Friends of Ag Breakfasts give taste of local agriculture

Published 7:51 pm Monday, October 14, 2013

Wake up with the roosters and come have breakfast on the farm with area growers, raisers, crafters, interested agencies, council folk and eaters Wednesday morning, Oct. 16 in Columbus.

A core program of the office of agricultural economic development and sponsored by Polk County Farm Bureau, the Friends of Ag Breakfast is a family-friendly event open to everyone in the immediate region with interest in agriculture and community.

Through food and dollar sponsorships, the meal and program is free of charge. The breakfast begins at 7 a.m. with a formal program that wraps up by 8 a.m. for those who need to get to work.  Students attend and sneak out a minute early to avoid being tardy, but with an important community lesson and a healthy full belly on their way. Community building, networking and visiting with neighbors often continues past then.

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This month’s program is a meet and greet with your neighbor, your farmer and your community friends, many of whom you have not discovered yet.
Farmers, consumers, foodie entrepreneurs and policy makers learn when attending Friends of Ag Breakfasts.

Topics like sustainable agriculture, structuring labor on your farm, farmland preservation, soil and water conservation, beekeeping, farmer assistance programs, forest ranger services, high school ag programs and beginning farmers have run the schedule since the breakfasts began under Lynn Sprague four years ago. Got an idea for a breakfast program topic?
Call the good people at the Ag Center and pass the tip along.

Each month staff and volunteers from the Mill Spring Agricultural Economic Development and Community Center prepare local eggs, grits and sausage with hot coffee and juice.

Guest chefs bring a personalized flair like homemade biscuits and muffins using local wheat and fruit jams and jellies.
This month Manna Cabanna of Saluda is cooking along with Southern Manners Restaurant in Columbus.

The community of Polk County and beyond is busy planting seeds that are yielding rapid growth in the local food movement.

In Mill Spring, we see a viable community center where courses are being taught and where local food is sold and distributed as far away as Charlotte.

Our farmer markets have expanded, business service providers like Mountain BizWorks are coaching and lending to new ag businesses, CSA offerings are expanding and unifying events and agencies like Slow Food Asheville Foothills are raising funds and awareness in schools and industry.

Our local food bank, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry is working to close the hunger gap and the nutrition gap by connecting with the local food movement. Our community foundation and its benefactors care about local agriculture and the young people who want to hold onto a family farm or begin one.

Our business development associations are growing community around farmers and food.  Our faith communities and welcome tables support local farmers and our kids are enjoying a healthier more aware county that knows how to build resiliency to change.

Help build a resilient and sustainable agricultural community for Polk County. Join us for tomorrow morning for breakfast and beyond!