Sapelo Island resident and Program co-director Maurice Bailey harvests sugarcane. Photo: Rinne Allen

This week, a group of volunteers connected to the Cornelia Walker Bailey Program spent several days on Sapelo Island to assist with the harvesting of SICARS purple ribbon sugarcane.

Despite the challenges resulting from Hurricane Michael’s passing through South Georgia earlier in the week, the volunteers successfully harvested all of the sugarcane from the first and second phases of growing– more than 700 row feet in total.

The sugarcane is growing on land adjacent to the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) building in the heart of Hog Hammock, the last remaining Saltwater Geechee community on the island.

The project is just one part of a broader effort envision by Cornelia Walker Bailey to promote sustainable economic development in the local community. Hog Hammock has faced increasing pressure in recent years from outside factors such as rising property taxes, development, and sea level rise. The hope is that the production of sugarcane and other heritage crops will start to generate income in the near future that will empower local residents in the fight to save their community.

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