Sunday, April 13, 2014

Compost Tea Workshop - April 27

Hey North Georgia Farmers,

Here's another great program coming up soon. Call Chuck to RSVP or for more information.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Local Opps for commercial agriculture workshop - April 24th

Hey Folks,
This should be a very interesting program. And the price is right. We encourage you to attend! 

It's coming up soon (in about two weeks) on April 24th. Locally Grown will be part of the discussion.

For more info e-mail

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Photos from Mill Gap Farm Tour

We had a great GMFN meeting on Monday, March 31st at Mill Gap Farm in Tiger, GA. Chuck and Amy Mashburn were our hosts for the Farm Tour portion of the evening. Then Jamie Allred and Jack Nolan, owners of the new FORTIFY restaurant in Clayton hosted our dinner. Georgia Organics was the sponsor for our meeting.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday March 31st, 2014 - GMFN farm tour and dinner

Hey GMFN Farmers,

This month's GMFN meeting requires an RSVP since we'll be eating dinner at Fortify after. There's still space so send an e-mail to if you'd like to attend. Dinner is a $20 pre-fixe dinner featuring food from all of our farms, reduced price for full-time farms and those who've attended a GMFN meeting before. If you have products you'd like to sell for the dinner please contact Jamie Allred (e-mail below). Plans are similar to most get-togethers with a few changes.

First we'll meet up at this Parking Lot in Clayton (check out the Google Map below - parking lot is marked PURPLE). We'll meet up for the carpool at exactly 3:45pm rather than at Mill Gap Farm (since parking is limited). We'll try and all pile in 5-6 vehicles for the <5 minute drive to Chuck and Amy Mashburn's farm (GREEN) which is right down the road.

Mill Gap Farm Tour will be from 4:00 to 5:30.
Then we'll hop back in our cars and head back to the parking lot (STILL PURPLE).
From there it's a short walk to FORTIFY RESTAURANT (RED).
Dinner will be begin around 6PM.
We'll have an hour long business meeting at 7PM. Here's the agenda.

  • Georgia Organics welcome
  • Northeast Georgia Food Bank on-going projects
  • GMFN is getting organized –update on board, bylaws
  • Locally Grown expanding to Gainesville in May - applied for USDA Grant 
  • Georgia Mountains Farm TOUR - tentatively set June 28-29

View Clayton Carpool to Mill Gap to Fortify in a larger map


We'll have another carpool leaving from Clarkesville at exactly 3:15pm if anyone would like to cut 30 minutes out of their drive. We'll meet at the dirt parking lot directly across the street from the Clarkesville Library located at 178 East Green Street, Clarkesville, GA 30523.

Other details that might be helpful:
Mill Gap Farm address is: 63 Mill Gap Lane, Tiger, GA
FORTIFY address is: 69 North Main Street, Clayton, GA

If you have produce, meats, etc. that you'd like to sell to Jamie for the dinner please send him a list of your available items and prices as soon as possible to

That way you can show off your stuff to the best chef around, and maybe help pay for your dinner!

If you have any other items you'd like for us to discuss at this or future GMFN meetings please let us know at

Thanks and look forward to seeing you next week.

Justin Ellis
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

Monday, March 3, 2014

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network UPDATE - March 2nd, 2014

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network UPDATE - March 2nd, 2014

1) Next Meeting – Monday, March 31st – MILL GAP and FORTIFY
2) GMFN and the new Board / adopts Locally Grown as a program / applies for USDA Grant / finds Partner to Expand to Gainesville 
3) Certified Naturally Grown sign up period & free stuff
4) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – Possible Dates

1) Next Meeting – Monday, March 31st – MILL GAP and FORTIFY

This is gonna be a really good GMFN meeting here coming up next. First we'll meet at Chuck and Amy Mashburn's place in Tiger, GA. Chuck is already famous around these parts, but many of you probably still haven't seen Mill Gap in person. Chuck and Amy grow a lot of really interesting things you don't see commonly on other farms, and in March they'll probably be a lot to see under row cover and in the high tunnel.

