News Release
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Georgia Farmers Market Association to Present a Q&A with Jon Jackson, Veteran, Farmer, and Comfort Farms Founder at the Celebration of Local Farmers and Food Producers

Locally produced food, prepared by local chefs will be featured On December 1, 2017
at the event hosted by the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning and the
Georgia Farmers Market Association

November 13, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia: Upon arrival, attendees will sample cocktails and local food. As they mingle among the artwork of Elizabeth Catlett, including her famous piece, “Sharecropper," they’ll hear music by local food producer and soul singer, Aja Ray. Rohit Malhotra, Executive Director and Founder of Atlanta's Center for Civic Innovation, will be the master of ceremonies and interview Jon Jackson about his military history, the program at Comfort Farms, and his passion for helping other veterans recover through Agrotherapy.

Roasted pork from heritage hogs, raised by Jackson and his team at Comfort Farms will be part of the menu of locally sourced food, along with delicious vegetarian and vegan small bites, local beer and cocktails served by local chefs.

Jackson, an Army veteran, served six deployments and fought with the Rangers in Afghanistan. He himself suffered a traumatic brain injury before returning to his own farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he began to heal. He founded the nonprofit, STAG Vets, a veterans acute crisis program which includes the healing farm for veterans, Comfort Farms.

This event is designed to acknowledge, celebrate and raise awareness of the important work of local farmers and producers. Proceeds will fund Georgia Farmers Market Association programs that strengthen farmers markets and support local producers. These programs impact individuals and entire communities by helping to grow healthier food systems and improving equitable food access.

The celebration will feature local food and beverages prepared by local chefs including:

Roasted pork from heritage hogs, raised on Comfort Farms
Prepared by Hector Santiago of El Super Pan Latino Sandwiches & Bar

Matthew Raiford- Strong Roots Provisions

Hilary White- Bistro Hilary

Jenn Robbins- Good Food Kitchen

Nick Leahy- Saltyard

Woolery Back- Table & Main | a southern tavern

Monday Night Brewing

 Signature kombucha and shrub cocktails crafted by Sage's Larder

Independent Distilling Co , LLC. spirits

The 2018 Farmer Fund Calendar will be released at this celebration.

Founded in 2015, The Farmer Fund produces an annual calendar that celebrates Georgia farmers to raise funds that help keep them farming through natural disasters. Jon Jackson and Matthew Raiford, chef and farmer of The Farmer and the Larder, appear on the cover of the 2018 calendar.

“Such beautiful and relevant art, delicious food, and wonderful people will make this a spectacular and memorable event,” said Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director, Georgia Farmers Market Association. “We can’t wait to join these chefs, food producers and local food advocates to recognize the importance of their work. What could be better than celebrating those who feed Georgia?”

Tickets

Ticket sales for the Celebration of Local Farmers and Food Producers are open to the public and may be purchased through the Georgia Farmers Market Association. Tickets are $60 for association members and $70 for non-members. www.eventbrite.com/e/celebration-of-farmers-and-local-producers-tickets-39550878743

About the Food for Thought Conference

Additional information about the Food for Thought Conference, links to register and purchase tickets for the Celebration of Local Food Producers can be found on the GFMA website www.mygeorgiamarket.org/food-for-thought-conference-2017. 

About Comfort Farms - STAG VETS INC

STAG VETS INC created the nations first Acute Veterans Crisis Agriculture center named (Comfort Farms), named in Honor of Army Ranger Captain Kyle A. Comfort, (KIA, May 8, 2010). Its location currently prepares veterans and students for careers in sustainable food production that integrates economic profitability, environmental stewardship, and healing through the use of Agri-therapy and time-tested natural approaches.

The facility will also serve veterans in acute situations where time and help are of the essence. Featuring a short-term stay lodge that can provide rooms for up to two veterans or one family Comfort Farms is building the resources to offer shelter and therapy that allows veterans to regain strength and re-boot for everyday life and a fulfilling future.

