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Community Food Security in Johnson County, Tennessee: A Local Food Strategy


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Community Food Security in Johnson County, Tennessee: A Local Food Strategy

Community Food Security in Johnson County, Tennessee: A Local Food Strategy

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  • 1. Community Food Security in Johnson County, Tennessee A Local Food Strategy for Self-Sufficiency, Economic Development, and Community Engagement August 2010Authors:Tamara McNaughton, Principal InvestigatorKelly Jo Drey-HouckLeah JoynerSuzanne McKinneyAlison SingerAppalachian Sustainable Agriculture ProjectJohnson County Food Security Council Project funded by a Community Food Projects grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) under award number 2009-33800-20122
  • 2. Johnson County Farmers (423)895-9980 ii
  • 3. Table of ContentsTABLE OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................................... iiTABLE OF APPENDICES ................................................................................................................... iiINTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .......................................................................................................................iii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ....................................................................................................................... ivBACKGROUND ................................................................................................................................... 1 COMMUNITY FOOD SECURITY DEFINITION .......................................................................................... 1 HISTORY OF THE JOHNSON COUNTY COMMUNITY FOOD ASSESSMENT PROJECT ................................. 3 ORIGINAL GOALS FOR THE FOOD ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING PROJECT ............................................ 5 SOCIOECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS ................................................................... 7ASSESSING THE DYNAMICS OF FOOD IN JOHNSON COUNTY ............................................. 11 COMMUNITY FOOD RESOURCES ........................................................................................................ 11 Community-Based and Local Food Options ............................................................................... 11 ―Alternative‖ Sources of Food..................................................................................................... 13 Farms According to Agricultural Census .................................................................................... 15 Federal Food Programs ................................................................................................................ 18 Emergency Food Assistance Programs ....................................................................................... 21 Retail Stores and Other Places to Purchase Food ........................................................................ 23 Educational Programs .................................................................................................................. 24 FOOD PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION: THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY ........................................ 26 Current Production ...................................................................................................................... 26 Cash Receipts from Farming ....................................................................................................... 27 Trends in Farming and Farmland ................................................................................................ 28 Aging of the Farm Population ..................................................................................................... 28 The Tobacco Buyout and Related Shifts in Production ............................................................... 29 Consolidation in the Food System ............................................................................................... 29 Opportunities in Local Markets ................................................................................................... 29 Consumer Food Spending and Consumption Figures for Johnson County and Tri-Cities ......... 30 FOOD STORE SURVEYS ...................................................................................................................... 35 Food Availability and Affordability ............................................................................................ 35 Food Accessibility ....................................................................................................................... 38 INTERVIEWS WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS ........................................................................................... 41 FOCUS GROUPS ................................................................................................................................. 44 Consumers ................................................................................................................................... 45 Producers ..................................................................................................................................... 62 COMMUNITY MEETINGS .................................................................................................................... 67 What do we have?........................................................................................................................ 67 What do we want? ....................................................................................................................... 69 High School Groups .................................................................................................................... 70 COMMUNITY SURVEY ....................................................................................................................... 71CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................... 78 FIVE PROJECTS TO PURSUE AS DESIRED BY THE COMMUNITY ........................................................... 78 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP) .............. 80WORKS CITED .................................................................................................................................. 83 i
