Local Food Hero – Seth Lee

Seth Lee of Turtle Hollow Farm, with his wife Corie, operate a 23-acre family homestead in Milan, TN. Seth was raised in upstate West Virginia; however, in the 8th grade, Seth and his family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee. The time spent there is what ultimately brought Seth back to Tennessee after many travels.

Seth centers his life around placing his family first interweaving values of respect and the golden rule: treating others as you would like to be treated. These values are easily seen as Seth is an active member of the Milan Mayor’s Health Council/ACHIEVE Team, he serves as the volunteer Milan Farmers Market Manager, sits on the Milan Special School District Farm to School Planning Team and he owns and operates the Milan Martial Arts Academy, on top of running a diversified homestead at Turtle Hollow Farm.

Turtle Hollow Farm is a homestead that was started three years ago by Seth and Corie where they share the extras of the products they grow for themselves. Their ultimate goal and plan for the future of their farm is to educate others on how to be more self-sufficient whether it be through knowledge or providing nutritious food for families through their homestead operation. The farm accepts EBT and SNAP Benefits. Turtle Hollow Farm produces primarily chicken eggs and produce. Corie hatches chickens and turkeys and has developed a mixed breed of her own that are completely free range. They also have special breed turkeys, dairy goats and various produce such as lettuce grown in their greenhouse. Turtle Hollow Farm’s produce is available for purchase at their farm and at the Milan Farmers Market.

“The local food movement is more than important. In my opinion, I think it is essential,” shares Seth. He believes that, “eating locally and seasonally is what’s best for your body.” Not only does Seth support the local food movement through Turtle Hollow Farm, the Milan Farmers Market and Farm to School initiatives, he also encourages healthy habits at the Milan Martial Arts Academy. There are three creeds for Martial Arts students to follow with the most important being ‘I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that will reduce my mental growth or physical health’.

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is proud to call Seth Lee a #LocalFoodHero!

-Amber Graves

LFN Team Blogger

Celebrating Farm to School Month in Gibson County Schools

The recently formed Gibson County Farm to School Team distributed over 700 local apples from Jones Orchard out of Millington, TN to ALL Gibson County 2nd graders for APPLE CRUNCH DAY that kicked off Farm to School Month!

Milan Elementary School’s Ms. Nichole Claybrooks 2nd grade class tasted local apples during Apple Crunch Day 2020 to kick-off Farm to School Month in Gibson County.

“Since the students cannot visit pumpkin patches this year with their classrooms, the Gibson County Farm to School Team thought we could bring some of the farm to the classroom,” stated Lisa Seiber-Garland, School Nutrition Director, and Farm to School Team Leader for Trenton Special School District. 

All 2nd grade students and their teachers received a brown paper bag with a local apple, the benefits of farm to school information sheet, a Local Food Guide Magazine, an apple activity sheet for the children to review in class and take home.

Milan Elementary School student, O’Riley Williamson, took a bite out of a local apple on Apple Crunch Day in Ms. Jennifer Hooker’s 2nd grade class.

“The Gibson County Farm to School Team and Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is thankful for administrators, teachers, students, parents and farmers for all that they are doing for our communities during this unprecedented time,” stated Samantha Goyret, Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Farm to School Coordinator.

As part of Farm to School Month, the Trenton Special School District is taking lead on a USDA Farm to School Planning Grant awarded to them in July 2020 on behalf of all 20 schools in Gibson County. Gibson County Farm to School Teams include 30 members from each of the school districts in the county including Bradford, Milan, Gibson County, Humboldt City Schools and Trenton.

“An additional feature of Farm to School Month is the Gibson County Farm to School Team will be offering local sweet potatoes from Steele Plant Company and pumpkins from Todd’s Family Fun Farm along with educational activity sheets to afterschool programs throughout Gibson County towards the end of the month,” stated Garland.

Milan Elementary School student, Charlie Burns, from Ms. Jennifer Hooker’s 2nd grade class had a Taste of Tennessee local apple during Apple Crunch Day to kick-off Farm to School Month in early October

The Farm to School Planning Team is seeking to learn about factors that facilitate and hinder implementation and acceptance of Farm to School programs in Gibson County schools and their communities. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out their administrator, teacher, parent and farmer questionnaires at nwtnlfn.org/farm-to-school. Community input is vital to this planning process!

Gibson County F2S Teacher Questionnaire (5 minutes)

Gibson County F2S Parent Questionnaire (3 minutes)

Gibson County F2S Administrator Questionnaire (5 minutes)

Farmer Survey (10 minutes)

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network, a nonprofit organization, is partnering with the schools to support the planning process. The LFN’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL. #FarmtoSchool

~Samantha Goyret
LFN Team Blogger

Community Input Needed during Farm to School Month

Since 2019, the LFN began taking the lead role in partnership with the Weakley County School District, and in 2020 with 5 Gibson County School Districts to design and implement the Farm to School Action Plans for both counties involving all 30 schools in the region.

