"Gathering" of Homestead Economic and Entrepreneurs of Food Based, Organic Foods and Other Related Businesses

2008 Annual Report for CS07-056A

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2007: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Principal Investigator:
Martha Pile
UT Extension of Montgomery County

"Gathering" of Homestead Economic and Entrepreneurs of Food Based, Organic Foods and Other Related Businesses


Identify and prioritize issues facing area homestead businesses, entrepreneurs, organic and other growers wanting to process foods in Montgomery County and 5 Tennessee and 2 Kentucky Counties that join us. The project encourages and fosters a sustainable community where individual families can benefit from economic development. Rather than duplicating efforts, we will work together as a coalition, sharing ideas and responsibilities.

Realizing the strengths that are in the community but there is so much disconnection

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Secure training of two major cooperators to visit additional food processing kitchens and sites for homestead business promotion and production.
* Attended “Food Recalls-Recall Initiation, Implementation, Effectiveness and Cost” www/foodsafetytaskforce.org. Collaborative partners have toured two small food service kitchen facilities in the area. Two partners attended food certification informational program by the Regulatory part of Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
2. Develop coalition-
*A total of 55 different people are now a part of the coalition. They have meet at the county/community basis and are a part of securing information, hosting and planning meetings and securing entrepreneurs names, photographers and other volunteers for community level brochures. This represent all but one county of the counties that we have listed and they two are interested but county leaders have not found the right person to serve.
3. Locate other interested entrepreneurs,
*sixteen communities hosted local meeting to secure names of entrepreneurs and 9 additional community leaders have been identified.
*secured names of five beekeepers, three new people in music/dram, 13 artist and four new fabric artist. One such person is making designer computer bags and I think she is on to something with your purse, cell phone and lap top bags that match/coordinate.
*have located entrepreneurs and others who are interested in local foods and building community. The website ‘gogreenclarksville.com’ has a link to our gathering website and many of us have ‘Facebook’ accounts where we interact about meetings and such.
*maintained and update Gathering Website.
*Local newspaper article interview two partners of the SARE Grant about food regulations and other issues related to processing foods.
* Tractor Show, TSU Farm Day, Houston County Chamber of Commerce, Irish Days, Stewart County Civitan, 7 Cluster County fce (Family and Community Education Organization), Farmers Market for Dummies, Sustainable Agriculture Education Workshop.
4. Publish joint newsletter- Published the “Sustainability Makes Cents” Newsletter. Over 1,450 newsletters were mailed out by bulk and an additional 250 by e-mail in Jan/Feb/March and we are now securing articles and meeting data for the April/May/June Newsletter now.
* Post newsletter on updated website.
* Gwen Roland, Southern Region SARE, Communications Specialist contacted us for a story about the Gathering and we provided pictures and information.
5. Lending Library- All books that were listed on the grant have been ordered and we have an additional 12 books recommended that have not been ordered. The Self Lending library will be located on a rolling cabinet at the Extension Office where it can be moved easily into meeting rooms, conference rooms for ease of use by a group or by individuals.
6. Hold bi-monthly gatherings of entrepreneurs to network, further develop strategies, receive researched based information, hear success stories and address issues of concern (insurance, taxes, packaging).
*The Gatherings has included educational sessions and tours (including tours to an Organic Gardening Operation in a Korean Compound, Indian Ceremonial Grounds at one Century Farm tour, Pick Your own Strawberry patch and retail store, vegetable retail market in an Amish Community, a community center that was rebuilt after a fire with community cooperation, a retired entrepreneur of river property search for ideas for retirement income, with programs on mapping the community resources, population studies, problem solving and use of the Nominal Group Activity, a study of the importance of history in developing the community with speakers from program partners, businesses and civic groups.
*In addition to the Gathering meetings and coalition meetings, Collaborative partner held 2 workshops to inform businesses/entrepreneurs of the latest best mgt. practices, business licensing info, insurance, processing rules.
*grant partners presentation programs about the “Gathering,” to 15 community group.
*UT Specialist Ag Economic Development co-wrote with Agent Pile for a National e-Commerce Extension Initiative Grant to work with several surrounding counties.
7. Establish a healthy market for local food processors and other homestead business by creating additional markets, partnering with two annual seasonal events and develop one stop site where all area products can be purchased and contributing to a healthier economy.
*Held two bakers event and had three counties and over 100 bakers participate at each event.
*Bee keepers have contacted us and want to be a part of our listings and The Gathering and utilize the kitchen. They also assisted us in telling us two things we would need for the community kitchen including a steam cleaner and a honey extractor.
*A downtown market (to include performers, artist and crafters, foods and vegetables and other entrepreneurs) is being worked on by one of our contributing partners and utilizing “The Gathering,” concept of a place for many to come together. “The Gathering,” will have a community of the week booth at the downtown market. This will allows the community/small homestead businesses and potential vendors to “test the waters.” We will display the community banner and have the community publication on hand and this community will also provide entrainment/children’s activities on this day.
Here is one of the many articles one of our Collaborative Partners (and Co-Worker) Karla Kean wrote about the new Downtown Market for our upcoming Newsletter. You will notice that they are continuing the use of “Gathering,” and we feel that it is an outgrow of the work done with SARE. Many of our contacts for the market, including the entertainers will come from our community list.
Downtown Market Update-After many meetings, community members confirm that downtown Clarksville needs a “Gathering” place where multiple vendors of local and regional products can sell their wares as well as provide entertainment and educational activities. Now is the time to start putting those ideas into action! The key to the success of any market is a core of consumers who will purchase a variety of quality products or service from local vendors. The Clarksville Downtown Market Committee is actively seeking ideas and opinions for this market which will be located in downtown Clarksville.


