Martin, TN - On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, area Weakley County Mayors, University of Tennessee at Martin Leaders, and NWTN Local Food Network Steering Committee Members gathered for a farm-to-table breakfast to discuss how to strengthen our local food system through the growing NWTN Local Food Network (LFN).
During introductions, the City of Martin, Mayor Randy Brundige, stated that “Agriculture in our community is in our past, in our present and it is our future.”
Samantha Goyret, Program Administrator of the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) and LFN Coordinator introduced the group and thanked area farmers for providing the 100% locally sourced breakfast prepared by Simply Southern. “Anybody who eats is involved in the Local Food Network,” noted Mrs. Goyret, “ we are using local food to build a new food system for our area, one that strengthens our local economies, increases access to fresh, healthy food, and promotes our unique community strengths.”
NWTN Local Food Guide vendors from both the Martin Farmers Market & Dresden Farmers Markets provided the food during the event including: Auntie Tina’s Jams & Jellies – Sharon; Biggs Apiaries – Gleason; Circle K Farms – Camden; Dixie Chile Ranch – Kenton; Earth's Bounty Bakery – Paris; Jill Magness & Richard Duncan - South Fulton; Hidden Hill Farm (CSA) – Dresden; Mast Family Farm – McKenzie, Richard Turnbow - Union City; Simply Southern- Gleason; Sunnyside Farm – Martin; and Utopia Farm - Camden, TN.
“Food can bring a community together. By focusing on food & feeding people it makes a community stronger,” stated Ashley Kite Rowland, Local Food Network Steering Committee Member.
Participants discussed how our communities could support one another and provide solutions to problems around production & distribution of local foods, creation of a community kitchen, accessibility of fresh food to students and senior citizens, awareness of farmers markets and local foods, raising a new generation of farmers, and encouraging small-business growth through farmers markets.
“Healthier citizens are happier citizens. A quality of place encourages citizens to stay, live, play and pay taxes in our communities. Agriculture is the largest industry in Weakley County and one of our greatest assets,” stated Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum.
The forum closed with a CALL OF ACTION to all residents in the five cities in Weakley County to participate in the TN Environmental Council’s 250K Tree Planting Day on Saturday, February 24, 2018. All cities present agreed to participate and to help rally area residents to be involved in the county and state-wide tree-planting day.
On Thursday, June 15th from 9:30 am - 3:30 pm at UTM Hal Pepper, along with David Bilderback and Adam Hopkins from UT Extension, will present a six-hour workshop designed to help farmers learn to keep financial records for an “example farm.” Participants will use Quicken recordkeeping software to learn about setting up categories and tags, writing checks, recording deposits and creating reports. The workshop is designed for producers who sell fresh and processed farm products at direct marketing outlets such as farmers markets, on-farm stands, pick-your-own and agritourism operations.
Register HERE for our upcoming Dyer County Code Camp starting daily on Tuesday, June 13 through Friday, June 16, 2017 from 1PM - 5PM for rising 6th - 9th graders at 215 South Mill Ave at The Mill Workspace. This 4-Day Code Camp teaches the basics of programming utilizing Scratch. We will be working with Raspberry Pi computers to learn how to make them do things in the real world. $100 Registration fee includes 4-day instructional code camp, t-shirts, and snacks.
UTM Students Visually Inspire Area Farmers
“What is in a logo? How do you design one for your farm?” These were questions University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) Professor of Art in the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts, Lane Last, asked participants at the NextFarm® Workshop Series in early March 2017. NextFarm® is a business development program focused on agriculture innovation and development created by the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC).
“Connecting rural to urban, farmer to consumer, and fresh ingredients to our diets - the farmer, both large and small, is our economic and community centerpiece. When food is produced, processed, distributed and sold all within the same region, more money stays in the local economy. This leads to economic development and job creation,” stated Samantha Goyret, Program Administrator at NTEC and Local Food Network Coordinator.
Participants in the NextFarm® Workshops learned new ways to turn their food production and/or farm expansion ideas into successful businesses. Participation in the Farm-to-Consumer Market workshop on March 7th included a free business logo designed by Lane Last’s UTM Interactive Multimedia students.
Mrs. Goyret further added, “Being able to quickly and directly market to the consumer gives farmers important income opportunities. Providing the farm with a professional sign and logo gives a visual expression to the products and connection that farms have within our communities.”
The following farms and agri-businesses received new signs printed by Jowers Sign Company with their newly design logos: Dixie Chili Ranch out of Kenton, Brundige Farms & Sunnyside Farms out of Martin, Hidden Hill Farm CSA out of Dresden, Plunk Farms out of Sharon, and Natalie’s Kitchen out of Paris.
Farmers were teamed with UTM Interactive Multimedia students Angela Chesteen, Tanya Chopra, Joey DeSantis, Kyndal Hayes, Brad Lyell, and Michael Mattingly. Professor Last commented that “This project has provided some logo design service to area farmers and was a fantastic opportunity to put student creativity to work for the local community. Hopefully it also gave the students the chance to consider where their food comes from and how they can make alternate choices for buying local from these new partners.”
The 2017 NextFarm® workshop series was made possible through funding from the Delta Regional Authority Rural Business Opportunity Grant which supports NWTN Local Food Network activities through the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC). Visit ntecconnect.com to stay connected.
NTEC, a 501(c)(3) organization in Martin, Tennessee, host programs designed to focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology, and entrepreneurship in Northwest Tennessee.
Front Row (left to right): Kyndal Hayes – UTM Student; Darlene Drummond – Sunnyside Farm; Richard Gallagher – Hidden Hill Farm; Natalie Wade – Natalie’s Kitchen; Elisabeth Dowland – UTM Student
Second Row (left to right): Michael Mattingly – UTM Student; Brad Lyell – UTM Student
Lane Last – Professor; Joey DeSantis – UTM Student; Tanya Chopra - UTM Student
Back Row (left to right): Terri Brundige – Brundige Farms; Jason Plunk – Plunk Farms