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.

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

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

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

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 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 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

Thanks and hope to see everyone on Tuesday,

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

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