The Gibson and Weakley County Farm to School Planning Teams have an important request to fulfill the objectives of their USDA Farm to School Planning Grant. They want to learn about factors that facilitate and hinder implementation and acceptance of Farm to School programs in our schools and communities in Gibson and Weakley Counties. The purpose of these questionnaires is to assess current farm to school programming and plan for future project development. The community’s input is important and vital to completing a thorough planning process. Based upon the information gathered, the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network will be facilitating the production of two Farm to School Action Plans for both Gibson and Weakley Counties to serve as an implementation guide for the next several years.

GIBSON COUNTY TEACHERS: Please take 5 minutes to complete the teacher questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCF2STeacherQ

WEAKLEY COUNTY TEACHERS: Please take 5 minutes to complete the teacher questionnaire:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCF2STeacherQ

GIBSON COUNTY PARENT/GUARDIANS: Please take three (3) minutes to complete the parent questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCParentEval

WEAKLEY COUNTY PARENT/GUARDIANS: Please take three (3) minutes to complete the parent questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCParentEval

NORTHWEST TN FARMERS: Farmers are VITAL to the growing the Farm to School movement in our region. Please take 10 minutes to provide your feedback in the Northwest Tennessee Farmers Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NWTNFarmersSurvey

10 minutes = $100. By filling out this survey by December 1, 2020, your farm has a chance to win a $100 advertisement in the upcoming 2021 Northwest Tennessee Local Food Guide Magazine.

Thank you in advance for all that you do for our children and community. The NWTN Local Food Network’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL. Learn more about our FARM TO SCHOOL programs at NWTNLFN.ORG/farm-to-school

Let’s Give ‘em Pumpkin to Talk About!

It’s finally that wonderful time of year again when the leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler and pumpkins are here! October is Farm-to-School month. Make sure you and your family celebrate by visiting pumpkin patches all around Northwest Tennessee for the whole family to enjoy and support our local farmers!

Green Acres Farm, Milan, TN (Gibson)
Denton Parkins
U-Pick: Pumpkin Patch
158 Medina Highway, Milan, TN 38354
(731) 686-1403
Hours: Sun-up ‘til sun-down until October 31

Todd Family Fun Farm, Yorkville, TN  (Gibson)
James and Martha Todd
Agri-tourism: Corn maze, pig races, gemstone mining and geocaching.
101 Tom Austin Road, Yorkville, TN 38330
(731) 643-6720
(731) 234-1568
Hours: Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm, Sunday: 1:30 pm – 5 pm

Donnell Century Farm, Jackson, TN (Madison)
Andrew Donnell
Agri-tourism: Fall Festival
3720 Hwy 70East Jackson, TN 38305 (Spring Creek Community)
(731) 424-4526
Hours: Friday & Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 1 pm-6 pm September 26th-Novemeber 1st

Dixie Chile Ranch, Kenton, TN (Obion)
Timothy D. Brady & Terri Jenkins-Brady
Freshly locally grown variety of pumpkins
3159 E. Union Grove Road, Kenton, TN, 38233
(731) 225-0456
The Farm Stand is open to you when you can come. Call ahead, if possible. Pay at the stand.

The Pumpkin Barn, LLC (Obion)
Alan Shirley
Agri-tourism: Hay Bales, Pumpkins, a petting Zoo, a playground, and inflatables
2557 S. Bluff Road, Obion, TN 38240
(731) 442-0644
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 6 pm

Holt Family Farms, Dresden, TN (Weakley)
Andy & Ellie Holt
Agri-tourism: Pumpkins, Mums, Fall décor, jams, eggs, local honey, all-natural bath and body products, goat milk soaps and Hayrides
357 Woodruff Road Dresden, TN 38225
(731) 364-3459
Ellie Holt (731) 819-2261
Hours: Fridays & Saturdays 10 am – 7 pm
September 26th-October 31st

Kemp Family Farm and Seed, Dresden, TN (Weakley) Keith Kemp
Pumpkins, Gourds, Mums, Hay Rides!
4571 Sharon Highway, Dresden, TN
(731) 588-3934
Hours: Friday: 2 pm – 7 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm

Nanney Pumpkin Patch, Sharon, TN  (Weakley)
Cody Nanney
Agri-Tourism: Pumpkins, Mums, Hayrides
1767 Sharon Road, Sharon, TN 38255
(731) 514-2431
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday: 10am – 6pm, Sunday: 1 pm – 6 pm

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch (Weakley)
Agri-Tourism: locally grown pumpkins, gourds, mums, straw, & corn stalks.
420 Little Road Martin, TN 38237
(731) 514-9103
Hours: Monday – Sunday 7am – 8pm