It has been a fun, hard-working, educational and expensive summer. Our tractor spent the latter part of the summer in the hospital having transmission surgery, but I am happy to report it has made a full recovery!
Here are some of the activities from the garden this summer:
Mr. Groundhog has kept us on our toes trying to keep him out of the garden. We sought advice from local experts, but to no avail. We resorted to mixing concrete and filling holes to keep the groundhog from digging and getting under the fence and eating the sweet potatoes.
After three weeks of no tunnels under the fence, we thought we were triumphant. However, when we were removing sweet potato vines on Sept. 18, there was a tunnel right in the middle of the sweet potato patch. We tried to find where the tunnel led, but so far, we have not found the light at the end of the tunnel! We have researched, and by trial and error, we have concocted our own garden “recipe” to help fight garden disease and insects. (Hint: Save some of your aspirin and baking soda). Groundhog remedies will continue over the winter.
Thanks to gardening efforts from community friends and volunteers from Feed Fannin and Ada Street Farm, Research Garden, Faith Presbyterian Forge Mill Garden, and Cherry Log Christian Church garden, Feed Fannin has been able to provide locally grown, fresh produce to Family Connection Food Pantry all summer.
What did we grow this year?
- Our highest tomato harvest ever of 1,828 lbs.
- A phenomenal record sweet potato harvest of 4,7244 lbs. (yes, more than 2 tons!)
- Corn, potatoes, green beans, squash, peppers, okra, cucumbers, and apples were also donated for a grand total of more than 9,000 lbs. to the food pantry!
Other Garden Accomplishments
- We have worked hard to uproot the weeds all summer long.
- The removal of decking and the repurposing of an old lawn mower into a farm utility vehicle, with a utility cart hitched to the lawnmower. It worked great moving boxes of potatoes out of the garden.
- Feed Fannin was the recipient of a grant for the purchase of farm equipment. The utility trailer and some other small farm equipment were purchased.
- A composting barrel and a new wheelbarrow were donated by volunteers and put into action. To celebrate not just a bountiful garden year, but also our successful 2019 Bowls of Hope fundraiser, and all the efforts of the Feed Fannin volunteers this year and during our 10 years of growing and giving to the community, a Harvest Celebration potluck dinner was held at the farm on Oct. 4 for volunteers and supporters.
Thank you especially to the “dirty dozen” — those garden volunteers who faithfully braved the heat, humidity, drought and dirt, weeding and vine trimming throughout the summer. Thank you to those who persevered with a great attitude and spirit. You are an extraordinary group of friends. I am extremely grateful to the groundskeepers who are passionate in keeping the property looking beautiful. Thank you for your hard work and support this year.
A special thank you to the Fannin County Board of Education which allows Feed Fannin to use their property for our farm. Appreciation is also extended to the more than 35 Future Farmers of America students and their leaders who came to the farm and participated in our sweet potato harvest. You helped us in a tremendous way!
So, to all volunteers and groundskeepers, and Feed Fannin supporters. I salute you! Well done! You are the heart of Feed Fannin and the reason our farm is not only successful, but beautiful.
It has indeed been a busy and fun summer, but the time has come for green bean trellises to come down, tomato cages to be put away, corn stalks to be cut, water hoses and bags of concrete to be stored, soil tests to be done, ground tilled and a winter crop planted to enrich our soil for next year’s garden. Winter will bring a few garden projects, but most volunteer hours from now on will be spent preparing for the 2020 Bowls of Hope fundraiser, to be held 12-3 pm on March 28, 2020 at Willow Creek Falls. (Save the date here.)
Anyone can support Feed Fannin. You don’t have to be a trained gardener, or farmer, carpenter, computer geek, editor, educator, engineer, entrepreneur, event planner, financial wizard, fundraiser, kitchen manager, marketing professional, mechanic, potter or publicist.
But I have to say, many of our volunteers have had careers with these skills, and are now putting them to use as volunteers within our organization. All are needed and necessary for our success, and many are skills I have learned, used, or become familiar with in the past six years of being a Feed Fannin garden volunteer. Why not come join all the fun — and work — as together we practice our motto of “one community, one spirit” and help provide food for those in need.
Get Involved with Feed Fannin
I hope as you have read about the challenges and accomplishments that are possible when
committed individuals work together on a mission that you are now thinking that you would like to become involved with Feed Fannin. We are an all-volunteer organization and can use your time, skills and your financial support. Opportunities are available on the farm. We work hard but have fun, and together we learn a lot from each other, but also learn to deal with what nature and the elements present.
Submitted by Kathy Beck, Farm/Garden Coordinator