  • 4. Table of FiguresFigure 1: Haves, Needs, and Challenges................................................................................................ 3Figure 2: County Map ............................................................................................................................ 7Figure 3: Age Distribution ..................................................................................................................... 8Figure 4: Race Distribution .................................................................................................................... 8Figure 5: Per Capita Income .................................................................................................................. 9Figure 6: Demographic Comparisons .................................................................................................. 10Figure 7: Land in Farms ....................................................................................................................... 15Figure 8: Average Size of Farms ......................................................................................................... 16Figure 9: Number of Farms.................................................................................................................. 16Figure 10: Farms by Value of Sales ..................................................................................................... 17Figure 11: Farms by Size in Acres ....................................................................................................... 17Figure 12: Food Program Participation................................................................................................ 19Figure 13: Food Pantry Distribution Map ............................................................................................ 22Figure 14: Breakdown of Farms by Product ........................................................................................ 26Figure 15: Value of Agricultural Products Sold .................................................................................. 27Figure 16: Cash Receipts from Farming by Category ......................................................................... 28Figure 17: Comparison of Consumption and Production .................................................................... 31Figure 18: Meat Consumption in Johnson County .............................................................................. 32Figure 19: Dairy Consumption in Johnson County ............................................................................. 32Figure 20: Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables .............................................................................. 33Figure 21: Market Share of Retail for Fruits and Vegetables .............................................................. 34Figure 22: Percentage of Ideal Food Availability ................................................................................ 35Figure 23: Percentage of Actual Food Availability ............................................................................. 36Figure 24: Percentage Missing Food Items by Category ..................................................................... 36Figure 25: Store Thrifty Food Plan vs. Federal Thrifty Food Plan Guideline ..................................... 37Figure 26: Store Thrifty Food Plan without Missing Items vs. Guidelines ......................................... 37Figure 27: Demographics of Focus Group Participants (Consumers) ................................................ 45Figure 28: Food Pantries Listed at Community Meeting ..................................................................... 68Figure 29: Top Ten Items that Appear on Community Meeting Drawings ......................................... 68Figure 30: Food Security in Johnson County....................................................................................... 72Figure 31: Percent Eaten from Gardens and Hunting .......................................................................... 73Figure 32: Servings of Vegetables Eaten Per Day ............................................................................... 74 Table of AppendicesAppendix A: Federal Food Programs and Contact Information .......................................................... 84Appendix B: List of Retail Food Stores ............................................................................................... 85Appendix C: Food Assistance Provider Survey ................................................................................... 86Appendix D: Focus Group Questions Outline ..................................................................................... 89Appendix E: Community Survey ......................................................................................................... 92Appendix F: Definitions ...................................................................................................................... 96 ii
  • 5. IntroductionAcknowledgements We are grateful to many people who participated in the Johnson County Community FoodAssessment and Planning Project (JCCFAPP). This process was made possible through a grantfrom the Community Food Projects grant program from the US Department of AgricultureNational Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). The Johnson County Food Security Council met monthly over the course of the project:Tracy Buckles, Diane Darocha, Casey Dorenbush, Gloria Griffith, Tamara McNaughton, ElaineMoore, Angie Stout, RoseEdda Slemp, Rick Thomason, Sally Tugman, Joy Wachs, Bill Ward,Mike Wiles, with Appalachian State University students, East Tennessee State Universitystudents, and Johnson County High School students. Flo Bellamy and her staff at the JohnsonCounty-Mountain City Community Center hosted these meetings. We are thankful for the students who have worked with us on the project. Johnson CountyHigh School FFA and 4-H Honor Club students gathered surveys under the guidance of HarveyBurniston, Jr., LaVonna Roush, and Timbra Huffman. East Tennessee State University NursingSchool students, Rebecca Mullins, Robi Persinger-Titus, Nicole Presnell, and Amanda Rowletteconducted sixteen interviews with key stake holders. Appalachian State University students,Michael Blow, Leah Joyner, Suzanne McKinney, and Alison Singer, along with Kelly Jo Drey-Houck of Mountain Laurel Consulting, gathered, compiled, and analyzed data and wrote thisdocument under the guidance of Tamara McNaughton, Johnson County Farmers MarketManager and JCCFAPP Principle Investigator. Community members working with key organizations in Johnson County gathered surveysand engaged community members: Bill Benedict, Joyce Kidd, Amanda Mullins, Ann Mullins,Leni Smith, Angie Stout, Ella Stout, Jewel Stout, Sue Teixeira, and Nancy Wills. Many thanks to Kelly Jo Drey-Houck and Joy Wachs for conducting the focus groups.Much gratitude to Diane and Bekah Darocha who prepared fantastic meals for the focus groupsand community meetings. Joyce Kidd and her staff at the Senior Center hosted one of thecommunity meetings and prepared the meal. Torainna Aschenback, Appalachia CaresAmeriCorps Member, was elemental in preparing for one of the community meetings held at theCrewette building. Photos of Johnson County farms are included courtesy of Leah Joyner. This plan was possible only because a large number of un-named community membersprovided valuable input included throughout this document. Many thanks to all the individualswho answered surveys and other questions, participated in focus groups, attended communitymeetings, and connected or were inspired by the project in other ways. iii
