“Approach local farmers and ask if you can work a share,” she suggests. This might include offering not only to do work on the farm, but working at the farmers’ market booths, making a delivery, bookkeeping, updating a website, writing a blog, hauling trash, sewing, cleaning or even doing laundry. “See if you can take a farmer’s seconds, and go on the halves with them with canning,” she continues. Going “on the halves” -- splitting the goods for doing part of the work -- is an idea that has been around for a long time. I’ve known folks to go “on the halves” with entire fields of crops in order to get them in and saved from ruin.
“Everybody eats, and it matters to everybody.” --Elizabeth Malayter
“Buy products in bulk seasonally and divide them among friends,” Elizabeth suggests. “Ask if you can get a discount for buying in bulk.” Elizabeth notes that eating locally is a lifestyle that does take time, organization, and commitment, and that “the way people are looking at local food and health is changing. People’s values are changing.” It is apparent that Elizabeth is very passionate about raising quality, local food, and sharing it with as many in the community as possible. “Everybody eats, and it matters to everybody. Local purchasing also keeps money in the local economy,” she says. Her “absolute fantasy” would be to have a program where a truck would pick up produce from farmers all over, including ones who don’t have a way to a local market, and deliver to various places around town to sell and then take whatever is left over to be sold at a discount or given to the needy. That’s the thing about a farmer…they are always looking out for others. Alright now, go get to know a farmer. This is Anderson County, and as long as there are caring, giving, nurturing hearts, and a bit of dirt, you can always find a farmer. And if you’re feeling ambitious, it’s not too late to go out and plant a garden.
So God Made a Farmer (excerpt) by Paul Harvey
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer. So begins Paul Harvey’s well known speech. “I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it.” So God made a farmer. God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets”… so God made a farmer. God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’” So God made a farmer.
About the author: Paula Johnson, the creator of Knoxville Food Tours, has made herself an expert in Knoxville history, haute cuisine, hole in the wall eateries, and hidden culinary hot spots. Since 2010, Paula has led over 400 Food Tours, hosting over 4,000 guests. An East Tennessee native, she is active in preserving the history of this area as a member of the East Tennessee Historical Society, the historic preservation group Knox Heritage, and the Museum of Appalachia. For more about Paula, visit knoxvillefoodtours.com.
Photo courtesy of JEM Farm