Harvest of the Month Poster Winners Announced

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network (LFN) hosted the Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month (HOTM) poster contest during Farm to School month in October 2023.  All K-12 students in the Northwest Tennessee Region were eligible to enter the contest. The Harvest of the Month program’s goal is to encourage healthy and local food choices by increasing Northwest Tennessee residents’ exposure to seasonally available foods. 

“This project provides awareness of the locally grown foods, artistic expression, and the important connection with our local food system,” commented Samantha Goyret, Executive Director of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network. “The entries showed how students, when given a chance, have an incredible ability to showcase their creative skills and agricultural knowledge.”

The 12 student winners were chosen from 58 entries from South Carroll County Special School District and Weakley County School District. The winners are (drumroll please….):

January – Beef: Candice Bowlin, Grade 9, Clarksburg School

February – Pork, Jayden Garcia, Grade 8, Clarksburg School

March – Hydroponic Lettuce, Basil Parsaca, Grade 9, Dresden High School

April – Radish, Bayleigh Laws, Grade 4, Clarksburg School

May  – Strawberries, Vivian Flippin, Grade 3, Clarksburg School

June – Broccoli, Mattie Burnett, Grade 12, Dresden High School

July – Corn, Klover Santiago, Grade 5, Clarksburg School

August – Melons, Becky Melton, Grade 5, Clarksburg School

September – Apples, Lily Lucas, Kindergarten, Clarksburg School

October – Gourds, Tegan Stout, Grade 3, Dresden Elementary School

November – Sweet Potatoes, Annaka Townsend, Grade 6, Clarksburg School

December – Turnips, Alexa Vu, Grade 6, Martin Middle School

“We celebrate the Clarksburg Rockets Farm to School program in partnership with the NWTNLFN that is guiding us as we develop a robust Farm to School culture in all grade-levels in our school,” stated Dr. Lisa Norris, Director of Schools, South Carroll Special School District. “The Harvest of the Month program is a great example of how to tie in art, agriculture, nutrition and local food education all in one project. ”

The winning artwork will be featured in Harvest of the Month Promotional materials in the Northwest Tennessee region. The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL in Northwest Tennessee.

Clarksburg School Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month Poster Winners 2024
(From left to right): Caroline Ideus – NWTNLFN, Annaka Townsend, Klover Santiago, Candice Bowlin, Bayleigh Laws, Vivian Flippin,  Lily Lucas, Clarksburg Art Teacher LeAnne Edwards, Samantha Goyret, NWTNLFN
(Winners not present: Becky Melton & Jayden Garcia)

Weakley County Schools Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month Poster Winners 2024  (From top to bottom): Tegan Stout – Grade 3, Dresden Elementary School, Alexa Vu – Grade 6, Martin Middle School, Mattie Burnett – Grade 12, Dresden High School
(Winner not present: Hydroponic Greens, Basil Parsaca – Grade 9, Dresden High School)

New Regional Food Business Center partners with Local Food Network

In May 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the creation of 12 new USDA Regional Food Business Centers that will provide national coverage coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources, thereby closing the gaps to success. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to transforming our food system to one that offers new market opportunities to small and mid-sized farming operations through a strengthened local and regional food system,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Regional Food Business Centers, along with investments through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program will create new and expanded local market opportunities which will improve farm income, create good paying jobs and build greater resilience in our overall food system.”

The Regional Food Business Centers will support producers by providing localized assistance to access a variety of markets, including linking producers to wholesalers and distributors. By strengthening connections between rural and urban areas, the Regional Food Business Centers will drive economic opportunities across the region, creating a more diversified and resilient food system. Collectively, the organizations selected to lead each Center reflect an impressive cross-section of the varied institutions, organizations, and associations that must cooperate to achieve genuinely strong and distributed food systems. These organizations are engaging with grassroots food and farm organizations and employing a range of creative strategies to build food system resiliency. Regional Food Centers will target their work to historically underinvested communities in their region.

Lead Organization Selected for Each Center: Appalachia USDA Regional Food Business Center, Rural Action Inc.

In partnership with lead organization, Rural Action, based out of Ohio, the Northwest Tennessee  Local Food Network is facilitating the coordination, technical assistance and capacity building with local farmers through business builder subawards of up to $100,000 to support projects focused on regional needs and businesses that are working towards expansion and other investment.

