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 #
E-mail
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 soque@windstream.net

In the meantime feel free to take a look at more info about Wilbros at http://www.wilbrosllc.com/wilbros-compost/



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).

YOUR NAME
YOUR PHONE #
YOUR E-MAIL
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)
QUANTITY
SUB-TOTALS
GRAND TOTAL

Your order should look EXACTLY like this:          

Alan Mashburn   
706-782-4933

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 soque@windstream.net

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).

SHIPPING FEES
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.

PAYMENT
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



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Farmers Network meeting at MOUNTAIN EARTH FARMS next Monday


Hey Local Food Growers,

We're less than a week away from our next FARMERS NETWORK meeting at Mountain Earth Farms on Monday, October 28th. Before we talk about that meeting I wanted to welcome a small slew of new growers to the network if they'd like to join us. We had quite a few farms join local markets this year, and in fact I'm certain that I haven't included them all so please take a look at the attached e-mail list and let me know who I'm leaving out. My apologies for not having it strictly alphabetical but I list the Locally Grown participants first, since I can get those easily from the website, then add others below.

The new farms I'd like to personally invite to next week's meeting are:
Garden Post
Hill Manor
Hollman Hollow
Keep it Simple (Baker but we invite food producers too)
Ohana Farms
Orchard Valley
Promise Land Enterprises
Shade Creek

I always have a hard time letting folks like Glenn Cook (Cedar Hollow) and Harold Franz (Heritage Mtn) who are both German Baptists and don't use computers know so if anyone runs into them or would like to call them each time that would be appreciated. I highlighted their names. 

Growers had mentioned that they don't mind other growers having their contact information but please don't share this list outside of this circle. We don't want farmers solicited as a group if they'd rather not. 

NEXT MEETING

When asking growers where they wanted to hold the next FARMERS NETWORK get-together the suggestions were nearly unanimous….."At Ronnie Mathis' farm!"

I think the reasons for that are fairly obvious. Ronnie has been farming and farming well for a very long time. His skills as a farmer, and his desire to be trying new things are impressive. Here's a quick list of some of the things we've asked Ronnie to talk about and of course you may be curious about others:

  • USE of COMPOST TEA / SLURRY – Ronnie has had considerable success by applying worm casting compost tea and slurry to many of his acres. He'll describe his experience, equipment and suggestions for this technique.
  • IRRIGATION and NRCS GRANTS – Ronnie has lots of experience installing farm wide irrigation. He recently took advantage of an NRCS funding program that allowed him to dig a well and have to cistern tanks that gravity feed the water to his fields.
  • EQUIPMENT – While large equipment doesn't apply to everyone, Ronnie's experience with different tractor implements for working multiple acres is rich.  



WHERE: The meeting will be at one of Ronnie's lease properties 2956 Hollywood Highway, Clarkesville, GA 30523. Google Maps should steer you right, but we'll have a farm tour sign on the Highway which is the same thing as Old 441. Entrance is across from a Baptist Church very close to the intersection with Buckhorn Road.

WHEN: It's next Monday, October 28th. We start at 4pm and go until 7pm.

WHAT: The meetings follow a similar format. 
TOUR given by the farmer for the first hour
POTLUCK meal provided by everyone who attends for the 2nd hour
BUSINESS MEETING for the last hour

Please bring a covered dish or dessert to contribute to the meal.
Dinner format is very simple – Bring a chair, plate, utensils and your own beverage.
We'll provide napkins, washtubs and soap to rinse your plate at the end of the night.

The business meeting will discuss the following and anything else anyone would like to add:
  • GA MTN FARM TOUR wrap up and income/expenses
  • Purchasing Group Insurance to cover product liability for group sales, and possibly events
  • Expansion of Locally Grown other markets to nearby urban areas

WHY: This is our first meeting of the GEORGIA MOUNTAIN FARMERS NETWORK since Leah Lake way back in March. This is the 7th meeting the GMFN has had since January of 2012. We try to meet as often as we can to visit each other's farms to exchange information and build collaborations towards a stronger Local Food community. So far our biggest accomplishment outside of a lot of good times has been sponsoring the Georgia Mountain Farm Tour that had 300+ people attend this year.

If you can, let us know if you plan to come, and what dish you're bringing. I'll send out a last reminder e-mail next Monday with a list of the yummy menu.


Thanks to you all for growing some great food!

