CNG Network Organizers - Short Bios

In 2010, CNG received a grant from the Farmers Market Promotion Program to hire organizers in Georgia and Tennessee so they could develop and strengthen farmers networks in their communities.  Through their experiences, CNG hopes to learn about what it takes to develop a successful network and spread that knowlege to farmers seeking to build their own local farmers network. We're proud of the amazing folks we found to work with us!

Tennessee Grower's Consortium
David Schimp

David is a chiropractic physician with an interest in the therapeutic and nutritional value of whole foods. In 2009, David moved his family from a corner lot in the city to a quaint farming community about an hour from Nashville, Tennessee. The goal: Develop the family unit by working together in the soil. Today, David and his 8 children operate an organic CSA called Nourishing Harvest Farm. The family’s bold move from “green” city slickers to sustainable farmers was assisted by many kind hearts that had walked the path before them. Today, from his off-the-grid solar farm, using renewable energy sources harvested by the labor of his family’s hands, David has become facilitator of a group called the Tennessee Grower's Consortium. The Consortium is about “giving back” and helping others “learn the ropes”. Our mission, purpose and goal is to encourage and help one another as we walk the path of sustainability by joining together in ventures, sharing resources and freely exchanging information and ideas.  See what's happening on the Tennessee Grower's Consortium Facebook page.

 

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
Justin Ellis

Justin is a small scale grower for Soque Lover Gardens!, the co-manager of the Northeast Georgia Locally Grown online farmer's market, and most recently a Farmer Network Organizer for Certified Naturally Grown. He's also had the good fortune to help create Clarkesville's Green Way Community Garden, serve on the Cannery Design Committee and establish value added processing as a new use allowed at the facility, visit over 50 farms during a 4-month, 5,000 mile bicycle farm tour of the U.S., and when he's not too busy, he is trying to get his graduate degree from the University of Georgia researching the role of innovations in the development of local food systems.

Read more about the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network and check out the GMFN blog.
 

 

 

Athens Area Farmers Network
Kate Munden-Dixon

Kate is a native of Savannah, Georgia where she grew up eating fresh seafood and paddling the surrounding ocean waterways. A transplant in Athens, Georgia since 2004 she has obtained both her Bachelor and Master degrees at The University of Georgia focusing on regional food systems and sustainable agriculture. She currently works with P.L.A.C.E. (Promoting Local Agriculture and Cultural Experiences) as the Program Director where she coordinates various programs that increase access of local, sustainable food to all populations in Athens. She also works at The University of Georgia as the SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Program Assistant where she assists extension agents and farmers in Georgia who are involved or interested in sustainable agriculture. In her spare time, she loves to cook large meals with friends, rock climb, and go camping with her brindled pup, Raja.

Read more about the Athens Area Farmers Network.

 

 

Georgia Growers (northcentral Georgia)
Michele Gilman

Michele is originally from the Carolinas and moved to Cumming, Georgia in 1996. Her professional background is in marketing and sales, but she became passionate about fresh local food after her husband was involved in a cycling incident and organic and raw foods played a big part in his recovery. Currently, Michele splits her time between 2 farms – Cane Creek Farm and Moss Hill Farm – where her primary role is harvest coordinator. She also manages volunteers and farm crew, participates in the full range of field work, and helps with outreach and marketing. Michele is also a cyclist; when she gets home from work at the farm she spends her time training either on the road or in the gym. Michelle says “When I started volunteering and then became an employee at sustainable farms I realized the importance of the locally grown movement and that I could be a voice, helping to spread the word. Growing without all of the "cides" matters, supporting local businesses matters, eating the freshest and most nutritious food matters.”

 

Chattanooga Sustainable Farmers
Butch Tolley 

Butch began farming while working a work share at Sequatchie Cove Farm in Sequatchie, Tennessee. He then moved his family back to Clover Wreath Farm in Cleveland, Tennessee.  While there they began to put the farm back into production beginning with selling eggs and later adding vegetables and dairy sheep.  While living at Clover Wreath Farm Butch also worked at Greenlife Grocery in Chattanooga, Tennessee in their produce department  where he came in contact with many of the area’s local famers. Wanting to further support the local farmers and find ways to increase the production and consumption of local food, Butch helped found the Chattanooga Sustainable Farmers in 2010. Since then he has been developing CSF and working with farmers to find new ways to support the local food economy in the Chattanooga Area.