“We are proud to be one of the partners making up the Appalachia Regional Food Business Center!” stated Samantha Goyret, Executive Director of the NWTN Local Food Network. “We are excited to explore this new online hub and share upcoming resources to support local food innovators in our region.”

Sign up for email updates on their “Contact Us” page, or through their newsletter link. Stay connected with the Center for the latest updates on regional food initiatives and events at Appalachia Regional Food Business Center (appalachiarfbc.org).

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, based out of Martin, TN, to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL.

Additional Resources

Regardless of the current size of your business, it is best to plan and structure so that you’re ready for the future. When it comes to growing a #smallbusiness, a little proactivity will pay off in the long run. There are several ways to grow your business, and having an actionable plan is key. This is where the TSBDC can help. From branding to diversification, we are here to here to help you start and implement a growth strategy that is right for your business! Contact your consultant HERE

11 Ways to Enjoy Farm to School Month

  1. K-12 Students – Harvest Your Art and Win!  Students K-12 enter artwork depicting one of the 12 Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month poster challenge options.
    ~ Download the Registration Packet.
    ~ Share our blog/press release
  2. Join us for our Farm to Table Dinner Fundraiser on Saturday, October 14th, 5:30-8pm at the Dresden Farmers Market, celebrating locally grown foods, music, a silent auction and fun!
  3. Give the Garden Some Love: Is anything growing in your school garden? Plan a clean-up day to prepare the garden for winter, plant a fall crop or plant cover crops – protect your soil. Register for our upcoming volunteer opportunities!
  4. Connect with a Local Farm: Take a field trip to a nearby farm or ask a farmer to present to your class about what it’s like to live and work on a farm. Check out our Pumpkin Patch Guide
  5. Get Fresh at the Farmer’s Market: Visit your local farmers market or encourage families to go to the market and post a photo of their purchases on social media using the hashtag #NationalFarmToSchoolMonth.
  6. Try Something New: Feature a new local menu item for school breakfast or lunch. Host a taste test of the new item so students can try it.
  7. Celebrate Apple Crunch Day: Take a collective crunch out of a local apple on Apple Crunch Day on Tuesday, October 19, 2023 at where fresh, local food is celebrated. Connect with the NWTN LFN to learn how your school can participate in Apple Crunch Day.
  8. Looking for healthy snack ideas?
    Download our FREE Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month Snack Recipe PDF.
  9. Connect to the Curriculum: Teach a lesson or two during the month as part of your celebration. Check out the National Agriculture in the Classroom Matrix.
  10. Take action: Support Cafeterias, Classrooms, Community and Staying Power initiatives through the short-term and long-term goals. Visit our farm to school webpage to learn more from our Farm to School Action Plans.
  11. Advocate for Universal School Meals: Many organizations, groups and policymakers are focused on ensuring America’s children have access to healthy and nutritious meals, but more work is needed by individuals like you. Learn about the National Farm to School Network’s Value-Aligned School Meals Initiative and how you can advocate for ALL children to eat equally.

#Get it Local! Registration opens for Local Food Guide

We invite YOU to fill out our FREE registration form by November 30, 2023 to be included in this year’s Northwest Tennessee Local Food Guide Magazine. Get started at nwtnlfn.org/food-resources.

Residents throughout the region use the NWTN Local Food Guide Magazine to find family farms, farmers markets, wineries/distilleries, restaurants, food artisans and bakers, farm stores and stands, pumpkin patches, u-pick farms, CSAs, animal products, beekeepers, processors, food trucks, locally owned restaurants, locally owned plant vendors, and food relief organizations. 

Do you grow food? Do you own a local restaurant or food truck? Do you make artisan foods? Do you have chickens with eggs for sale? Are you a beekeeper? Do you sell plants? Do you raise or process freezer beef/pork? Are you involved in agri-tourism or have a u-pick farm? Does your organization provide food relief? Do you own a local restaurant or cafe?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then #Get It Local in this year’s NWTN Local Food Network’s Local Food Guide. The guide is a FREE directory of locally produced and distributed foods in Northwest Tennessee. Whether you are a backyard gardener, small-scale or large scale farmer – all are invited to list their products and services by registering for a FREE listing (please note: personal addresses will not show on the listing, but it is needed to mark your business on the regional map).

