Sewanee Community Chest Spotlight: South Cumberland Farmer’s Market

The 2017-18 Sewanee Community Chest (SCC) Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the SCC raises money yearly for local charitable organizations serving the area. This year’s goal will help local organizations that have requested basic needs funding for quality of life, community aid, children’s programs, and those who are beyond Sewanee but still serve our entire community. Currently, $85,000 of the goal has been raised in donations and pledges.

This week we shine the spotlight on the South Cumberland Farmer’s Market.

The South Cumberland Farmer’s Market (SCFM) is an organization of farmers and agricultural producers who work together to facilitate and expand the sales of local products; provide education and support to farmers and consumers; and lay the groundwork for a just, equitable, and sustainable local food economy.  The vision of the SCFM is to create a vibrant local food economy that provides prosperity to farmers and rural communities and increases access to fresh, healthy, local food for everyone.

More than 60 farm/producer families are registered growers who benefit economically by selling through the SCFM. An average of 50 customer families a week have access to reasonably priced, fresh locally grown food by purchasing through the SCFM. It’s not uncommon for small farmers and producers who get their start at the market to expand their business to wholesale customers.  Two examples are the Bread Peddler whose baked goods are now available at the Piggly Wiggly and elsewhere and Brown’s Hollar Creations, which is now a source for eggs purchased by University Food Services.

SCFM is requesting $1,000 to aid in maintaining the market manager’s pay at a level comparable to minimum wage. The SCFM was established in 2007 on a nonprofit model. The market manager is the only paid employee. Volunteers contribute nearly 100 hours a month to facilitate the operation of the market. In 2012, SCFM was refused nonprofit status by the state of Tennessee because the market’s primary mission is not charitable or educational, but rather to increase the sales base for local farmers and provide the community with fresh, locally grown food. In 2013, the market began assessing farmers a 3 percent fee on all sales to pay a market manager. As of September 1, 2016, SCFM had no market manager due to the low wage, and was in danger of closing. To make the market manager position more attractive, SCFM scaled back the market manager’s responsibilities and raised the market manager’s wage slightly by increasing the fee assessed to farmers to 4 percent. With the combination of reduced duties and generous Community Chest gift, the market manager now earns over $8 per hour.

Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest has been to help citizens by funding the community. Through Community Chest donations, local organizations provide for basic needs in the community such as books, food, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s educational needs and more. The Sewanee Community Chest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations are tax-deductible. Send your donation to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375.


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Potter to Receive the Summa Cum Laude for Community Service Award

During the Wednesday, April 18, Sewanee Civic Association meeting at St. Mark’s Hall, Cindy Potter will receive the Summa Cum Laude for Community Service Award for her continuing dedication to the outdoors, education and community.

Cindy moved to Sewanee in 1980 when her husband, Bran, joined the University’s faculty. Much of her life has focused on serving area children. She taught at the Sewanee Children’s Center and was the PTO sponsored librarian at Sewanee Elementary School. She then taught for 25 years in the Franklin County school system and was a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the year. She joined the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School community and helped to begin the sixth grade program. She taught humanities and science courses, where she combined her love of nature, poetry, writing and song.

She initiated the “My Spot in the Woods” program, where each student revisited their own adopted place in the forest to make observations and write in their learning logs. That program was featured in an issue of The Tennessee Magazine.

She has served on the Duck River Board, and on the Lease Committee. She is currently a member of the Community Council, and serves as chair of the Community Action Committee.

In 2014, she was co-recipient of the The Harry Yeatman Environmental Education Award. This award honors a person who has made an impact on the South Cumberland Plateau through dedication to this place, and by educating others to appreciate it.

For years she organized the annual sixth grade holiday balsam wreath sale to help raise funds for a variety of outreach projects. Students used the opportunity to support organizations that promote causes that are important to them, such as the protection of animals, scientific research and the preservation of the environment. In some of their presentations, the students told moving stories of people they knew who had benefited from their chosen organization. Charities ran the gamut from large organizations such as Save the Children and the American Cancer Society to more local causes like Sewanee’s Operation Noel or the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.


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SCA Membership Meet & Greet

It is time for the annual membership meeting! Please join us on Wednesday, April 18 at St. Mark’s Hall, Otey Parish. Social time begins at 5:30 p.m. We will give out the 35th annual Community Service Award, nominated by the community. There will be a brief business meeting. Childcare will be provided. Hope to see you there!

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