There's limited parking so we may arrange some carpooling. 
Let us know if you're coming and what your bringing for the POTLUCK …….psyche!

This is the very first GMFN get-together that will NOT involve a potluck. That's because Georgia Organics is sponsoring our meeting and a very smart someone came up with the idea to have Jamie Allred introduce us to his new restaurant by having us over for a…..

PRE-FIXE DINNER at FORTIFY (5:30 to 6ish)
Every full-time farmer and farm that has attended a GMFN meeting (this is our 10th) will get priority reservations.
The first 25 farms will get one GRATIS dinner. If you'd like to bring a spouse or other farm hand (often same thing) then you can purchase a second dinner for $20. Is that cool or what? Thanks to Georgia Organics we're gonna eat our own food prepared by our regions best chef.

Never been to a GMFN meeting. This'd be a great one to come to. 

Send Reservations SOON! We may have to cap it if we get up to 50 or something.
Just e-mail me if you plan to come, and the names of anyone you'd like to bring (need a headcount).

RSVP by March 15th, latest and sooner is better.

As we always do, after dinner we'll have a GMFN BUSINESS MEETING. There's a lot going on that you can read details on below. Georgia Organics and the Northeast Georgia Food Bank will be our special guests.

1) Georgia Organics welcome
2) Northeast Georgia Food Bank on-going projects
3) GMFN is getting organized –update on board, bylaws
4) USDA Grant for Locally Grown (expanding to Gainesville)
5) The summer TOUR is coming

This meeting generously sponsored by 


2) GMFN and the new Board / adopts Locally Grown as a program / applies for USDA Grant / finds Partner to Expand to Gainesville 

The last couple months have been extremely busy for GMFN. After our very fascinating tour of the Wilbros Facility back in January we pulled the trigger on some things we've been talking about for a couple of years. Here's a quick summary.

1) GMFN became an officially incorporated organization (Bylaws Attached)
2) GMFN adopted Northeast Georgia Locally Grown as our primary program towards Cooperative Marketing
3) We applied for a USDA grant that would help us expand Locally Grown into the Gainesville Market

We'll give you a more detailed synopsis of each of these activities at the meeting but needless to say we're excited about developing a long-term relationship between Georgia Mountain Farmers and our nearest urban neighbors in Gainesville, and what we hope are a lot of customers for local sustainable food down there.

Just last Friday we locked in our Locational Partner for this expansion. I think everyone is gonna love the Northeast Georgia History Center. It's the kind of place you could only dream of for a long-term market location. It Rocks! Details on the expansion are in the attached PDF. 

3) Certified Naturally Grown sign up period – free stuff


Our good friends at Certified Naturally Grown (who helped us get our Network Started over the last two years) are currently accepting applications for new and renewing farms. We highly encourage you to consider a CNG certification. The costs are very low and we promise it will help you to network with other farmers, and insure your farm practices are the best they can be.

Members from the Georgia Farmers Network also get a joining bonus this year.

Bonus A) A free roll of 1,000 3/4" food-grade stickers or
Bonus B) A Farm Sign and a colorful Market Poster
See examples of marketing materials here.

To be eligible, just check out all their info and apply online  to CNG by March 15.

4) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – Possible Dates
It's time to nail down our FARM TOUR dates for 2014. There's no way this won't be our best one yet, so let us know if you'd like to participate and what dates you are and are not available.

Our favorite DATE right now is June 28th!

Don't know what the farm tour is? Check out last year's brochure.

Thanks GUYS for being FARMERS!

