main meal service commences at 5:30 p.m. 

The Foothills Farm to Fork Scholarship program supports the educational aspirations of Polk County High School students pursuing studies in hospitality, agriculture, or sustainability. For more information on the program, visit