Reflecting on past years of ‘ag-tivism’ in Polk County

Published 5:33 pm Monday, March 4, 2013

Recently, I was compelled to reflect on the last few years of my “ag-tivism” in Polk County and the foothills region in general.

As I did I stumbled upon the 2010 yearlong report I wrote that completed our goals at the Mill Spring Agricultural Center, then a kudzu covered abandoned school house in the heart of a quiet little unassuming region of the county called Mill Spring.  There we struggled and rejoiced in the massive task ahead of us and in the sparks of community agtivism that lit up our paths along the way: Lynn Sprague, Sandra Reid, Vaughn Loeffler, Americorp volunteers like Joseph Burdett, Ian Jensen and Moira McCormick; Soil and Water board members and co-operative extension staffers led by John Vining were beginning pioneers.

Liz Malloy and Betsy Burdette woke up with the roosters to help host Friends of Ag Breakfasts and then a new host of Americorp members like Patrick McClendon and Kacy Spooner came to the team. I don’t mean to leave any names out, but these are the ones that come quickly to mind. We knew we had to build community awareness and support to show an involved leverage before any grant monies came flowing in to us. After weeks and months those dreams became reality.

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We had big dreams that; if I were to take a measuring stick to what’s actually happening out there today, we are within inches of the initial plan. So just for kicks, over the next few weeks I will share in this column the transcript of that report. I believe you will agree, we are doing a good job with our initial promise as a community that loves its rural heritage steeped in agriculture.