Feed Fannin Celebrating Its 15th Anniversary

By Kathy Beck, Farm & Facilities Manager and Vice Chair of Ag Education

The year 2024 marks my 10th year of volunteer service at the Feed Fannin Farm and work in the garden. It is also the year that Feed Fannin celebrates its 15th anniversary as an all-volunteer, non-profit organization committed to helping feed the hungry in our community. A lot has happened in 15 years, and we are blessed to have continued support from the community and donors as we have grown the organization. Our commitment on this anniversary year is to continue to extend and expand our outreach programs in the community.

Looking back on the past 10 years of life on the farm, I am reminded of all the garden volunteers who have come my way, and that I have been privileged to meet and teach a few farm skills, and also the adventures we have all experienced working and learning together.

Some volunteers put in time in the early days of getting gardening established in Feed Fannin’s organization before I came, but are no longer active in the organization due to various reasons. Some volunteers were only active for a season but came just at the time they were needed to fill a void that someone else had left. Farming is hard work, and I have learned that it is not for everyone. There are also the farm volunteers who have endured the test of time and have worked 1-10 years and a rare few who have volunteered in excess of 10 years.

Some volunteers assist with sowing, weeding and harvesting; a few as groundskeepers or a few who help with equipment maintenance or special projects. There are only a handful of about 15 people who actively work in these farm positions. I have spoken to a few potential new volunteers in the past weeks who may join in the fun and work of life at the farm.

I would be remiss not to mention gratitude to the friends and supporters such as Six Ponds Farm owner, Dr. Gilda Lyon and Father Louis Guerin as well as Quinn’s Nursery who over the years who have grown and provided plant starts and donated them to Feed Fannin. We have had several groups such as Faith Garden at Faith Presbyterian Church and other individuals who plant a garden or grew a row at home and donated produce to be distributed at the food pantry.

Others have donated tools, equipment or time and skills. A new friend of Feed Fannin recently donated funds specifically to allow for the purchase of a new tiller. It will come in handy as our old one has given its life over the past 12 years.

It does take a village and the support of the community to keep our all-volunteer organization going and growing.

Recently a few preliminary projects have started to get the garden ready for planting. It is mid- May as I write this article and planting is just beginning. By the time you read this, planting should be complete.

This year we will not plant sweet potatoes to give the soil a rest. We will plant pole beans which we have not planted for several years because of a beetle problem we had. We hope to have bountiful crops of tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash, cucumbers, corn, okra, green beans, peppers, eggplant, cantaloupes, and herbs.

The farm has 22 raised beds that are available to rent by members of the community, and they are all under contract for the year.

It’s been a busy Spring! I attended the Blessing of the Farms breakfast event held at Mercier’s Orchards and awards banquets for FFA middle and high school students where Feed Fannin was recognized as a sponsor and supporter; participated in two elementary school ag educational field days at Six Ponds Farm along with two other Feed Fannin volunteers where we taught almost 150 students from West Fannin and Blue Ridge elementary schools how to make biodegradable origami pots from newsprint. Each student made two pots and put vegetable plants in them to take home and grow.


>> Click here to view our Spring 2024 newsletter online (PDF)