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

It’s Pumpkin Patch Time!

October is Farm-to-School month, and pumpkin season is HERE! This season, visit pumpkin patches all around Northwest Tennessee for the whole family to enjoy while supporting our local farmers and communities!

Check out our list of Northwest Tennessee pumpkin patches…

Donnell Century Farm
3720 Hwy 70 East
Jackson, TN 38305
Get Directions: 3720 Hwy 70 East Jackson, TN 38305 (Spring Creek Community)
(731) 424-4526
Andrew Donnell: Farmer@DonnellCenturyFarm.com
Agri-tourism: Our attractions include a 250 ft. Zipline, an epic Corn Maze, the infamous Candy Cannon, Gemstone Mining, Farm Animals, and so much more. Come one, come all and enjoy the day on the farm!
HOURS: Saturday: 10-6, Sunday: 12-6, Fridays in October: 12-6
Pumpkin & Corn Maze Fall Festival September 30- November 5. Visit their website to purchase tickets (https://donnellcenturyfarm.ticketspice.com/pumpkin-festival-and-corn-maze-23).
Pumpkin Destruction Day Weekend – November 4th and 5th

Fall Fest Family Day at the Obion County Library
1221 E Reelfoot Ave
Union City, TN 38261
October 21st starting at 10am
EVENT: Activities include pumpkin painting, magic shows, and a foam party. A free activity for the entire family!

Dixie Chile Ranch
3159 E. Union Grove Road
Kenton, TN, 38233
Timothy D. Brady & Terri Jenkins-Brady
(731) 225-0456
dixiechileranch@gmail.com
Farm Stand: Freshly locally grown variety of specialty pumpkins (Gourds)
HOURS: Sold on the farm, through our CSA, Business and Home Delivery Service, and Local Farmers Markets.

Future Vision FarmsClay Sheds
3830 Whitlock Road Paris, TN 38242
Tyler Smith
(731) 336-4892
futurevisionsfarms@gmail.com
@futurevisionsfarmstn
Agritourism: pumpkin patch, hayride, barrel train, corn maze, pumpkin painting, food trucks, sunflower field, petting zoo (sundays), slides, swings, games and more!
HOURS: Saturday 10am -5pm, Sunday 1-5pm
Future Vision Farms offer a wide variety of goods and services that can be obtained by wholesale, retail, on-site service, Murray and Martin Farmer’s Markets

Green Acres Farm
158 Medina Highway, Milan, TN 38354
Denton Parkins
(731)- 686-2004
greenacresfarmmilantn@gmail.com
Greenacresmilan.com
Agritourism: Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maze, Zinnia Patch, Pumpkinville and more!
HOURS: Pumpkin Patch, Pumpkinville and Corn Maze opening September 22nd. Sun-up ‘til sun-down until October 31st. Follow Facebook Page for seasonal hour
updates.

Holt Family Farms
357 Woodruff Road Dresden, TN 38225
Andy & Ellie Holt
(731) 364-3459
Ellie Holt (731) 819-2261
email@holtfamilyfarms.com
Pumpkins, Mums, fall décor, jams, eggs, local honey, all-natural bath and body products, goat milk soaps and Hayrides. Open to hosting students and groups for field trips. Also offer Fall Decoration Packages.

Pumpkin Patch includes a petting zoo, hayride, pony rides, barrel train rides and the corn
cannon. Last hayrides, pony, and train rides will leave at 6:30. Open September 30 – October 28
HOURS: Fridays 1 – 7pm, Saturdays 10am – 7pm

Nanney Pumpkin Patch
1767 Sharon Road, Sharon, TN 38255
Cody Nanney
(731) 514-2431
nanneyfarmspumpkinpatch@gmail.com
Agri-Tourism: Pumpkins, Mums, Cornstalks, Straw, Hayrides (last ride leaves at 5:30pm)
HOURS: Monday-Friday: 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday: 10am – 6pm, Sunday: 1 pm – 6 pm
Pumpkin Patch will be open on September 30th
October 14th food truck, pumpkin painting event day

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch
420 Little Road Martin, TN 38237
Mark Baker (Pa)
(731) 514-9103
Agri-Tourism: locally grown pumpkins, gourds, mums,
straw, & corn stalks, playground.
HOURS: 7am-8pm, 7 days a week, until sold-out

Parham’s Pumpkins
1250 Jewell Store Rd. , Dresden, TN, 38225
(731) 514-1180 parhampumpkins@outlook.com
Agri-tourism: Pumpkins, Mums and U-Pick Flowers, Family photos
HOURS: Monday – Sunday, Sunrise to Sunset

The Pumpkin Barn, LLC
2557 S. Bluff Road, Obion, TN 38240
Alan Shirley
(731) 442-0644
alanshirley49@yahoo.com
Agri-tourism: Hay Bales, Pumpkins, a Petting Zoo, a playground, and inflatables
HOURS: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 6 pm

Todd Family Fun Farm
101 Tom Austin Road, Yorkville, TN 38330
James and Martha Todd
Barn: (731) 643-6720
Martha Todd: (731) 234-1568?
toddfunfarm@wk.net
Toddfunfarm.com
Agri-tourism: Corn maze, hayrides, pig races, gemstone mining and geocaching.
HOURS: Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm, Sunday: 1:30 pm – 5 pm

Post your family fun pumpkin patch photos using this hashtag: #GetItLocal

#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.

“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.

Farmers Input Needed: Act NOW!

TN Farmers Act Now. The LFN is seeking Tennessee farmers to take this very important survey by April 15, 2023! This voluntary survey will take about 10 minutes to complete and asks about your general views and input to help develop more Farm to School connections across the State of Tennessee. Those who complete the survey will be entered to win a free Local Food Network t-shirt and a variety of seeds.

The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network (LFN) is a 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 Tennessee. The LFN has been partnering with school districts to develop thriving and equitable Farm to School initiatives in Tennessee Schools.

The LFN researches & develops tailored, economically sustainable solutions for schools, farmers & ranchers to avoid duplication & drive meaningful change. We do this through collaboration, coordination, and increased connections between local food sources and consumers.

Some programs the Local Food Network offers regionally is the creation of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Guide Magazine, Farm to School programming development and support, Local Food Procurement resources, and marketing of Northwest Tennessee Farmers Markets and their vendors products. Although we are regionally based, our network aims to connect farmers listed on the Pick TN Product website and NWTN Local Food Guide in-print magazine with schools across the state of Tennessee.

Through shared knowledge and collaboration, the LFN will mobilize data and research to increase access to information in ways never before possible in Tennessee agriculture. Findings will be incorporated into the new Tennessee Local Food Procurement Manual and apply for grants to support farmers collaborating with the LFN Farm to School programming in Tennessee.

Take the survey here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/tnf2sfarmers2023

Take the Farm to School Farmers Survey HERE.

Get it Local! Registration opens for Local Food Guide

We invite YOU to fill out our FREE registration form by March 31, 2023 to be included in this year’s Northwest Tennessee Local Food Guide Magazine.

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. 

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

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? Are you interested in providing fresh local food to our county schools? Would you like to support your local food system? 

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).

“We distribute Local Food Guides at conferences and 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, Executive Director of the NWTN Local Food Network at (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.” 

Register for your free listing today!

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 2023 NWTN Local Food Guide will be distributed throughout the 9-county region of Northwest Tennessee in late Spring. Registration is due by March 31, 2023.