Our program in East TN is very focused on training families in market gardening this year. Our participants have very different levels of gardening experience and some are looking at a longer learning curve while some are already making their first deliveries to our local year round indoor farmers market.
The Sheek family is making deliveries of fresh greens like bok choi and kale:
The Alternative High School gardeners had a number of plants overwinter and they are making deliveries of cilantro, rosemary, sage and kale. (The photo of the garden is a little old, showing what survived the winter. There aren’t any empty beds now!)
We are having a marketing meeting on Saturday where we are going to talk about best practices for delivering produce to market and to also design a label that can be used by everyone to distinguish their produce on the market’s shelves. We are very lucky here to have a year round, indoor market that is open six days a week. We just have to package our stuff up and bring it to them to sell on consignment. The producers are able to set their own prices and the non-profit market just takes a 20% cut. Prices are a little higher than what you find at a big box grocery store, but since the market opened last October, they’ve far exceeded their sales goals each month. It seems there is a large and growing demand for local food here in East TN and we are more than happy to help our families capture some of this money!