This winter season the Friends of Agriculture breakfast, hosted by the ARCD and sponsored by Farm Bureau, the Harris Fund of East TN, Farm Credit Mid America, and the Washington County Soil Conservation District, has focused on creative business endeavors and marketing ideas. An attendee from our previous breakfast shared that “The networking of really good people in all this is invaluable and inspiring.” We hope you can join us for our next two breakfasts, featuring
- Gary Mabrey–President and CEO of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, will speak about developments in agriculture throughout the chamber of commerce’s past 100 years, as well as information about the upcoming Agriculture and Business Appreciation Event. February 19, 7 am
- Wendee and Robert White of White’s Mountain Meadow Farm, will share their international tale of becoming farmers in NE TN and fostering sustainable agricultural practices in the region. March 19, 7 am
All presentations are held at the Farm Bureau located on 1103 Boone St in Jonesborough and include a locally-sourced breakfast.
Our first speaker of the season, Molly Nicholie from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) helped farmers and gardeners learn how to become “Appalachian Grown” certified—which comes with an array of marketing materials, including stickers, specialized produce bags, and more. The Appalachian Grown logo assures customers that the product they’re buying was grown locally in the Appalachian Region, and serves to connect them more directly to their farmers.
Table Display during Molly Nicholie’s Presentation
Next on the winter agenda was Jamie Dove and Elise Claire, owners of Main St. Pizza Company in Johnson City and River Creek Farm. In less than 11 months Jamie and Elise purchased land, built a sustainable farm, and began operation of successful CSA. They have used their restaurant business as an outlet for both extra farm products and a tool for marketing to customers.
ARCD Board Member Pat Stern and Presenter Jamie Dove serve themselves breakfast
In December Wayne Hughes of Rocky Field Farm shared his story of staying on the family cattle farm and his methods of introducing sustainability to his farm by growing heirloom heritage grass pasturelands—increasing conservation efforts and growing better cattle. He also discussed marketing strategies and ways to “sell your story” as a local agriculture producer.
Our latest presentation featured Matthew Dobson, manager of the local-farm-store The Boone Street Market and owner of Preservation Farms. Matt discussed his transition into agriculture from corporate golf club management and his accompanied insights into sustainable local food systems.
ARCD Board Chair Roy Settle and Program Coordinator Emily Bidgood get excited over local breakfast
Assistant to the Program Coordinator, Willis Bidgood, and board member Lynice Broyles consider the possibilities of agriculture in NE TN