*560 participants from “The Gathering,” contacts fell into seven distinct categories: crafters (18%), value-added agriculture (primarily foodstuffs) (18%), visual artists (17%), fabric artists (quilters, seamstresses, etc.)(15%), musicians (12%), performers (5%) and agritourism (4%). Approximately 11% of participants fall into multiple or miscellaneous categories.
*We did realize over the 50 people to serve on the Coalition at the community/county/multi county levels.
* Partnering with the County Government for a Grant to further develop the Community Commercial Kitchen with the support of local decision makers.
*15 small businesses have accepted items for resale from one or more Gathering Members. There are two farm operations, community centers.
*Cake Bake event found judges, bakers, sponsors sharing information and networking.
*14 entrepreneurs have check out resources and 17 people have used the information at site.
*Attended the Food Recall workshop and have shared the importance of batch numbers/date of process on all products at special interest meeting and when working one on one.
*Evawood Bakery Domestic Kitchen has opened a retail store and the bread is also being caring by local grocery store.
*Have had contact with all neighboring counties with all counties having community representatives at one or more meeting/special event day.
*Photographers have recorded a pictorial history of our Events and Activities and Posters have been created with some of these pictures that will be held as part of the Lending Library.
*Created 12 community banner/back drop.
*Artist exhibiting/featured this quarter included a piano player, knitters, quilters, scrap bookers, story teller of women’s history (tells about the Homestead and canned products that were being created).
*received and e-commerce grant that will began in August to have a webinare as part of our Gathering Meetings in the same counties (with one additional County)
*Quilt Trails Program-worked with 3 farm related destinations to secure Quilt Boards in Montgomery County and gave leadership to the writing a supply grant for a quilt board for the Smith Trahern Mansion, Working with a SARE Grant Collaborative Partner who also is the CR & D Director who is the lead agency for this project.
*Selected to Secured presenter
* Partnering with the County Government for a State Community Development Grant to further
*Up-date seven brochures (added new entrepreneurs) and distribute brochure.
*Displayed one or more community banners at seven events.
*News Article was on the front page of Tennessee Oldest Newspaper (The Leaf Chronicle) this week about the kitchen facility that we are working on.
* The online version of Common Ground has a story about The Gathering by
Gwen Roland, Southern Region SARE, Communications Specialist University of Georgia-Griffin Campus
* Submitted application for The Gathering Poster to be a displayed at the National Community Development Conference and it was accepted.


Chandra B. Owens

Collaborative Partners
Five Rivers Rc&D Council
2543-C Madison Street
Clarksville, TN 37043
Website: the-gathering-of-entrepreneurs.org
Annette Cole

Collaborative Partners
UT extension of Stewart County
P.O. Box 160
Dover, TN 37058-0160
Office Phone: 9312325682
Website: the-gathering-of-entrepreneurs.org
Karla Kean

Extension Agent
TSU Extension of Montgomery County
1030Cumberland Heights Road Ste A
Clarksville, TN 37040
Office Phone: 931648572531
Website: the-gathering-of-entrepreneurs.org