Friday, February 15, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network UPDATE ­ February 15, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
UPDATE – February 15, 2013

Hey Local Growers,

Just wanted to remind everyone about the great farm tour, potluck and meeting we've got planned for next week on Tuesday, February 19th starting at 2pm. See details and directions below. Also want to try one more time for a BULK ORDER from Seven Springs. The new deadline for orders will be the same day as our meeting, February 19th. See below for details. This is a democratic network so please help us identify what you'd like to see the Network accomplish by taking a quick survey to share your ideas.

1) SURVEY to establish Network Priorities for 2013 – only takes 1-2 minutes online
3) Bulk Orders for Farm Supplies (from 7 springs)  - new deadline – February 19th – 7pm
4) Upcoming - Farm to School meeting for farmers February 28th and next Get-Together March 26th at Leah Lake Farms

1) SURVEY to establish Network Priorities for 2013 – only takes 1-2 minutes online
Hard to believe it's been just over a year since the network stared. We've done a lot in a year. Help us determine what to focus on in 2013 by taking this short 1-2 minute survey. So far the network has focused on 11 priorities that farmers themselves have set. To insure  we continue to work on the projects and collaboratives most important to you we need your feedback. If you can take this online survey before next Tuesday, that way we can discuss the results at the meeting.

Shouldn't take more than a minute or two 

Thanks to Terri Jagger for inviting us out to her place next WEEK! There is a lot of cool stuff to see on this farm but one that is highly UNIQUE and INNOVATIVE is a Rainwater gravity fed irrigation system - 6000 gallons of in ground storage; 14 foot drop in elevation; 300 foot run to upper field and up to 20 psi in the field. Also a Packing Shed and Washing Station, Drainage swails to minimize field runoff, Portable Electric Deer Fencing (she takes it down in the winter but can talk about it if there is interest), a brand new Passive Solar Seed Starting Greenhouse, an Unheated Greenhouse (this is where we'll have dinner and our network meeting so bring a chair and maybe a table too), Small fruit orchard planted with perennial cover crop and 2 hives of Bees. It's also an extraordinarily beautiful farm in a beautiful setting so we hope you can make it.

Farm Tour starts at 2pm (due to lack of electricity in the greenhouse we have to finish up before dark.)

The tour will start around 2pm followed this time by our NETWORK meeting next at 3 or 3:30pm (short agenda below), then an early dinner sometime around 4:30pm. Don't forget it's a potluck. Bring something yummy and farmy to share and e-mail what you're bringing so we can get our tastebuds watering.


  • Network Priority Results – don't forget to take the survey so your feedback is included even if you can't make the tour. Also discuss and possibly add new priorities like  farm 2 school, new processing centers (Habersham cannery, food bank). 
  • GA MTNS FARM TOUR - this seems to be one activity that will continue to draw attention to our area farms. Tentative Dates - June 14-15
  • COOPERATIVE MARKETING - discuss Gainseville Locally Grown market progress / other ideas

Any food you like is welcome! Please bring something even so we can enjoy a good meal together.
Also please bring a chair, plate, utensils and beverage of your choice. If you have a lightweight foldable table, we also need about 4 of those.
We'll have napkins, water, washbasins, and tables. You can clean your gear after you eat.

You can also invite others as long as they are FARMERS and let us know in advance. The more the merrier!


Directions to Ladybug Farms from Clayton


From 441 (at the Dairy Queen) Turn onto 76 West and travel 7.7 miles.  Turn right onto Persimmon Road and continue for 4.5 miles.  (Midway down Persimmon is a “V” in the road; stay to the Left.)  From Persimmon Road turn left onto Coleman River Road and travel for .6 miles.  Ladybug Farms is at 676 Coleman River Road, Clayton, Georgia  30525.  I will put a ladybug balloon at the entrance of Coleman River Road as it is an easy road to miss…

3) Bulk Orders for Farm Supplies (from 7 springs)  - new deadline – February 19th - 7pm
We're gonna try one more time to see if enough people want to do a bulk order to make it worth our while and save everyone some money. Last year, this collaborative went really well with about 12 of us of us purchasing $1,400 worth of products and received a good discount in the process. If you are interested in purchasing organic amendments, soil mixes, pesticides, row covers, cover crop seed, etc. then you should at least take a look at the 7 Springs catalog. I'm attaching a PDF, but it's really easier to just use their website and cut and pasted the items you want into an e-mail exactly as I have outlined below. I'm also attaching the orders I received back in December so you can see how it's organized. Please follow the instructions below exactly, as it takes me time to clean up and make sense of hastily submitted orders that don't include your contact information. I'll have to return your e-mail (essentially decline your order) if it's not exact. 

To make your selections:  

Peruse their catalog by clicking this link  
You'll need to submit orders to me via e-mail ( no later than Tuesday, February 19th by 7pm
Orders Must have the following Information exactly or will be declined:

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.

If we don't receive enough orders to almost fill a pallet we may have to postpone, but hopefully this worthwhile collaborative will come together. Thanks for the interest.

4) Upcoming - Farm to School meeting for farmers February 28th and next Get-Together March 26th at Leah Lake Farms
If you're not yet in the loop on the new Northeast Georgia Farm to School program and would like to be, please attend the farmers forum meeting listed below. You can also find out all the details of the FARM to School Program by reading this newsletter that summarizes things nicely.

Farmers Forum

February 28th, 7 p.m.

Wilbanks Middle School

Farmers Meet with Paige Holland, School Nutrition Director, to Discuss

Growing Produce For Next School Year


Growing Guidelines for Farmers

Local Food Purchasing from School

Next after that is our March FARMERS GET TOGETHER

Tuesday, March 26th at Leah Lake Farms in Rabun County
In addition to a farm tour, potluck, meeting, we'll also do a demo of the EARTHWAY seeder which if popular may become our first purchased shared equipment (we have some money from Locally Grown we're willing to spend).

We also may try and squeeze in a trip to the Blairsville (Union County) brand new cannery and their amazing Farmers Market pavillion. Habersham County is currently looking at how to spend their next SPLOST, and also just finished final plans for their new cannery. We may try and get inspired by a trip up there in early March likely on a Monday afternoon. Let us know if you'd be interested.


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

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