Dozens of women of all ages and walks of life came together at the Nashville Food Project on March 4, 2016 for the Fifth Annual Women
Farmers Gathering. The common theme was the sustainable production of local food. This annual gathering was the brainchild of Tallahassee May of Turnbull Creek Farm and Fresh Harvest, LLC. The room was bursting at the seams with farmers and others desiring to become farmers. All of the women are enthusiastic supporters of sustainable farming including fruits, vegetables, flowers and livestock raised for meat, milk, eggs, wool and other products. There was great enthusiasm for the opportunity to spend a few hours networking with other women, comparing experiences, learning from each other and sharing delicious food. Farms of all sizes were represented, from small, urban, backyard, raised-bed gardens meant to feed family and friends to large three hundred and fifty acre farms like Green Door Gourmet complete with a farm store, and Allenbrooke Farm which serves 350 families with their CSAs. Community Supported Agriculture is a group of community minded individuals who pledge support to a local farm by signing up to receive farm product throughout the season. This allows the farmers a planning tool and a commitment from the community to pre-purchase these products. When signing up for a CSA, payment is made in advance for a wide variety of the freshest vegetables, produce, eggs, meat and other farm products as they become available during the season. It offers the opportunity to get to know your farmer and their farming practices first-hand. Both the farmer and the consumer share the benefits of bountiful harvests, as well as the risks and challenges brought about by weather and other uncontrollable events that affect farm production.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture was represented by Cynthia Kent from PickTnProducts.org. PickTN Products offers marketing support, and approved applicants’ information is listed on the website. WCTE-TV was on hand to document the proceedings and with several programs available on Channel 22, PBS. Dr. Annette Wszelaki, the University of Tennessee Plant Sciences Vegetable Extension Specialist, spoke of the UT organic farms where long term research is conducted to benefit sustainable, organic food production. Rebekah Miller from Green Door Gourmet provided information on food safety and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), which are considered to be the best practices to produce, harvest, and store food for sale to the public. See www.GMPguide.com for more information or call the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The Hickman County Arts & Ag planning team was present to invite participants on the 5th Annual Arts & Ag Tour coming up on May 27-28, 2016. It is a two day, self-guided tour throughout the back roads of Hickman County. See artsandag.com and Arts & Ag on Facebook for more information about the tour.
The group shared information on upcoming events and workshops available to small scale farmers and others interested in sustainable production of food. For more information about future events, contact Tallahassee May at Turnbull Creek Farm.