Monday, February 25, 2013

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network - February 25, 2013 UPDATE

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

February 25, 2013

1) Farm to School Farmers Forum this Thursday - Feb.28th 7 p.m. at Wilbanks Middle School Cafeteria
2) Ladybug Farm Tour follow up
3) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – proposed dates - June 15 and 16 – signing up farms now
4) Next Farm Get-Together - March 26th at Leah Lake Farms
5) Don't forget to share your opinion on NETWORK PRIORITIES



1) Farm to School Farmers Forum this Thursday - Feb.28th 7 p.m. at Wilbanks Middle School Cafeteria

One of the most exciting opportunities for local foods is shaping up this year through a brand new NORTH GEORGIA farm to school program coordinated through the Habersham County School System and focused on Wilbanks Middle School. If YOU would like to grow FOOD for local schools the Habersham School nutrition staff are seeking local, nutritious, products to serve in the school's cafeteria for the 2013-2014 school year.

The meeting is THIS Thursday Feb.28th 7 p.m. at Wilbanks Middle School Cafeteria

Farmers who attend should bring the following to the Meeting:
1. List of what products they could grow for the school
2. Quantity of how much could be provided and what weeks of the year it would be available (Ex: 100 heads of cabbage per week Jan 15 - Feb.25)
3. What price you would sell the product for
4. How the product would arrive at the school (Ex: Box with 25 count per box, Washed and Bagged, etc. )
5. Thoughts on distribution: how will product get from farm to school

If you're planning to attend Teri Hamlin who is helping to organize this program requested an RSVP by Wednesday Feb. 27th. Teri@georgiaorganics.org

Leah Lake Farm, Melon Head Farm and Trillium Farm all provided produce at the first Farm to School meeting back on January 29th.

2) Ladybug Farm Tour follow up
We had a great tour of Terri Jagger's Ladybug Farms last week. It ended up being a gorgeous day. Here's a quick rundown of the things we saw and talked about:
  • Cool old 3 window Ford Truck made famous on the cover of the Mountain Laurel magazine
  • Fruit orchard and Dahlia Bed
  • 6,000 gallons worth of rainwater harvesting system that is doing a really good job of providing all the water needs to the farm.
  • Packing shed with washing station that also uses rainwater system
  • Windstrip growing trays
  • Passive solar seed starting greenhouse



And that was just the highlights. Thanks to Terri for a great tour and thanks to everyone for coming out.

3) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour – proposed dates - June 15 and 16 – signing up farms now
We're beginning our planning for this year's farm tour early, as in now! First up is nailing down the weekend. We're proposing Saturday and Sunday June 15th and 16th. If there's not any big conflicts with these dates, we're going to try and lock that down very soon. 

Next is taking volunteers for farm participants on this years tour. I've already heard that Sylvan Falls Mill plans to participate this year. If you are a returning or new farm that would like to be on the tour this year let us know and we can start to plan things out soon. 

One other enticement this year is that we do plan to use some of this year's proceeds to pay farmers for hosting the tour. We need to work out how much we can afford, and there will likely be a small difference between part time vs. full time farms. We do expect that the event should raise more money this year, so once we cover expenses and reserve a little money for future GMFN projects, we'd like to make sure everyone who puts in the blood, sweat and tears feels rewarded.

If you didn't participate in last years tour and want to know how it works, take a look at last years brochure which should tell you just about everything you need to know.


We'll be going into further detail at our March get-together. We're hoping to have almost all the farms signed up by that meeting.





4) Next Farm Get-Together – Tuesday, March 26th at Leah Lake Farms 
Our next get-together will be at Brooks Franklin's farm. In addition to a farm tour, potluck, and meeting, we'll also do a demo of the EARTHWAY seeder which is our first piece of shared equipment (purchased with Locally Grown money). If anyone is interested in borrowing this equipment for a try, we'll have a simple check out system. Be sure and mark your calendars for this next great farm tour. 


5) Don't forget to share your opinion on NETWORK PRIORITIES
We've received 12 responses to our survey on our Network Priorities. Please let us know what you'd like us to work on so we can best meet the needs of the local farming community.



Many thanks,

Justin Ellis

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