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





Saturday, March 9, 2013

UGA's Organic Farming Workshop - 3/23-24


Hey Local Farmers,

You may be interested in this workshop hosted by UGA coming up in two weeks. 

Organic Farming Workshop

March 23-24, 2013


University of Georgia
Durham Horticulture Farm
1221 Hog Mountain Road
Watkinsville, GA 30677

COURSE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. George Boyhan, Professor & Extension Vegetable Specialist
Dr. Cecilia McGregor, Assistant Professor, Horticulture
Dr. Elizabeth Little, Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology
Dr. Paul Guillebeau, Professor & IPM Coordinator
Dr. Kent Wolf, Director, Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development
Special Guests:
Alex Rilko, Whole Foods
Matt Granados, Local Vendors Coalition

For additional information contact 
Dr. George Boyhan: (706) 231-4137, gboyhan@uga.edu

Day 1 – Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Organic Certification – Is it for me?
Disease Management
Insect Management
Varieties & Seed Saving
Soils & Soil Testing
Composting, Fertilization, & Irrigation
Weed Control

Day 2 – Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Crop Rotation
Managing Cover Crops
Transplants, Hoop Houses, & Greenhouse Production
Business Planning, Startup, & Management
Production Methods & Raised Beds
GAPs & Food Safety
Harvesting & Postharvest Handling


What is organic production?
Organic production encompasses those methods and processes that result in a more sustainable method of production. Organic production has seen 10-fold increase in production in Georgia over the past 10 years. There continues to be unmet demand for organically produced vegetables.

Who is this program for?
This program is geared for the beginning and intermediate grower. Beginners will learn about starting a business as well as the basics of growing organically. This will include information on certification. Intermediate growers will be able to round out their skills and gain some field experience with experts in their field.

Where will the program be held?
The program will meet in the Bee Lab at the Durham Horticulture Farm on Hog Mountain Road. This farm has certified organic plots that are used for research and teaching. This land is in a long term rotation as well as having ongoing research projects. The Horticulture Farm also has both hoop houses and greenhouses used for research. Dress appropriately for outdoor conditions.

Workshop Registration
Pre-registration is required and is limited. The early registration deadline is March 15, 2013. If you wish to register after this, please call for availability. The registration fee is $200.00. The registration fee includes all instructional materials, supplies, lunches, and refreshments during breaks.



Registration MUST be prepaid and the registration form filled out and signed.



Name:



Badge Name:



Title:



Company:



Mailing address:



City/State/Zip:



Telephone:



Fax:



Phone:



Email address:



Please make check or money order payable to the ‘University of Georgia’. Please mail this completed form and funds to:

University of Georgia
Department of Horticulture
1111 Miller Plant Science Building
Athens, GA 30602