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. 


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