2014 – what a year!

From Quilt Barns to stream banks to farmers speed dating, the Appalachian RC&D Council had an amazing year, thanks to friends and volunteers like you! Here are highlights from the year… and ways for you to support the ARC&D in 2015 to create a stronger and more sustainable northeast Tennessee.

Six reasons to say Thank You

And as for quilts…

The Quilt Trail took to Main Street in 2014, telling stories of family and heritage with each new brush stroke, and encouraging visitors to let public art be their guide while exploring historic downtowns…

In the 11th year of the Quilt Trail, three more barns were added to our “clothesline of quilts,” which now boasts 110 sites–explorable at www.QuiltTrail.org or by downloading the mobile app onto your iPhone or iPad. Downtown Kingsport now has 18 quilt squares on its walking trail, the result of over 1,000 hours of volunteer time. Thanks to donations from several businesses, First Frontier Quilters, and the city, visitors to downtown will soon see a plaque at each quilt site and a rack card map will be available. And thanks to the East Tennessee Foundation Arts Fund, downtown quilt trails took a front seat in 2014. In downtown Greeneville, a group of volunteers decided they too believed in the power of art to tell stories and strengthen community. They have transformed a cluttered storage room into a painting studio at the Nathanael Greene Museum and will unveil three 8’ x 8’ squares by the end of 2014. These will be hosted by the Public Library, the Antique Market, and the Cave Law Firm. The group’s ambition is to do a dozen squares to create a walking trail. Lastly, we must remember two Greeneville Quilt Trail heroes who passed away this year. James Ben Stockton begged the ARC&D to expand into downtown Greeneville and “think outside the barn”…and when we finally did it was a great success. Earl Fletcher placed the schoolhouse quilt square on the Nathanael Greene Museum. As director, Earl added a Quilt Room right off the main lobby and he often called the museum the”beginning of the Quilt Trail.” These gentlemen are both missed.

Barns added in 2014

Locally Grown work revitalized

This year we were able to revitalize ARC&D’s reputation for leading the Locally Grown movement by providing new opportunities for networking and information sharing, assisting with the opening of the all-local Boone Street Market, and securing over $100,000 in agriculture grants…

A full time beef cattle farmer, a public graduate student from ETSU, two men just beginning to sell produce. These faces are a snapshot of the diverse stakeholders brought together at any given Friends of Ag event. We estimate that 200 people have attended a Friends of Ag event and come away well fed on local ingredients—and well educated. And we are convinced that many attendees would not have been brought together if not for this effort. It has also raised the profile of the importance of agriculture in the media.  Expanding on Friends of Ag in Washington County, the TN Dept. of Agriculture has awarded us a Specialty Crops grant to coordinate a Buyer-Producer Mixer series in the Tricities—speed dating for farmers and businesses that want to buy local, such as chefs, distributors, and grocers. The mixers also feature food made with local ingredients. When we got a suggestion card after the first mixer in Bristol that read, “more time, bigger plates”, we knew we put on a successful event. The second mixer, to be held in February, will focus on farms selling direct to restaurants and ideas for cross-promotion. Our recent success being awarded a USDA Local Foods Promotion grant will be a two-year challenge to build a fresh and equitable food system in northeast TN and southwest VA with Appalachian Sustainable Development and Jonesborough Locally Grown. Our guiding principle is to collaborate with all regional partners so that efforts are integrated, not duplicated. Starting in 2015 we will have a full-time staff person devoted to this endeavor, so stay tuned!

This summer brought film-maker Eleanor Goodrich as an AmeriCorps associate to produce three short films on local food. Here is her first 30-second piece, called “Where we Come From”:

To view her other films on local food and farms they are found here: http://arcd.org/index2.php/2014/09/10/arcd-hosts-filmmaker-for-local-food-shorts/

A Thank you from our 2014-2015 “Locally Grown Coordinator” AmeriCorps VISTA

Veronica

Veronica

 

“The past ninth months serving with the ARC&D have been truly inspiring. On Nov. 1st—only a few short weeks ago—I was the first one behind the counter of Boone Street Market, ringing up hundreds of customers during Opening Day. The result of hard work, partnerships, and community effort, Jonesborough finally opened the doors of this new community-based, all-local, farmer-centered business model. As a VISTA, my role has been farmer recruitment, applying for grants, and volunteer organizing. Thanks to the Market, I’ve gotten to know local farmers, including sixteen-year-old Dominick and life-long producer Arland Johnson. Both have added additional streams of income and connected to new customers. I am also proud of recent numbers showing how the Jonesborough Farmers Market tripled EBT redemption, due, in some part, to my outreach—customers from all walks of life now have greater access to fresh local food. With only three months left in my VISTA service I am looking forward to witnessing continued dedication, passion, and support from this community. Thank you!”    ~ Veronica Limeberry

And did you know?

Twenty years of responsible fiscal management has made us a regional go-to for administration of state funds that must be implemented through a nonprofit…

This year marked the close of a five- year “319” grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and TN Dept. of Agriculture to reduce pollution in the impaired Roan Creek watershed of Johnson County. This project benefited many landowners by providing cost-share to stabilize stream banks. The grant was also used to stabilize streams in advance of installing Doe Mountain’s Adventure Trails system. And up and down east Tennessee, mountain communities are addressing woodland fire by applying to become a Firewise community. Through the TN Department of Forestry, they receive grants for training and fire mitigation (brush removal, etc.). ARC&D administers Firewise funds for several communities and supports the outreach and monitoring of state fire safety professionals.

This year we secured $260,100 in Grants…
$1,500 TN Arts Commission: Taking the Quilt Trail mobile
$2,500 TN Nature Resource Conservation Service: Youth Community Gardens
$6,000 East Tennessee Foundation Arts Fund: Downtown Quilt Trails (awarded in 2012 but continuing in 2014)
$10,000 Aslan Foundation: Conserving farmland in NE TN
$11,400 TN Department of Agriculture: Buyer-Producer networking events
$98,700 USDA Agricultural Marketing Service: Building a collaborative food system in northeast TN and southwest VA (2 yrs)
$130,000 TN Department of Forestry: Firewise communities in East TN

 

Supporting the ARC&D

Donating to the ARC&D can be done easily online at our Paypal/credit card donation page: http://arcd.org/index2.php/support/donate

Or you can mail a check to our office, we are a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Here are the businesses and friends who have supported us this year – we are grateful for your generosity and could not help build a strong and sustainable rural economy in northeast Tennessee without your help:

Farm Credit Mid-America
Farm Bureau Washington County
Washington Farmers Coop
First Bank and Trust Agricultural Lending
Tennessee RC&D Council
Conservation Legacy/Appalachian Coal County VISTA Team
Hillhouse Graphics
Tennessee Quilts
Heavenly Stitches Quilt Shoppe
Bagel Exchange
Carriage House
Cindy Saadeh Fine Art
City of Kingsport
Frank Gibson Law Firm
Holston Habitat for Humanity ReStore
First Frontier Quilters of Kingsport
Boone Street Market
Pleasant Valley Farms/the Saylors
Love Grains/the Loves
Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting
Cave Law Firm
Greeneville Antique Market
Greeneville-Greene County Public Library
Nathanael Greene Museum
Main Street Pizza Company
The Fresh Market
Jennings Accounting Group

Thank you for making 2014 a wonderful year! We look forward to working with you in 2015.

 

Emily Bidgood, ARC&D Project/Development Coordinator, had her son, Willis, in July 2014.

Emily Bidgood, ARC&D Project/Development Coordinator, had her son, Willis, in July 2014.