Clarksville, TN – According to the Organic Consumers Association, a 1,000 acre U.S. corporate farm growing genetically engineered crops nets an average of $39.00 an acre. In contrast, a 4-acre family farm nets, on average, $1400 per acre. Small organic farms are proving to be even more profitable. Why? Because they are meeting the needs of a niche market and can charge a little more, they aren’t as reliant on oil, because they use fewer large machines, less pesticides and fertilizer.
It’s no longer efficient to transport food 1,500 miles from where it’s grown. With oil prices on the rise, growing food without petroleum-based pesticides/fertilizers, and delivering that food to local markets will quickly prove to be the most affordable food available.
Through Extension programs, we work with many producers, small to large, and they are all pursuing a common goal…sustainability. Now, the word sustainability may mean different things to different people.
One definition given by the Brundtland Commission states that sustainability is defined as, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
‘Sustainability’ to another person may mean growing enough produce on their own land to sustain them through the winter and off-set grocery costs. It is the farms that take advantage of the sun’s free energy and use the waste of one species as food for another.
Sustainability and self-reliance are a big part of Extension programs and these days more and more people strive to live greener and use less of the Earth’s natural resources.
So, what can you do to be a part of the local foods movement? One way is to shop local!
Clarksville’s Downtown Market
The products you purchase at the market MUST be handmade, homegrown or gathered (natural materials) by the seller or family member.
Produce grown within 100-mile radius of Clarksville, Tennessee will be given preference to sell at market.It is important for you, as the consumer, to ask, “Where does my food come from?”
These guidelines were put in place by a group of producers and consumers to ensure the market provide safe, local products that Clarksvillians are looking for! We cannot grow everything you like to eat in Tennessee but we can grow a lot in our region as a whole!
Editor’s Note: The above video was shot at the Clarksville Downtown Market on June 26th, 2011.
Winter/Spring Market at the Smith-Trahern Mansion
The Winter/Spring Market at the Smith-Trahern Mansion developed as a continuation of the Downtown Market and has been open on Fridays, 9:30am – 1:30pm since last October. That market will continue to host vendors and patrons until May 11th.
You will find a variety of vendors selling breads, home-made clothing and craft items, strawberries, local honey & sorghum, jams, herbs and much more.
Last week I was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and got into a conversation with some folks about the fact that many products we import, including foods, contain lead or other contaminants. One problem is that many countries we import food from do not have to follow the same food safety guidelines as what we have in the US.
I could go on and on but the bottom line is that we could save a lot of time and money by growing more local produce and not shipping it from one end of the country to the other.
The Farm to School Program
Also, be aware of a new program coming to fruition in Clarksville Montgomery County Schools-The Farm to School Program. Broadly defined, the Farm to School movement is one that seeks to connect schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, with local farms.
The object is to serve healthy school meals while introducing health and nutrition education opportunities. One hope is that in understanding where their food comes from, and in learning why healthy food is important, children will be more educated about nutrition choices. Small-scale local farms are integral to the movement. Again, we cannot provide all the foods needed for the entire school system, but we start with one or two products and see how it grows!
Community Supported Agriculture
Many people also find that having a home garden or joining a community garden is a wonderful experience. Talk to your neighbors and see if there is a vacant lot or other area where you can grow a few crops.
Another option is to join a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
This method of selling farm produce relies on customers who support the farm by purchasing a “share” and in return get a generous portion of veggies.
Many CSA’s have “drop-off” points where you pick up your box from the grower. Many small farmers have online ordering ability, that way you can order what you want rather than getting a box full of produce that you have no idea what to do with! What they heck do you do with beet greens and arugula? Hmmm? Well, that is where my other Extension colleagues come into play…I know how to grow it; they know how to fix it up for good eatin’.
Clarksville’s CSA Options
A Taste of Jewell Farms
3038 Porter Pike
Bowling Green, KY 42103
We are a group of like minded family farms growing fruits, vegetables and sustainably raised beef, chicken, pork and rabbit. Our family farm, Jewell Farms, transitioned from tobacco to growing fruits and vegetables for other families through our CSA and farmers markets in Bowling Green and Middle Tennessee.
Our CSA runs from April through September; sign-ups are January through February; includes products from multiple farms. Payment plans are available. Pick up is at our farm in Bowling Green and pre-determined locations.
We grow everything from tomatoes, eggplants, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, cabbage, green beans, squash, sweet corn, okra, cucumbers, melons, musk melons, onions and more!
Contact: Teheran Jewell, 270.392.1399
Paradise Produce Farms
2424 Jack Teasley Road
Pleasant View, TN 37146
Paradise Produce is dedicated to producing the highest quality local food for our discerning customers. We use no chemicals, but instead through mineralization of the soil, balanced nutrition, and careful handling let the natural processes of the earth encourage our crops to yield bountifully.
Nourishing Harvest Farm & CSA: (have drop off in Clarksville)
1342 Russell Creek Road
Lobelville, TN 37097
Contact: David Schimp 615.576.0642
A Family Owned Farm: Family Grown – From Our Hands to Your Table.
Serving Dickson, Lobelville and Clarksville communities. If you live in one of these areas, avoiding processed foods just got a little bit easier. Click the “Pick-up Locations” tab to learn more.
Your favorite meal is only as good as your farmer. Fresh, crisp, tasty and delicious start on the farm. We combine our premium growing practices with top notch and flexible service. In addition to season long memberships we offer custom internet ordering on a weekly schedule. A custom CSA lets you select the foods you want in the amount that your family needs. It’s a family friendly approach to community supported agriculture.
Broken Point Farm
2951 Chapel Hill Road
Clarksville TN 37040
Contact: Joe Schiller, 931.387.4071
At Broken Point Farm we grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and and fruits sustainably. We follow organic practices using only organic fertilizers and ORMI pest treatments.
We market on the farm, at the Clarksville downtown farmers market on summer Saturdays, and directly to local restaurants. We also offer produce subscriptions from April-October.
Harvest begins with asparagus in April and picks up throughout the summer. We typically harvest fall brassicas and root crops until at least Halloween and often much later.
Young children love to spend some time down on the farm picking their own vegetables and berries!
For More information
For more information on local food products, go to:
- http://www.tnfarmfresh.com Click on “Find a Farmer”
We do not claim all wisdom in doing things, yet our knowledge surpasses our strength to do the many tasks incumbent upon us in farm life. – Anonymous