About the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning

The Hudgens Center for Art & Learning is a non-profit organization that has been focused on the arts since its establishment in 1981. The Hudgens’ mission is to bring art lovers, leaders and learners together through quality programs and exhibits. That mission is accomplished through visual arts initiatives, such as year round fine art exhibits and classes for all ages, and community arts initiatives, which reach out to underserved populations.

The Hudgens Center for the Arts is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Bldg. 300, in Duluth, in the Infinite Energy Center complex. For more information about art exhibitions, events and classes at The Hudgens, please visit the website at www.thehudgens.org or call 770-623-6002.

About the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA)

GFMA is an association of farmers markets, producers and farmers, community organizations, and local food advocates. Members believe that farmers markets can be vital community building, economy bolstering organizations that grow local, healthy food systems and improve equitable food access. The association hosts the annual Food for Thought Conference and works to promote and support community-based farmers markets through its membership, consulting and education programs.

Contact Georgia Farmers Market Association: [email protected]

 

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Farmer, Ken Dawson will Deliver Keynote Speech at the
Georgia Farmers Market Association Food for Thought Conference

General Manager of Maple Spring Gardens, Dawson has been farming organically, selling through farmers markets for 35 Years, and through a CSA for 14 years.

October 23, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia:  The Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA) announced today that Ken Dawson will deliver the keynote address on November 30 during its Food for Thought Conference, which will take place at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA.

Ken began growing vegetables by organic methods in 1972 and began farming full time in 1984. Maple Spring Gardens is a family owned and operated farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ken, his daughter, Sunshine, a farm manager, and 6 to 8 seasonal workers produce nearly 80 varieties of vegetables as well as medicinal and culinary herbs, and small fruits on their 79-acre farm. They sold organically grown produce wholesale for about 20 years. Though no longer certified organic, the farmers at Maple Spring Gardens are still committed to growing organically and 95% of their sales are direct to consumers through their own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and 2 area farmers markets.

“We feel strongly about engaging and building relationships with our customers and our community. As farmers, we should be doing more than making a living,” Ken said. “We must improve upon the land that supports us, teach younger growers to do the same, and feed the community in which we live.”

Ken has been selling at farmers markets and serving on boards of directors and in leadership roles for these markets over 30 years. He will share his expertise at the conference including specific tips and examples of marketing techniques for selling at farmers markets.

“Ken Dawson gets it - he understands the vital relationships between farmers, markets, and communities,” said Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director, Georgia Farmers Market Association. “We are delighted that he has agreed to speak at our conference. His observations and advice are very relevant for farmers, market managers, homesteaders and local food advocates.”

 About Maple Spring Gardens, http://www.maplespringgardens.com

Maple Spring Gardens is a family owned and operated farm, comprised of 3 contiguous tracts of land, totaling 79 acres in northwestern Orange County, North Carolina, near Chapel Hill. Through the use of organic soil building practices such as composting and cover cropping, Ken Dawson and his family and staff have transformed abused, neglected, and worn out tobacco land into a fertile, productive farm. Maple Springs Gardens has been a sustainable, successful business for more than 30 years. Today, the family sells most of their produce through their own CSA and 2 area markets; the Carrboro Farmers Market and Durham Farmers Market.

About the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA), www.mygeorgiamarket.org

GFMA is an association of farmers markets, producers and farmers, community organizations, and local food advocates. Members believe that farmers markets can be vital community building, economy bolstering organizations that grow local, healthy food systems and improve equitable food access. The association hosts the annual Food for Thought Conference and works to promote and support community-based farmers markets through its membership, consulting and education programs.

