Farewell and Godspeed to the industrious and inspiring founder of our organization, Barbara Ferer, who is moving to Atlanta this summer! Barbara founded Feed Fannin to bring the community together to help others by providing them with the means to grow their own food. She also envisioned the organization’s members using the abundance produced by their own communal gardening efforts to help feed the hungry.
In Barbara’s own words:
Twenty years ago, as a newlywed couple, Del Woods and I moved to the North Georgia mountains. Our dream was to build an underground dome home. When that was completed, 10 years later another dream literally came true, beginning with a dream in which the words “Feed Fannin” kept showing up.
Linda Mahan, then director of Family Connection, and our county extension agent, Eddie Ayers, nurtured the concept of feeding Fannin County. Nathan Fitts invited us to hold our first meeting at the Comfort Inn, and on Jan. 29, 2009, 30 people answered the call to feed those in need fresh vegetables! On that day, Feed Fannin became a reality.
Linda gave us a place to gather regularly (Family Connection), Doug Davenport gave us a cause (the Food Pantry), and Tom Bartholf found us our first garden property (Dan Davenport’s lumberyard). And you answered the call— organic gardening, which feeds more than those in need; it feeds our souls.
Like a magnet, Feed Fannin pulled, pushed, cajoled and gathered an incredible, diverse, talented, giving, loving, and lovable family — truly one community and one spirit. We worked, digging our hearts into our Mother Earth. We continued to gather like-hearted folks from our neighbors, thanks to the words and photos of Cynthia Maude (The News-Observer) and Elaine Owens (The Fannin Sentinel). Then, we dug into the county’s needs with programs for the children (Kate and Walt George’s Cool Kids Garden Club) and classes for the general public on topics dealing with gardens and food. And then, there was our special love, the Family Connection Food Pantry, thanks to Connie Galloway’s compassionate dream. Our leadership is a democratic wonder. “If you come up with an idea, it sticks to you,” making everyone committed to our dream. When I could no longer devote as much time to Feed Fannin during Del’s departing time, Jane Kimzey, my Coco, led us. Connie Galloway led us to “the farm” (the Ada Street property). Bob Seeger took his turn, too, and most recently, Catherine Sugg has stepped up to the plate.
So, what is it like to leave you and Feed Fannin? I will be processing the grief that is the partner of change for the rest of my life. There are words, but I don’t possess them, to tell you of my love for you and how you will be missed. Borrowing from an old camp song, all I can say is, “The joy I’ve had in knowing you will last my whole life through.”
You are loved,
Help us say goodbye and best wishes to Barbara Ferer by attending a potluck dinner in her honor 6-8 pm on Thursday, June 21, at the Ada Street farmhouse (762 Ada Street, Blue Ridge). Bring a dish and prepare to enjoy good music, good food and good fun. We invite you to bring a card or note for Barbara’s scrapbook.
Also, Feed Fannin will honor her with the purchase of a garden arch and bench for the Ada Street property. If you would like to contribute to this purchase, please make a donation either online at FeedFannin.com or by mailing it to Feed Fannin at P.O. Box 1088, Blue Ridge, GA 30513. Please indicate that the donation is for Barbara.