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



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farm Tour 2013

This event has already past (in 2013) for information on the current year tour CLICK HERE

2nd Annual
GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR - JUNE 15 & 16
1:00pm - 6:00pm

Don't miss the best opportunity of the year to visit some of the coolest small scale, sustainable farms throughout the North Georgia Mountains and neighboring states.

Here's how the TOUR works..... Choose from 14 farms in Habersham, Rabun, White Counties and beyond, visit community gardens, and eat local foods prepared by local chefs. It's the food and farm event of the summer hosted by SRWA and will help benefit the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network. Tour hours are from 1-6pm each day. Different farms are featured each day.
Click PDF image to see EVENT BROCHURE

You can read about every farm featured on the tour and get a sneak peak of the event brochure by downloading the PDF here.


How to Attend 


ONLINE SALES HAVE ENDED

BUY IN PERSON after June 7th (cash or check only)
After June 7th, event passes will be available for $35 by cash or check only (no online or credit card purchases). You will still be able to purchase WEEKEND PASSES at the in-person locations below.

*ALL CHECKS SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO SRWA with FARM TOUR in the MEMO field


PURCHASING on THE DAY OF THE EVENT
You can also purchase passes for $35 (cash or check only) from any participating farm on the DAY OF THE EVENT. You will need to print out a copy of the guided brochure (click on PDF link above) as not all farms will have copies of those. The first farm you arrive at will provide you with a receipt which you can then redeem for a Color Brochure at the farms that do have copies. Farms that will have copies of the brochure are:

SATURDAY
Logan Berrry Farms

SUNDAY
Chatooga Belle Farms




When you purchase a WEEKEND PASS you will receive an EAT WELL, BUY LOCAL bumper sticker with your brochure that serves as your weekend pass. Place the sticker on your front dash to gain access to all farms on the day of the tour.

Take a look at these photos of many of the farms appearing on the tour!

We want to give our appreciation for the significant support of this year's FARM TOUR
from our SPONSORS
Please thank them for supporting local agricutlure


And don't forget to purchase a FARM TOUR t-shirt
It's a great way to show your support for the EVENT!
$15 each available at select farms on the tour.




and special appreciation to 
 www.naturallygrown.org
for their vision and funding support which helped us to create
the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network




Monday, April 1, 2013

Sponsorship for Georgia Mountains Farm Tour


Consider a sponsorship of this year's Georgia Mountains Farm Tour




For a PDF copy of the FARM TOUR description and SPONSORSHIP options click here .... http://www.soque.org/pdfs/BOTH_pages.pdf

Deadlines for sponsorships are April 15th.

Give us a call at 706-754-9382 or e-mail to soque@windstream.net.

THANKS!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lake Rabun Hotel Featured Farmer Dinner opportunities

Hey Local Food Farmers,

Jamie Alred at Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant asked me to spread the word that there's still a few opening for featured farmer dinners. Here's the schedule for the year so far. If you're interested in being a featured farmer give him / them a call at (706) 782-4946.



Featured Farmer Dates at Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant
April
25 Leah Lake Farms

May
2 Sylvan Falls Mill- fresh flours, cornmeal, and grits from water powered grist mill
9
16
23
30 Melon Head Farm-asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, greens

June
6 Mill Gap Farm
13 Burton Mountain Farms
20 Stonewall Creek Vineyards
27 Chattooga Belle Farm-peaches and raspberries

July
4
11 Ladybug Farms
18 Wild Earth Gardens-wild blueberries and nettles      
25 Turning Creek Artisans-honey (could be paired with someone else)

August
1 Melon Head Farm-melons and heirloom tomatoes
8 LoganBerry Heritage Farm
15 Taylor Family Farm
22 Chattooga Belle Farm-apples
29 Local Goods and Gardens

September
5
12 Turning Creek Artisans-honey (could be paired with someone else)
19
26

October
3
10
17 Burton Mountain Farms
24 Chattooga Belle Farm-apples and persimmons, Turning Creek Artisans-honey
31 Stack Farm-persimmons and Asian pears

November
7 Leah Lake Farms
14 Mill Gap Farm
21 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farm Tour - next Get-Together this Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
Update – March 23rd, 2013


1) Next Get-Together – Tuesday, March 26th – 4pm – Leah Lake Farms
2) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – first wave promotional materials and SPONSORSHIPS
3) Union County Cannery Tour photos and audio recording
4) Certified Naturally Grown – Georgia Network Organizers create new Facebook GROUP


1) Next Get-Together – Tuesday, March 26th – 4pm – Leah Lake Farms
Our next Get-Together is coming up soon, in fact its next week on Tuesday March 26th at 4pm and we'll be headed to a very cool farm. Way up in the hills and just across the state line in NC sits Leah Lake Farm.