About the Food for Thought Conference
November 30 and December 1, 2017 at Gwinnett Technical College

Early Bird Conference Registration is Open Now, Learn more and Register at www.mygeorgiamarket.org/food-for-thought-conference-2017

CONTACT:

Laurie Wakefield
[email protected]

 

 

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Hudgens Center for Art and Learning Partners with

Georgia Farmers Market Association

To Host a Celebration of Local Farmers and Food Producers

A new Addition to the Food for Thought Conference, the
Fundraising Reception will be held December 1, 2017

October 24, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia: The Hudgens Center for Art and Learning and the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA) announced plans to host a reception celebrating local farmers and food producers. The event will take place at the Hudgens Center following the GFMA Food for Thought Conference, which will take place at Gwinnett Technical College on November 30 and December 1, 2017

The Celebration of Local Farmers and Food Producers will be open to the public, tickets may be purchased on the GFMA website. Participants will mingle in the Hudgens galleries among the work of renowned artist, Elizabeth Catlett and enjoy cocktails and delicious samples of local food, prepared by local chefs.

“We have been working to build more robust partnerships with community non-profits, said
Ife Williams, Executive Director of the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning. “We are delighted to partner with the Georgia Farmers Market Association for an event to celebrate local farmers and food producers, who represent such a vital part of our history and communities today. The timing of the Elizabeth Catlett Exhibit along with the Food for Thought Conference makes this a natural fit.”

Catlett was a graphic artist and sculpture, born in Washington D.C. to parents who were educators and she is the granddaughter of freed slaves. She was celebrated for her prints and sculptures in which she expressed her civic and social interests, particularly the Civil Rights movement. Her intent was to convey social messages rather than pure aesthetics and she dedicated much of her work to improving the lives of African-American and Mexican women. Sharecropper (1952), a print that compassionately conveyed her concerns, will be among her work on display at the Hudgens Museum.

The Georgia Farmers Market Association is dedicated to strengthening connections between local farmers, producers and farmers markets. The organization works to help them maintain sustainable businesses, engage their communities, and improve local food systems. Its Food for Thought Conference brings market managers, farmers, municipalities, agricultural businesses, educators, healthcare professionals, food advocates and local food enthusiasts together to share their experience, knowledge and passion for healthy food, strong communities and food sovereignty. This fundraising celebration of Local Food Producers will help fuel the work of the association year-round.

We had been looking for the right venue to add a special evening event to our Food for Thought Conference,” said Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director, Georgia Farmers Market Association. “After touring the beautiful Hudgens Center for Art and Learning and hearing about the Elizabeth Catlett Exhibition we were thrilled when they agreed to partner with us for this reception.”

 About the Food for Thought Conference

Additional information about the Food for Thought Conference, links to register and purchase tickets for the Celebration of Local Food Producers can be found on the GFMA website www.mygeorgiamarket.org/food-for-thought-conference-2017.

About the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning

The Hudgens Center for Art & Learning is a non-profit organization that has been focused on the arts since its establishment in 1981. The Hudgens’ mission is to bring art lovers, leaders and learners together through quality programs and exhibits. That mission is accomplished through visual arts initiatives, such as year round fine art exhibits and classes for all ages, and community arts initiatives, which reach out to underserved populations.

The Hudgens Center for the Arts is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Bldg. 300, in Duluth, in the Infinite Energy Center complex. For more information about art exhibitions, events and classes at The Hudgens, please visit the website at www.thehudgens.org or call 770-623-6002.

About the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA)

GFMA is an association of farmers markets, producers and farmers, community organizations, and local food advocates. Members believe that farmers markets can be vital community building, economy bolstering organizations that grow local, healthy food systems and improve equitable food access. The association hosts the annual Food for Thought Conference and works to promote and support community-based farmers markets through its membership, consulting and education programs.

Contact Georgia Farmers Market Association: [email protected]

Food For Thought Conference Update from the Executive Director
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My work with the Georgia Farmers Market Association currently dovetails quite nicely with my personal values and passions. However, I still refer to myself as an accidental homesteader… living sustainably minded wasn’t something I considered until relatively recently.

I was introduced to Leni Sorensen this time last year. At first, it was distant admiration. I did what any food and community lover would do… I googled her. Whoa! On my screen was a person whose work and family life spoke directly to me; not only as a good food advocate but also as a mother and wife.  I decided in that moment that we needed Leni to come to share her well honed knowledge with us here in Georgia.  I am beyond excited (and humbly appreciative) to announce that she has graciously agreed to step away from her homestead, Indigo House, and join us as a keynote speaker at the 2017 Food For Thought Conference.