Justin Ellis
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

Monday, January 20, 2014

Georgia Mountains Farm Tour meeting tomorrow at 4pm

Hey Local Food Growers,

Just a last minute reminder that our GMFN meeting is tomorrow starting at 4pm at Wilbros Composting in Toccoa. Hope you can make it as this will give an interesting perspective on large scale composting practices. To find the facility Take 17 S towards Toccoa continuing towards the conjuction with Big A Road (Home Depot / Wal-Mart area). Just before you get to the shopping area look for Liberty Hill Road on the Left. You'll take the next right onto Rose Ln then a left on Coats Dr.

The address is 
215 Coats Drive Toccoa, GA  30577

We'll get started promptly at 4pm. If you'd like to carpool from Clarkesville feel free to meet up at the Mauldin House Gardens parking lot (gravel lot across from the library at 3:15).

We will be having our usual POTLUCK and Business Meeting at 
St Matthias Episcopal Church in downtown Toccoa – probably starting around 5:45 or 6pm.

The address is 
995 E Tugalo St, Toccoa, GA 

Take Big A road all the way into town. Pass through the intersection with 365/123. You'll veer slightly to the right (after Hayes St) onto Rosedale Street, pass E. Doyle Street, then take a right onto E. Tugalo Street and it's at the end of the block on the right.

Hopefully it's not too last minute for folks to make a simple dish for dinner. It's our usual drill where we encourage everyone to bring their own plate, utensils and drink. We'll make it easy to wash your stuff up and take home with you after.

The big topic for the meeting will be looking to incorporate GMFN and apply for a Value Added Producer Grant by February 24th. We'll talk more about how this will work and what we hope to get out of it. For those who have time and interest feel free to look over the grant template attached.

Also if you want to order 7 Springs tomorrow is the deadline – we've only got a few orders so help us make it happen.

That's it! Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fw: Georgia Mountains Farmers NETWORK update! - November 23rd

Hey Local Food Growers,

Before heading into the holidays we wanted to make a few announcements about some possible bulk orders to collaborate on and upcoming get-togethers.

1) Onion transplant orders from Walker Farms – deadline December 2nd
2) Next Get-Together at Wilbros Compost in Toccoa, GA – Tuesday, January 21 – 4pm
3) Bulk Orders from Seven Springs – due January 21 for shipment January 31
4) FARM TOUR wrap up with budget results
5) Plans to open checking account in January and to seek Group Product Liability  and Event Insurance
6) Invite to Christmas Party – Beer Tasting – December 13th

1) Onion transplant orders from Walker Farms – deadline December 2nd
If you're looking for organic onion transplants Walker Farms is one of the best sources in Georgia. Both I and Belflower Gardens grew these last year with great success. To order we have to have at least 1,000 onions for any one deliver date. For example I'd like to order 300 yellow granex for delivery Jan6-16. I'd need to find some of you who would need the other 700 to put in the order. All orders are $75 per 1,000 including shipping.

Attached are the details and if you're planting lots of onions feel free to put in your own order. However, if you just need several hundred, send:

Your name
Phone #
Variety wanted
Date wanted

We'll compile these and order any that we have enough orders for. 

The deadline for ordering will be a week for this Monday on December 2nd by 5pm.

2) Next Get-Together at Wilbros Compost in Toccoa, GA – Tuesday, January 21 – 4pm
High Quality compost is one of the main ingredients in managing a productive sustainable and organic farms. There have been many questions over the last year regarding sources of compost and what the production practices of different composters have in order to make an informed decision. Wilbros in Toccoa, GA has been a source for many of the farms in the network. They've also been in the press quite a bit, not always in a positive light. They have offered to host our farmers network for our next meeting and let us judge for ourselves. 

We'll follow a slightly different format for this meeting with a tour of the facility first at 4pm followed by a Network business meeting afterward in their meeting room. Then those who can will travel into Toccoa for a shared meal (location to be determined).