Left to Right: Lindsey Frilling – Director of Obion County Chamber of Commerce, Scott Williams  – Director of Discovery Park of America, Samantha Goyret – Executive Director of the NWTNLFN.ORG & Mayor Jake Bynum of Weakley County #GetitLocal

“We distribute Local Food Guides through schools, and community events throughout our region and state,” declared Caroline Ideus, Outreach Director of the NWTNLFN, “We want to shine a light on our growing local food movement in West Tennessee. “

The registration listings are free due to the printing support from Ad Sales. 100% of Ad Sales cover the cost of printing with no administrative charges. For more information or to purchase an advertisement, please message/call Samantha Goyret, (731) 332-9071 or email nwtnfoodguide@gmail.com.

“The LFN is working with farmers listed in the guide to establish and expand farm to school programs increasing locally grown food in schools for our children to enjoy a fresh healthy meal straight from the source,” stated Samantha Goyret, Executive Director of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network. “Additionally, we are seeking to list more locally owned restaurants and hunger-relief organizations in this year’s Local Food Guide Magazine. It’s free to register.” 

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is a local nonprofit organization based out of Martin, TN serving as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL. This year’s 2024-2025 NWTN Local Food Guide will be distributed throughout the 9-county region of Northwest Tennessee in late Spring. Registration is due by, November 30, 2023. 

Register directly here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LFG2023 or learn more at nwtnlfn.org/food-resources.

Yates Jackson, a winner of the #Grow Food Challenge 2021, was featured on the cover of the 2022 Local Food Guide Magazine.

Do you have an amazing photo? Send it to us – it could be featured, too! nwtnfoodguide@gmail.com

Can you Dig it?

Steele Plant Company Sweet Potato Farm Tour

Join the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network on Tuesday, September 26th from 10am – 12 noon at the Steele Plant Company’s Sweet Potato farm out of Gleason, TN. Participants will meet at the Steele Plant Company’s main office at 10am on 202 Collins Street, Gleason, TN 38229. From there, participants will travel out to the fields to see how sweet potatoes are harvested from the field to the warehouse (digging is optional). Can you dig it?

This is a FREE meet-up event hosted by the NWTN Local Food Network and Steele Plant Company. Minors are welcome and encouraged to attend, but must be accompanied by an adult.

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is a non-profit 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 our region.

Join our 10-day Pampered Chef Party!

You’re invited to the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network’s 10-day Pampered Chef party! Mark your calendars  from August 28 – September 6, 2023. Invite a friend or two to participate by supporting the NWTN Local Food Network!

Get ready to learn recipes and tips to make meals that fuel your lifestyle with some of Pampered Chef’s best products. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Join this Fundraising Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/649815287121744 

Directly order from this link: https://www.pamperedchef.com/party/nwtnlocalfoodnetwork

Depending on how much we purchase collectively, 20-30% of proceeds support the mission of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network: to serve as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to all in Northwest Tennessee.

Join Our Team – Paid Internship Positions Open

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is HIRING! We have two openings for the following paid internship position to start this May – Marketing & Communications, and starting this August 2023- Local Food Procurement.

Summer – Marketing and Communications Internship has been filled.


Fall – Local Food Procurement Internship

Intern Job Description

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Local Food Procurement Intern, starts August 2023 – December 2023, and will serve in this capacity to complete at least 135 hours of service. The intern will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of this internship. This is a grant funded position paid for through the USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant.

Purpose of Internship

This position will foster a deeper understanding of how local food systems work, hone the following skill sets: organizing, research, & writing skills, team building, and project management. The intern will report to the LFN Executive Director while supporting the following programs and initiatives within the following areas:

  • Harvest of the Month: Share HOTM Calendar with Farmers to start connecting their products with local schools, early childcare centers and hunger relief organizations
  • Local Food Procurement Education & Access: Continual support virtual local food procurement training and sourcing opportunities related to #FarmtoSchool activities, promote the Local Food Procurement Manual Publication, connect schools with local foods
    • Encouraging increased consumption of local grown foods through promotional activities, taste tests, and other activities featuring local products in collaboration with the Harvest of the Month Program, School Nutrition Programs and local farms.
  • Press Releases: draft press releases and support monthly e-newsletter content creation
  • Nourishing Connection: support Fall Nourishing Connection Grow Kit assemblies and distribution
  • General program support: responsibilities may include administrative tasks, survey dissemination, assisting with general organizational operations, and attending Local Food Network team, Board meetings and tabling events.

