Celebrate Earth Day with the #GrowFoodChallenge

Celebrate Earth Day with the #GrowFoodChallenge

Invest in our planet, your community and your family by celebrating Earth Day this Saturday, April 22, 2023 by joining this year’s #GrowFoodChallenge

The #GrowFoodChallenge is a call to action for individuals, families, schools, & community groups in Northwest Tennessee to grow food & build soil.

From Saturday, April 22 – July 1, 2023, registered participants in the #GrowFoodChallenge will receive free seeds at a Seed Distribution Site within the 9-county region of Northwest Tennessee. During the challenge, participants may earn up to 6 prize entries by submitting online  photos of your growing food AND building compost projects. In addition to monthly prize drawings, participants are eligible to win the grand prize =>

A Rural King Chest Freezer full of a locally raised quarter processed NB Company Beef!

Join us at the Martin Farmers Market in Martin, TN to kick-off this year’s #Grow Food Challenge at the first annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22nd from 9am – 12 noon in downtown Martin, TN. 

Activities include:
~ Plant seeds with the Martin Public Library
~ Learn about composting and reduction of food waste with Girl Scout Troop 40139
~ Join the TN Environmental Council’s #ComePostYourCompost program
~ Participate in a community-wide trash pick-up
~ Pick-up trash supplies from the Weakley County Litter Grant to support the Martin Beautiful Committee’s city-wide trash pick up
~ Learn from the UT Martin Ecology Club
~ Learn about and purchase hydroponically grown products from Blackberry Pond Farm
~ Pick up FREE seeds from the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network and register for this year’s #GrowFoodChallenge
~ Participate in a plant and pots swap from 11am-12 noon.

The #GrowFoodChallenge Plant and Pots Swap will begin at 11am – the idea is to bring some plants and pots from your house to swap them out with others. If you don’t have any of that, it’s ok – you can still participate after the second round of swapping. 

The Martin Beautiful Committee is encouraging all to participate in the GREAT GLOBAL CLEANUP® – a worldwide campaign to remove billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks — reducing waste and plastic pollution, improving habitats, and preventing harm to wildlife and humans. 

Join us at the Earth Day Celebration on 4/22 from 9am -12pm at the Martin Farmers Market, 101 Main Street, Martin, TN 38237. For more information visit: https://nwtnlfn.org/grow-food-challenge/

Share the Earth Day Celebration event on facebook at: https://fb.me/e/2DD812Hg4.

Northwest Tennessee residents can pick up FREE #GrowFoodChallenge seed packets at the following locations:
~ BENTON COUNTY – Second Harvest Food Bank;
~ CARROLL COUNTY – Carroll County Library/ Seed Bank and McKenzie Senior Citizens Center;
~ CROCKETT COUNTY – Crockett County Library;
~ DYER COUNTY – Dyer County Master Gardeners Plant Sale and McIver’s Grant Public Library & Seed Bank;
~ GIBSON COUNTY – Humboldt Public Library;
~ HENRY COUNTY – Henry County Extension Offices and W.G. Rhea Public Library;
~ LAKE COUNTY – Lake County Extension Office;
~ OBION COUNTY – Obion County Public Library;
~ WEAKLEY COUNTY – Martin Public Library and the Weakley County Extension. 

Pick Up Your Seeds during the following events throughout Northwest Tennessee

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based out of Martin, TN with a mission to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL in Northwest Tennessee. The #GrowFoodChallenge is paid for through a #SeedMoney Grant with the following generous seed donors; Society of St. Andrews, Sow True Seed, Ferry Morse Company, Cooperative Gardens Commission; and the following prize donors: Discovery Park of America, Greenway Nursery, Tractor Supply Company, Walmart, Bamboozle, the TN Environmental Council, Rural King and NB Beef Company.

Are you ready for the #GrowFoodChallenge? REGISTER HERE

Fore more information, visit our Grow Food Challenge webpage.

Thanks for growing with us!

Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Team

Turning Yard Waste into TN Gold

During this #GrowFoodChallenge season, as you clean-up your yards from leaves and clear out your garden beds of weeds, consider re-using these natural elements to the benefit of your wallet, your soil, and our climate. 

Recycling food and other organic waste into compost provides a range of environmental benefits, including improving soil health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recycling nutrients, and mitigating the impact of droughts. Composting can be done in many ways. It’s all about utilizing the power of natural decomposition processes, and turning yard scraps into Tennessee gold. My family composts by piling mounds all over our yard because we have lots of weeds – all over, and it’s a lot of yard waste to deal with. Instead of giving it away to a waste company, we give it back to the soil. 

6 Ways to Turn Yard Waste into Tennessee Gold

  1. Repurpose your Fall Leaves:  Add fallen leaves to your compost pile. The carbon in leaves is essential to a healthy compost pile by adding nutrients and keeping moisture. You can pile them up next to your compost and add them into your pile, gradually, all year. Don’t have a compost pile? Check out the Tennessee Environmental Council’s #Come Post Your Compost web and facebook group pages. 
  2. Use leaves in your potted plants: Mix dried leaves in the top two to three inches of soil. Overtime the leaves will decompose and increase nutrients, giving your potted plants a healthy start!
  3. Save your lawn by just mowing over your leaves: Instead of raking up your leaves, just go over your whole yard with your lawn mower, this will chop up the leaves, spread them out, and allow them to decompose throughout the winter. Shredded leaves are also a cost effective alternative to store bought mulch and will help protect grass, flower buds and seeds in your yard.
  4. Create Art Projects with your fallen leaves: Pick the most beautiful fall leaves to preserve and use for seasonal decorations. Leaves are a versatile art material. You can use them to stuff scarecrows, make a pretty wreath, and even for leaf rubbing art. If you would like to make leaf rubbing art, place fresh and/or dried leaves under a sheet of paper and shade over each leaf with a colored pencil or crayon – it’s magical!
  5. Gather the leaves and help the critters: Many wildlife species live or rely on the leaves to find food or make habitats. If you want to keep your yard clean, but help with wildlife then rake up the leaves and pill them up in a far corner of your yard. If you have a woodsy area on your property you can place them there!
  6. Save your cardboard & reduce waste in your neighborhood: Use cardboard in- between your garden bed rows and top them off with your neighbor’s leaf bags. It’s cheaper than buying bags of mulch and they decompose to create rich, luscious soil.

Use cardboard in-between your garden bed rows and top them off with your neighbor’s leaf bags. It’s cheaper than buying bags of mulch and they decompose to create rich, luscious soil. Make sure to remove any plastic tape the cardboard might have and the leaves are clean (with no garbage).

The combination of cardboard and leaves help the weeds stay blacked-out and not grow throughout season. Utilizing leaves around your yard builds your soil, protects from drought, and prevents pesky weeds from invading your pathways – saving you both time and money and protecting our earth’s natural resources: soil and water.

Read more: 7 Tips to Healthy Soil

Samantha Goyret
Local Food Network Team Blogger