BLUE RIDGE WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE COMES TO BLOWING ROCK
Judith Phoenix, pictured here, the Board Chair of the BRWIA, was one of the three speaker’s at Rotary’s Luncheon meeting last Monday.. Before her retirement she worked at Appalachian Regional Medical Center in Home Health and Dialysis and was an adjunct instructor in social work at ASU. Very active in other community affairs, she devotes much of her time to promoting women’s involvement in agriculture. She does not herself own a farm but is passionate about this organization, which is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.
Agriculture’s CRAFT program. CRAFT stands for Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training and cultivates meaningful mentor relationships between aspiring and experienced farmers. Dave previously worked as the Program Manager and Grant Writer of High Country Local First’s entrepreneurship program, Ascent Business Network. He holds a MA in Appalachian Studies and Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences from Appalachian State University and a BA in American Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South. Dave’s Masters Thesis concerned how first-generation farmers become successful in Blue Ridge Appalachia, and counts himself amongst them as he launched his farm, Daffodil Spring Farm, in the spring of 2017. When asked about organic food production Dave said the challenges imposed by FDA and other regulatory agencies are enormous. Records must be kept and maintained on a daily basis; where grown, what type of soil and many of other requirements that are necessary, but burdensome for small farming operation. Another challenge is the aging out of farmers. As farmers grow older, they are not often replaced by willing offspring who elect to use their education and talents in a more lucrative endeavor.
Shannon Carroll has 30+ years of experience providing leadership and support for instructional technology for Watauga County Schools. She is currently dividing her time among 3 positions – being the High Country Food Hub Coordinator, the Lettuce Learn garden coordinator for Parkway School, and helping her husband, Terry, with his SunCatcher Passive Solar Greenhouse business. She also recently earned her Master Gardener certification.
Shannon explained that farmers in our region have limited space to store their crops or products and need boxes in which to put items they produce .
One of the solutions is the “HIGH COUNTRY FOOD HUB” , where they can share freezer, cooler and root crop storage space. They can, through a cooperative effort, order in bulk, certain needs that would be cost prohibitive on an individual basis. The High Country’s Food Hub Online Marketplace which went live just recently, April 7th, hopes to be another avenue to farmers getting their products out to consumers in a wide area of the High Country.. There are over 200 products available online. Shannon encouraged Rotarian’s in attendance to “get involved!” You have a series of ways to get involved: By attending a workshop, visiting the Ashe or Watauga Seed Library, supporting their “double bucks” program, joining the 11th annual farm tour, shopping the hub , and of course, becoming a member.
To learn more about his program go to brwia.org and to go to the Online Marketplace go to foodhub.brwia.org on the internet.
WINTERFEST PROCEEDS SHARED WITH ROTARY’S C.A.R.T. FUND
Charles Hardin, CEO, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and member of our club, presented a check for $1,500 to President Ray Pickett, from proceeds of the 2017 Winterfest. The money will be added to the C.A.R.T. fund. Also donated was a check by Bill Leahey, Treasurer, from C.A.R.T. bucket donations this year.
IN THE NEWS!
On April 3rd the Neurosurgical Society of America, presented David Kline a Gold Medal for his service. Again on April 10th, David was the Conley Lecturer in New Orleans. Congratulations David!
HORSE RACE ENTERS THE SECOND TURN. OUT FRONT BY SEVERAL LENGTHS IS MIKE PACE’S TEAM!
Jim Clabough, Chair of the Horse Show Contest, said that new member Mike Pace’s team is way ahead in the race and that this year’s effort is ahead of last year’s pace. (No pun intended)
MARCH STUDENT OF THE MONTH WRITES THANK YOU LETTER TO CLUB
Abe Bachman, March, 2017, Student of the Month, wrote this letter of thanks to the club for honoring him with his award. We received the letter just before our meeting April 17. The print is a little small so we’ve reprinted it verbatim below:
“Dear Rotarian Club of Blowing Rock. This is Abe Bachman, the student of the month for March. I would like to thank you for lunch and having me as company. I would also like to thank you for the $25 gift card to Staples. I have used that money to buy two very nice pencles in wich I am using to write this letter. I know you may be receive this letter a while after I received my reward but I would like to show my gratitude. Sincerely – Abe Bachman.”