Qualifications of Applicant:

  • Remote capable – have access to the internet from your place of residence
  • Self-Motivated, Detail oriented, organized, dependable
  • Effective written and oral communication skills
  • Proficiency in using Microsoft Programs, Google Drive, and WordPress
  • Interest in and dedication to promoting local food and agriculture

STEPS TO APPLY FOR INTERNSHIP POSITIONS
This position is open until filled.

Send a cover letter and your resume to Samantha Goyret, Executive Director, Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network at nwtnfoodguide at gmail.com.

Applications are due by Tuesday, August 8, 2023.

Interviews conducted the second week of August.

Internship positions begins on Monday, August 14, 2023 through December 15, 2023.

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network serves as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL.

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network does not discriminate against any qualified applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, physical or mental disability.

Red Sand Project: Human Trafficking and Agriculture

On Wednesday, July 26th at 3pm via Facebook live stream, the Martin Farmer’s Market will shine a light on human trafficking in the agriculture industry. This year, the Tennessee Department of Health and communities around the state are bringing awareness to the issue by participating in Human Trafficking Awareness Week and the Red Sand Project, July 24 through July 29.

According to the U.S. Department of State, at any given time, there are an estimated 24.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. The agricultural industry, unfortunately, is an industry that predisposes certain worker demographics to becoming victims of human trafficking.

Agriculture in the United States is defined largely by its seasonal nature, irregular income, and locations in rural or isolated areas. Farms are not highly-regulated workplaces, and farm labor is typically a low-income job. Many farm workers are undocumented immigrants or hold H-2A visas, which allow foreign-born persons to work seasonally and temporarily on an American farm for up to 10 months. On its website, the National Human Trafficking Hotline explains that the line between agricultural employment and trafficking is often blurred in the United States. When an employer uses force, fraud, or coercion to maintain control over workers, employees become victims. 

The Red Sand Project aims to raise awareness about human trafficking through public art installments. Red Sand activists most commonly spread natural red sand into public sidewalk cracks to represent trafficking survivors who have “fallen through the cracks of society.” A large portion of the world has already fallen victim to human trafficking, and many people are in industries and areas predisposed to becoming victims. By highlighting the Red Sand Project and the issue of human trafficking, the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network hopes to raise awareness and promote safety and health in the agriculture industry. 

To report suspected human trafficking activity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security encourages the public to contact federal law enforcement. You may call their hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips

Additional Resources: 

Red Sand Project

TDH, Communities Participating In Red Sand Project to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

Farm Labor Report by USDA Economic Research Service

About Human Trafficking by U.S. Department of State 

Human Trafficking in Agriculture by National Human Trafficking Hotline 

NPR: A Human-Trafficking Case Exposed Farmworker Abuses. The Government is Promising Change. 

~ Written by Laura Myhan
~Infographic design by Sydney Grant
Marketing and Communications Interns 2022
Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network

“Bringing the Farm to School” Producer and School Nutrition Gathering

Join us on Friday, July 28, 2023, 8:30am -2:30pm at Cowen Blackberry Pond Farm Special Event Barn on 17 Skyler Lane, Bradford, TN 38316 for a day filled with farm-to-school education and fun!

This in-person event will bring together farmers, school nutrition staff, coordinated school health advocates, and community members to learn about the benefits of bringing fresh, local produce into school meals. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with local farmers, participate in hands-on workshops, work with Chef Cale Meador from the Four Seasons out of Atlanta, GA, and enjoy delicious farm-fresh food.

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to connect with your community and learn about the importance of supporting local agriculture. Register today!

Who is invited?

We are seeking farmers interested in selling their products to schools along with District School Nutrition Directors and 1 School Cafeteria Manager from each school working in Northwest Tennessee are encouraged to attend. We are also extending the invitation to Coordinated School Health Directors and Community Advocates to join the fun!

