Tennessee’s Oldest Town Brings Foodies and Agriculturalists Together, Part 1

| 1/1/2017 4:55:00 PM

Tags: food policy, farm to table, local food, farmers markets, Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Office of Sustainable Practices,

Jonesborough Farmers Market Tennessee

Street view of the Jonesborough Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Karen Childress and staff

Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough, is nestled in the northeast corner of Tennessee. Founded in 1779, the small vibrant town with a population of around 6,000 is commonly known for its National Storytelling Festival. In recent years however, Jonesborough is being recognized for local food initiatives which have enhanced the local economy, conserved natural resources, and provided learning opportunities to residents. Some of these initiatives include creating a farmers market, hosting farm to table dinners, and developing a store that also doubles as an educational classroom.

Though Jonesborough is small in size, the number and variety of farms, along with small specialty businesses drove the need for a facility where vendors could congregate to sell their products.

The initial groundwork for the Jonesborough Farmers Market was laid by farmer Heather Halsey, Curtis Buchanan, Karen Childress & Melinda Copp in 2007. Through a fundraiser organized by Childress and a $750 seed donation, the group was able to bring the Jonesborough Farmers Market to fruition.

As for Childress’ motivation for getting the Jonesborough Farmers Market started, she said, “A new farmer started selling her produce in our neighborhood, and my neighbors and I started talking about the potential for a market in Jonesborough. We were all interested in a true producer-only market, as there was not one in the area. We believed we had the community support to pull this off, and we took it from there!”

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