Brooks has made quite a name for himself over the past year or two, especially with the Locally Grown crowd which is his primary market for some of the best and most diverse salad greens in the region. Some of the many things you'll see and learn about are:

  • How to make the most of a solar greenhouse (attached to your house) and sell lots of starter plants
  • Building Low Hoop Tunnels for very little money
  • How to Farm without tilling (after the first year anyway)
  • How to build customer loyalty (tips on marketing)
  • And more
After Brook's tour Chuck Mashburn will demonstrate how to use the new EARTHWAY SEEDER that belongs to GMFN and purchased with funds from Locally Grown. This is our first piece of shared equipment and folks can loan it anytime after we establish some general care rules.

The tour will start at 4pm, dinner will start sometime between 5-5:30, then we'll have an hour GMFN meeting mainly to discuss the FARM TOUR and possibly some technical workshops around 6pm. Dress warm as there's a chance of snow flurries that day, but it should be beautiful.

BUSINESS MEETING AGENDA
Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – we'll spend most of our time discussing sponsorships, publicity, how to manage expenses and income, etc.



Here's how you find Leah Lake Farms


Brooks Franklin

4811 Mulberry Rd Otto, NC 28763 

706 746 4440 

Info@leahlakefarm.com 

www.leahlakefarm.com

Directions: Take Hwy 441 N to Dillard. Turn L on Betty Creek Rd (across from Gulf station). Go 5 miles to the NC/GA line (becomes Mulberry Rd). 2/10ths of a mile turn left at marker 4811/4815. Turn left at Leah Lake sign onto gravel drive.



2) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – first wave promotional materials and SPONSORSHIPS
We've begun our promotions for this years event and could use your help. If you know of any outlets for community calendars or potential SPONSORS for this years tour please feel free to circulate the following promotional materials around. We'll have print copies of these available on Tuesday (let me know if you'd like a certain number of copies). We especially would like to get listings in local and regional community calendars. Feel free to either forward these materials on or suggest to Maggie entities for us to contact and she can follow up. Her e-mail and phone is 706.768.8883  m.vancantfort@gmail.com


Digital copies of these materials are available by clicking 
Or visit the GMFN website


BIG THANKS TO OUR FIRST OFFICIAL "SLICE O MELON" SPONSORSHIP
From Simply Homegrown Farmers Market

3) Union County Cannery Tour photos and audio recording
We had a fantastic and inspiring visit to the Union County farmers market and cannery last Tuesday, March 19th. We learned a lot from their community efforts to promote local foods through their 66 stall farmers market and their commercial kitchen and cannery.

Here's just a few details from the tour:
  • Farmers Market building and cannery was paid for by SPLOST
  • Farmers market has room for 66 vendors / 
  • Market generated about $500,000 in 2012
  • Market had about 160,000 people visit the market
  • New cannery was only open the last week of September through last week of October (normally in one years time the old cannery processed 12,000 jars of food, last year in one months time they processed 6,000 jars).
  • Usually around 150 people used the old cannery per year. In that one month around 250 used the new plant.
  • They think the cannery will generate around 20,000 jars of food this year valued at around $100k. 
  • It will open the first Tuesday in July through October. Open Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:30 until 12:30. Open to anyone.

If you want to know all the details we audio recorded the entire thing. There's a bit of wind noise at points but a lot of valuable information. It might take a while to load but here's a link.



For more photos of the tour visit our facebook page.



If you'd like more information about canneries and the tour let us know. We're hoping to work with the Habersham Board of Education to do a similar type of effort with their new cannery slated for construction this year.



And speaking of facebook…..

4) Certified Naturally Grown – Georgia Network Organizers create new Facebook GROUP
Here's a quick message from Suzanne Geddis who is coordinating some statewide Online Networking on behalf of CNG…..

Since researching questions online or by visiting, calling or emailing friends may be difficult, a Facebook group page will allow you to get answers faster and from a larger group of CNG farmers in your area. Setting up a Facebook personal profile is just the beginning, setting up a business page for your farm is invaluable and can quickly grow your business, just by dedicating a little of your time...plus its FREE. Finally, when you join a Facebook group of CNG farmers growing in Georgia you get a well rounded group of resources where you can share goals, solutions, and growing tips. Everyone works together for the good of locally grown food.
 