Leni has a strong and consistent presence in all the spaces you’d expect to find someone of her caliber: Mother Earth News, Southern Food Ways Alliance,  Blogtalk Radio, and Southern Kitchen have all managed to capture some of the magic this Culinary Historian and fierce Mother of all the things brings to the world. What I learned in our first conversation is that Leni is best experienced first hand. That phone call left me full; like I imagine one of her famous (completely homemade) BLT sandwiches would.  It was part lecture, part elder wisdom and part girlfriend catch up… nevermind the fact we had never met.

Feeling like I haven’t really told you a whole lot about Leni? That isn’t an accident. I will tell you that her talk will focus on her homesteading and farming philosophy. As she sees it,  Home Provisioning, (with farms and farmers markets playing essential roles) is key to creating truly self sustaining communities.  

The Food For Thought Conference is shaping up to be even bigger and better than last year and Leni is a big part of that. You need to come experience it yourself.

See you November 30,

Sagdrina

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Georgia Farmers Market Association Announces

Dr. Leni Sorensen Will Deliver Keynote Speech at its

Food for Thought Conference

Dr. Sorensen is a Culinary Historian, Teacher, Consultant and Writer

October 23, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia:  The Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA) announced today that Dr. Leni Sorensen will deliver the keynote address on December 1 during its Food for Thought Conference, which will take place at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA.

Dr. Sorensen earned her BA in history at Mary Baldwin College and her MA/PhD in American Studies at The College of William and Mary. In addition to her early musical interests, she has farmed, raised a family, and worked for over thirty years as a university lecturer, museum consultant, hands-on presenter and researcher with a focus on African American slavery, American agriculture, and women’s work in colonial and post-colonial America. Retired from six years as the African American Research Historian at Monticello, Leni now continues to lecture, consult and write on issues of food history and teaches home provisioning and rural life skills from her home, near Charlottesville, Virginia, in Western Albemarle County. She is currently working on a project to cook all the recipes in The Virginia House-Wife, by Mrs. Mary Randolph (published in 1824); documenting the project via digital and online media.

“I want to help people connect our cultural past and future - food is cultural,” said Leni.
“I enjoy teaching about food and home provisioning. If I have a philosophy, it’s to pass on the stuff I know.”

Today, Leni writes on her website (www.indigohouse.us), lectures and teaches home provisioning and rural life skills. She hosts historical dinners and teaches a variety of classes from her home and farm, near Charlottesville, Virginia. She has written several books, which will be available at the conference, including:

The Gen-Xers, Millennials & Hipster Guide: 6 Basic Things to Know About
Sharing a Kitchen with Housemates
(with recipes)

and

Through the Seasons with Mary Randolph
(historic recipes and notes)

We are thrilled to share Leni’s enthusiasm and inspiration with our Georgia friends, communities, and supporters,” said Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director, Georgia Farmers Market Association. “She is full of life, brimming over with information, and delightfully engaging.”

About Dr. Leni Sorensen, www.indigohouse.us

Dr. Leni Sorensen is a food historian, teacher, consultant, lecturer and writer. She farms, processes chickens, prepares meat, and provisions her home, Indigo House, near Charlottesville, Virginia. She explores recipes and shares her experiences through her blog, www.cookingmaryrandolph.com

About the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA), www.mygeorgiamarket.org

GFMA is an association of farmers markets, producers and farmers, community organizations, and local food advocates. Members believe that farmers markets can be vital community building, economy bolstering organizations that grow local, healthy food systems and improve equitable food access. The association hosts the annual Food for Thought Conference and works to promote and support community-based farmers markets through its membership, consulting and education programs.

About the Food for Thought Conference
November 30 and December 1, 2017 at Gwinnett Technical College

Early Bird Conference Registration is Open Now, Learn more and Register at https://www.mygeorgiamarket.org/food-for-thought-conference-2017/

CONTACT:

Laurie Wakefield
[email protected]