Let us know if you think you can attend this meeting by RSVPing us at

In the meantime feel free to take a look at more info about Wilbros at

3) Bulk Orders from Seven Springs – due January 21 for shipment January 31
Last year we didn't complete a shared order to Seven Springs due to lack of interest. If we're able to order at least $1,000 this year we'll receive a bulk discount that'll make it well worth it for us to collaborate on this once again. I know quite a few of you who would like some supplies and this later ordering date should give everyone enough time to get their orders together.

You'll notice they've improved their catalog quite a bit including photos of every item to insure you're selecting the right things. To order submit to me via e-mail only no later than January 21st. Orders must have the following information below written exactly or we will decline the order (it takes a while to get these order together so please make it easier for us by following this format).

ITEMS (to select items you should cut and paste the item from the Catalog exactly and make sure the same item doesn't come in two forms like liquid or granular)

Your order should look EXACTLY like this:          

Alan Mashburn   

HarmonyTM Ag. Organic Fertilizer (5-4-3)            
2x 50 lb bag                 $15.50 ea = $31.00

McEnroe Premium Lite Growing Mix                    
2x 22 qt. bag                $ 8.00 ea = $16.00

GRAND TOTAL before shipping  $47.00

Then just e-mail that to me at

I'll e-mail you back to confirm receiving your order. Please help us keep up with orders easily by following this system (I'll basically cut and paste what you submit into a master order form) or I may e-mail you to correct errors. I recommend cutting and pasting the ITEM name from the website to insure you get the name just right (they don't use SKU#s).

There will be add'l shipping charges and possible handling fees (by 7springs) added to the order. Shipping costs last year ran exactly 8 cents a lb. That's $4.00 for a 50lb bag. I assume they'll be similar this year. Some items received a bulk order discount, but we won't know about those until the orders are placed.

Don't send us a check until we calculate these fees. We'll write a check to 7springs from the Locally Grown Market bank account. We'll collect check or cash at or before pickup. Checks will be to NE GA Locally Grown or SRWA (that's the market non-profit sponsor Soque River Watershed Assoc).PICKUP may be at Sid Blalock's Burton Mountain Farm near Batesville again. We'll need to double check with him to see if he's willing to do that again. Feel free to give Sid a small thank you gift for helping us by using his BOBCAT to unload the pallets and storing everything under cover until it can be picked up.

4) FARM TOUR wrap up with budget results
It took a while but we finally have the final budget details from our Farm Tour back in June. It looks like after all our expenses the Network raised about $1,300. We'll be forming a new steering committee for the Network to discuss how to utilize these funds (beyond saving them for next year's TOUR).

The final numbers are attached to this e-mail so take a look!

5) Plans to open checking account in January and to seek Group Product Liability  and Event Insurance
We'll be trying to have a steering committee meeting sometime in January (either before or after the Wilbros. Get-together) to discuss long-term plans for the Network and governance. That probably means incorporating so that we can also purchase a group insurance policy. We hope to have some rapid progress on that before the end of January.

So far Chuck and Michele Taylor, Dustin Mentzer and Linda Johnson have volunteered to help on this steering committee. If anybody else would like to help as well just let us know.

6) Invite to Christmas Party – Beer Tasting – December 13th
Last but not least I'd like to invite EVERYONE of you to an end of year Beer Tasting Party at my house. This event is held for the Soque River Watershed Association but it's really just an excuse to hang out with all our friends doing cool things for the Georgia Mountains. That obviously includes all you farmers right at the top of the list so please make our little party a lot more fun by having several dozen real-life farmers represented at a very fun party. Surprise, surprise it's a POTLUCK. It's also a beer tasting so to participate all you have to do is bring at least TWO 12oz bottles of the same beer or one 22 ounce beer to enter in the tasting (you're encouraged to bring more of course). Last year we had 35 different beers to taste. Sounds like fun doesn't it.

Starts at 6pm
Address is 237 Wilson Street Clarkesville
Bring a small dish, bring some beers, and bring a friend.
Need more info just let me know.

Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
(706) 499-2261 (cell)
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network