Working together and actively posting on the group site, we will continually add valuable information, resources, documents, events, news and farming tips to help you grow your business in the most sustainable way. You are also encouraged to post questions and comments about your farming struggles and/or lessons learned to help others grow and learn. Your CNG Network Organizer will post network news, events and activities so that others can attend and benefit as needed.

If you are familiar with Facebook and have a Facebook account, please visit our new CNG Farmers of Georgia group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CNGFarmersofGeorgia/ and request to be added as a member.
If you are not familiar with Facebook and would like more information about this group, please contact me. I can help you get started using Facebook as a promotional tool to grow your farming business. If you need detailed assistance, I am more than willing to schedule a time for private Facebook instruction via phone, a benefit of being CNG. 
 
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you on CNG Farmers of Georgia.
 
Suzanne Geddes
CNG Online Networking Coordinator
404-702-2601


Thanks and hope to see everyone on Tuesday,

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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cannery Tour to Blairsville - Tuesday, March 19th - leave Clarkesville 9am


Hey Local Food Growers,

Our plan to visit the newly constructed Union County cannery in Blairsville is on for a week from now on Tuesday, March 19th. We'll meet up at the Old Clarkesville Mill at 9am that morning on the left side of the mill in front of the lion statues and then carpool. Should be up there a little after 10.

Mickey Cummings the Union County extension agent will give us the tour. He'll also talk about how they got the project funded, the involvement of the local farmers, how the facility was designed as a processing facility, the licensing process, and what types of products that farmers will be able to process there.

Please send me an e-mail if you're planning on attending to soque@windstream.net. The county commissioner who helped champion the project will also meet us for lunch before we return.

Here's some photos to get you excited. Hope to see everyone next week!


 




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

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network - UPDATE March 10, 2012




Georgia Mountains Farmers Network 
UPDATE March 10, 2012



1) Georgia Mountains FARM TOUR – date set – promotions and planning underway
2) Next Get-Together – Tuesday, March 26th – 4pm – Leah Lake Farms
3) NETWORK PRIORITIES – survey results
4) Still trying to schedule BLAIRSVILLE cannery visit


We don't have the rights to this image yet, but here's an idea of what this year's poster could look like. 
If you have any other artwork you'd recommend let us know as this one may be unavailable or super expensive.

1) Georgia Mountains FARM TOUR – date set – promotions and planning underway
Hey folks! We're starting to gear up for this years Georgia Mountains Farm Tour. We're starting just a little bit earlier this year which should really help us with promotions, advance sales, sponsorships, etc. But first mark your calendars….. the event will be held on Saturday June 15th and Sunday June 16th in the afternoons of both days (probably 1-6 pm just like last year). If you weren' t involved last year, but think you'd like to be this year, the very abbreviated summary is that this is a driving tour open to the public featuring 18 stops in Habersham, Rabun, White, Stephens, Hall, and adjacent counties to visit sustainable farms that sell locally. To get a good idea of how it works read last years brochure here. http://www.soque.org/images/FARM_TOUR_brochure.pdf

But before I go any further, I have some good news. Certified Naturally Grown had just a little bit of extra money in their networking grant and we're able to hire someone to help with some of the organization of the event this month, and hopefully through until the event. I want to introduce her as she'll likely be calling some of you in the near future. Her name is Maggie Van Canfort. In addition to helping to start the Clarkeville Farmers Market last year, she's part of Green Way Community Garden in Clarkesville and is working on her Teaching Certificate from Piedmont College. We're lucky to have the help.


Maggie Van Canfort will be helping with some of the organizing and promotions for this years FARM TOUR
706.768.8883


 Here's a quick breakdown of what we need to do to get ready for this year:

  • FARM SIGN UPS – if you'd like to participate in this year's tour now is the time. Just send me an e-mail of your interest and either myself of Maggie will call you and let you know more details. If your farm is added to the tour we'll also get detailed information about your farm to put in the brochure. (DEADLINE – we must have our final farm list by next Monday, March 18th so let us know quick)
  • IDENTIFY BROCHURE DISTRIBUTION POINTS – One key to this event is making the tickets and brochures available for purchase at multiple locations. Last year we sold quite a few at Mountain Fresh Creamery, and a few at the Root Cellar, Lake Rabun Hotel Restaurant. We'll also have online sales for mail delivery through the SRWA website. If you think of a good distribution site, let us know as we'll want to line those up soon.
  • SPONSORS – One way to not only raise the profile of the event this year, but also help the GMFN raise a little money and hopefully allow us to pay the participating farms a little bit too is to solicit a few sponsorships. It looks likely that the Habersham Chamber of Commerce will be the first one to sign up. We still need to come up with tiered sponsor categories but it will likely be something real simple like a $500, $250, and $100 category with a catchy name and different levels of acknowledgement. We'll have room on our brochures for a small logo or ad for businesses. We may even have something really small like $50. If you have any suggestions or would even like to put your own farm or farmers market on there let us know. In-kind services and donations also a possibility.
  • PROMOTIONS – we'll have a list of press outlets and deadlines hopefully by the end of next week to circulate to everyone. I know a few of you have already submitted the dates to local business association calendars etc. Any calendars you can think of please let us know. We'll have a press release and something on our website in another week or two as well. Fairway Signs has offered a free billboard provided we pay to manufacture the sign (which I think runs between $150 and $200). We can discuss this at our next get-together.
  • VOLUNTEERS – We could have used a few extra volunteers last year so this year we're recruiting some more. We'd like to have one GMFN volunteer at each farm that is just focused on making sure people have paid, that they sign a liability waiver and welcome them to the farm, letting farmers focus on giving the tours and selling them yummy food. If you know anyone who would like to volunteer, basically they volunteer one day and get to attend the other day of the tour for free. 

That's probably good for now. Let us know if you'd like to participate. Send me an e-mail to soque@windstream.net. Many of you will hear from Maggie this week as she'll be starting to call folks so be sure and welcome her onboard!



2) Next Get-Together – Tuesday, March 26th – 4pm – Leah Lake Farms
Our next Get-Together is just two weeks away and its at a very cool farm. Way up in the hills actually just across the state line in NC sits Leah Lake Farm.

Brooks has made quite a name for himself over the past year or two, especially with the Locally Grown crowd which is his primary market for some of the best and most diverse salad greens in the region. Some of the many things you'll see and learn about are:

  • How to make the most of a solar greenhouse (attached to your house) and sell lots of starter plants
  • Building Low Hoop Tunnels for very little money
  • How to Farm without tilling (after the first year anyway)
  • How to build customer loyalty (tips on marketing)
  • And more
After Brook's tour Chuck Mashburn will demonstrate how to use the new EARTHWAY SEEDER that belongs to GMFN and purchased with funds from Locally Grown. This is our first piece of shared equipment and folks can loan it anytime after we establish some general care rules.

The tour will start at 4pm, dinner will start sometime between 5-5:30, then we'll have an hour GMFN meeting mainly to discuss the FARM TOUR and possibly some technical workshops around 6pm.


I'll send these out again but here's how you find Leah Lake Farms

Brooks Franklin
4811 Mulberry Rd Otto, NC 28763 

706 746 4440 


www.leahlakefarm.com
Directions: Take Hwy 441 N to Dillard. Turn L on Betty Creek Rd (across from Gulf station). Go 5 miles to the NC/GA line (becomes Mulberry Rd). 2/10ths of a mile turn left at marker 4811/4815. Turn left at Leah Lake sign onto gravel drive.

3) NETWORK PRIORITIES – survey results
Well the results are in. We had 13 people take our Network priority survey. Here's how your feedback is shaping our priorities for 2013. For the full report see attached document.

#1 - Host Farm Tours (HIGH PRIORITY)
#2 - Cooperative Marketing efforts (HIGH PRIORITY)
#3 - Hosting Public Events (HIGH PRIORITY)
#4 - Organizing specific and technical workshops  (HIGH PRIORITY)

Coordinating Bulk Orders (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
Create Forums for Farmer Communication (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
Acquisition and Sharing of Equipment (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
Organization of Crop Mobs (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
Obtaining or Producing Organic Feed (MEDIUM PRIORITY)

NEW PRIORITIES
Increase capacity for local food processing

REMOVED PRIORITIES
Share up-to-date Contact Lists
Developing Marketing as a Group 



4) Still trying to schedule BLAIRSVILLE cannery visit
Many of you expressed your interest in going to see the new Cannery up in Blairsville. It's not on the calendar yet, but I'm really trying to schedule it sometime in the next two week. Keep you fingers crossed.


Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
&
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network