by Jennifer Russomanno, Assistant Professor of Practice
When my partner and I started 2 Chicks and a Farm in 2012, it was partially because we recognized a need to bring fresh organically grown produce to an area where there was none (Jefferson County, Tennessee). While we started small, selling produce at local area farmers’ markets, we quickly realized there was a much bigger need that we might be able to help fill—utilizing local food producers to help alleviate food insecurity in our immediate area.
During the past decade, we have worked hard at forming community partnerships with nonprofit organizations and other local social justice-minded farms to bring fresh produce to people that otherwise might not have access to it. Currently our farm partners with CAC Beardsley Community Farm on its Perishables Program, which delivers fresh produce, eggs, and other groceries to several organizations throughout Knox County including Bridge Refugee Services, families at South Knoxville Elementary and Dogwood Elementary, and clients of Knoxville Community Development Corporation. This program is a collaboration between our farm, CAC Beardsley Community Farm, J&M Windy Acres, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Since January 2022, the program has donated nearly 26,400 pounds of fresh produce to those in need. The success of this program highlights the need for community collaboration and support when addressing big issues like food insecurity. Through innovative ideas, new partnerships and collaborations, and an increase in funding support for hunger relief that blossomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, CAC Beardsley Community Farm has been able to increase produce donations from about 10,000 pounds per year to more than 40,000 pounds per year.
We are honored to be a continued part of connecting families in need to fresh local food and to keep doing our part to help address food insecurity in our area. To learn more about CAC Beardsley Community Farm, visit beardsleyfarm.org/about-who-we-are.