Members of the Richland County Ag + Art Tour Committee gathered Thursday morning at Senate's End in Columbia alongside local farmers and artists, preparing for the annual Ag + Art Tour.

The event is a self-guided farm and art tour across 12 counties throughout the state, created by Clemson University Extension. The tour is intended to be a way to educate South Carolinians on where their food and fiber comes from, while introducing them to local artisans. Participating farms will be partnered with local artists who will have tents set up on-site selling their work. Many will also be actively creating new art.

This is the ninth year the tour has taken place in the state. Lexington County is participating this year for the first time, and it will be the second year for Richland County.

Richland County planning committee chair John Newman said participants are very excited to take part in the event, after last year's tour was cancelled due to COVID.

"We were all very disappointed it got called off," he said. "I think all participants are just hyper and eager for it to happen. We've got twice as many farms as 2019."

Eleven-year-old Carter Heim is a Chapin-based artist who attended Thursday's press conference to display his work. He creates art from metals like horseshoes and railroad spikes, and will be partnering with Bowers Farm in Newberry County for the tour. He said he's looking forward to his first year as a participant.

"I think that it's going to be really exciting and fun," Heim said. "It's going to be interesting to see how it turns out."

The tour will take place June 5 and 6 at farms in Lexington County, and June 12 and 13 in Richland County. Other participating counties include Colleton, Charleston, Kershaw, Lancaster, York, Newberry, Fairfield, Chester and Chesterfield.

All food provided at Thursday's press conference was locally sourced from participating farms, and served by Dupre Catering.

Read more about the upcoming tour at agandarttour.com.

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