8:30 – 2:30pm – NWTN School Nutrition Staff

12 – 2:30pm – Farmers

Training Goals:

  1. To connect school nutrition directors with agricultural producers through training and tools to build capacity through the “Bringing the Farm to School” training.
  2. Plan Local Food Taste Tests for the upcoming school year.
  3. Connect local products to schools and how to prepare them.
  4. Increase the sales to schools for farmers while expanding farm to school local food taste test activities for students in schools and communities across the Northwest Tennessee Region.

Activities Include:

  • Northwest Tennessee School Nutrition Directors, Cafeteria Managers and Advocates to train with Four Seasons Chef, Cale Meador. (9:30 – 11:45am)
  • Local Food Taste test training and sampling for all attendees 12 – 1pm
  • Networking with farmers and school nutrition staff (12 – 2:30pm)
  • “Bringing the Farm to School” training overview and resources for farmers & school nutrition staff (1 – 2:30pm)

REGISTRATION IS FREE.

SEATING IS LIMITED.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT AT THE TABLE TODAY!

More about “Bringing the Farm to School Training”

The goal of the “Bringing the Farm to School” program is to provide agricultural producers training and tools to build capacity to launch or grow efforts to market to schools. The training will last from 8:30 – 2:30 pm with a complimentary Local Food Taste Test Menu Lunch.

More about Chef Cale Meador

While catering to NBA teams, such as the Memphis grizzlies, Chef Cale began to understand the importance of accessing all-inclusive nutrition, from the picky eaters, to differences in taste and serving the best food to fuel these athletes.

Spending his summers on the family farm in Gleason, Tennessee and growing up in his Nana’s kitchen, taught him the most about putting care and love into the food one creates.

Chef Cale comes to us from the Four Seasons out of Atlanta, GA. He is excited to be a part this opportunity to teach others how to cultivate a thriving farm to school to plate initiative to benefit the children eating in Northwest Tennessee public schools.

Resources to be provided to participants:

Bringing the Farm to School Producer Training Manual

Local Food Procurement Resources

New School Cuisine: Nutritious seasonal recipes for school cooks by school cooks

This Training is paid for through a USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant and funding provided by the National Farm to School Network.

Win a Chest Freezer with Local Beef

On 10am Saturday, July 1st at the Martin Farmers Market, the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network will announce the #GrowFoodChallenge HARVEST grand prize winner both in person and through their live Facebook feed @NWTNLFN.

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

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is encouraging ALL residents living in Northwest Tennessee to join this year’s #GrowFoodChallenge now through June 29th. Participants must try to grow their own food (whether in the ground or in a pot), and show ways how they are reducing food waste (composting or other means). 

Participants must be residents residing in the following Northwest Tennessee counties: Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, & Weakley Counties. One photo entry per household per challenge theme is allowed. The Photo themes are START. GROW. HARVEST. 

HARVEST photo entries must be submitted by Thursday, June 29th by midnight to be eligible to win the grand prize – a Rural King chest freezer and quarter processed beef from NB Beef Company! Photo entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm by  6/29/23  at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GFC_Harvest23  

“We are excited to see how many people are engaging in our local food system by growing their own food and composting,” stated Samantha Goyret, Executive Director of the NWTN Local Food Network. “We would like to connect local food sources to all, especially our most vulnerable populations. We will be announcing our new Food Relief Guide at the Martin Farmers Market on Saturday, July 1st.”

The Martin Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, July 1st from 8am – 12pm. The special event will feature live music from Alex Sadler from 9-11, a “People’s Choice” Farmers Market Vendor Table Decoration contest, a children’s independence day activity, and a variety of vendors selling locally grown and produced vegetables, fruits, baked goods, jams, honey, and more! 

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network serves as a catalyst for a thriving and equitable local food system that is accessible to ALL. Learn more at nwtnlfn.org/grow-food-challenge.

The Grow Food Challenge is a collaborative project organized by the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network with support from Regional Seed Hub Distribution Partners, the Martin Farmers Market and the Tennessee Environmental Council’s #ComePostYourCompost Program. 

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.