May 23, 2017.

Workforce Development: Stay Tuned!

It’s been almost 5 month’s since the Working Groups and other regional partners met at “Intersections” on January 9th at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. Though, Workforce Development has not reconvened for the year of 2017 in a group capacity, there has been a lot of communication behind the scenes with the key players of this group. Unfortunately, the project for the year cannot be made public just yet, stay tuned, because it’s a doozy!

Food Production, Marketing, and Distribution: Lost in the Weeds.

The Food Production, Marketing, and Distribution Working Group met for the one and only time this year on March 23, 2017. With only 5 participants in the meeting, all new members of the group, we floundered a little on which path to take. We found ourselves wishing that there were some participants from the previous year, but no such luck…So, we winged it. By the end of the meeting, we had two potential paths to travel down: First being more logistics based, developing and executing a farmer/producer assessment to see what was currently being grown, what infrastructure was in place, and who grew/created these things. That way, farmers/producers could utilize this information to avoid duplicated efforts and thus, have a more profitable season. Second, a more passion driven, heart string tugging project: A Farm to School pilot hosted somewhere in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia to bring more fresh, local ingredients to the schools and promote a healthier lifestyle.

During the follow up meeting, scheduled on April 27, 2017, we has planned to make a final decision on which project was most sustainable and practical. Unfortunately, after waiting for over 20 minutes from someone to come and participate in the meeting, I decided to pull the cord and table this group until interested parties were located or a project fell into our laps.

This blog is a call to action for all interested parties. If you are reading this and would like to participate in this working group to help the previously mentioned ideas become a reality for our region, please contact me through the information listed in the “Contact Us” tab on the website. THANK YOU!

Jenni Roop