  • 6. Executive Summary The Johnson County Community Food Assessment and Planning Project (JCCFAPP) hasengaged community members in a conversation about food security and self-reliance in JohnsonCounty over the past year. These discussions occurred in Food Security Council meetings heldmonthly, sixteen interviews with key stakeholders, five focus groups, three community meetingsand meals, and two high school classes. Written surveys were collected from eight emergencyand federal food assistance providers, nearly 700 Johnson County residents, and eight food storeswere inventoried. Residents also chatted about food production, distribution, and consumption atthe Johnson County Farmers Market and other venues. Certainly these dialogues continued inmany homes. The 2002 Community Food Assessment Toolkit, written by Barbara Cohen for the USDepartment of Agriculture, guided this project. This toolkit focuses mostly on federal,emergency, and retail food sources. Additions were made to the JCCFAPP to include moreinformation about the local food system. The Food Security Council determined the overalldirection of the project based on the original goals of this assessment. These goals were:formalize a community Food Security Council, engage community members in an open-endedcommunity food assessment, discover new linkages in the local food system, and prepare andpresent a comprehensive plan for food security in Johnson County while also helping developlocal jobs and businesses with partners. Johnson County residents are extremely innovative in securing, distributing, and eatingfood that is locally and regionally produced. Community assets that were consistentlymentioned during the assessment process included: home gardens, farms, churches, foodpantries, the vocational agriculture program at the high school, the community center, the seniorcenter, federal food programs, grocery stores, restaurants, Trade Mill, the farmers market,roadside and household produce stands, sharing and/or selling produce from home gardens,natural and wild foods, and traveling to wholesale farmers markets. Over 50% of those surveyedsaid they grow a garden and participants at all of the community meetings and focus groupsmentioned gardens as important assets in the community. The county issued a strong call for community gardens. Educational workshops andcoordinated information sharing were important to many. Engaging youth, creating jobs,offering fresh food at a reasonable cost, and nutrition were mentioned time and again throughoutthe process. Community gardens can provide a focus for workshops and information sharing.Youth and adults of all ages can participate according to their ability. Fresh, inexpensive,nutritious food can be grown in these gardens while creating potential income for participants. Community gardens can produce affordable, available, and accessible food. A tillablepiece of property, a tiller, seeds, plants, water, tools, and people to lead and work in the gardenare the basic necessities to produce an abundance of fresh food. Community gardens are alogical solution because they foster the principles of: plenty of food for everyone, a sense ofcommunity, and self-sufficiency. These gardens would naturally be places for people to shareboth workload and ideas and receive fresh food for their efforts. They can share equipment,tools, and supplies and teach and learn from each others’ knowledge and gardening skills.Working together also provides social opportunities, allows people to get to know theirneighbors, and builds community. The excess from the gardens could be sold at the local andother regional farmers markets to generate revenue. Tax incentives could be provided to landowners to encourage planting food gardens. These community gardens could inspire and support iv
  • 7. various home garden growers throughout the county. The community garden idea broughtforward by participants is an obvious next step in developing farming and gardening skills,community self-sufficiency, and our local food system. Federal, community, and emergency food programs serve a large number of people in thecounty. More than 24% of the county was supported by food stamps in March 2010. Thecommunity center and senior center serve over 2000 meals combined to youth and seniors in amonth, eighty five percent of school children receive free and reduced lunch, and food pantriesprovide hundreds of food bags to local residents each month. Yet people do not have enough toeat as expressed in the surveys and focus groups. People want to grow their own fresh food inthe summer and preserve it for the winter. The food store survey pointed out that the cost of a ―Thrifty Food Plan Basket,‖ a plan fora nutritious diet devised by the USDA for those collecting Federal food assistance programs, atsupermarkets in Mountain City is slightly less expensive and have more items than the nationalaverage of supermarkets. In the outer parts of the county, the cost and selection of items on a―Thrifty Food Plan Basket‖ are more expensive and less available than the national average. The upper limit to the amount of local produce retail food stores and individuals can buyfrom regional growers is based on climate and soil related limitations. But, is there an upperlimit to the amount of food that could be produced for regional consumers? Johnson Countyfarmers could not supply 100% of produce to local retailers because they cannot grow oranges,lemons, or bananas, for example, no matter how much local food infrastructure is improved.They can, however, grow 38 different types of fruits and vegetables. In Figure 21, those 38items are listed along with their corresponding share or percentage of total retail produce sales.Based on the table, an adjustment for seasonality would indicate that Johnson County farmerscould grow 80 percent of retail produce items for a third of the year, or 26 percent of the markettotal (80% X 33% = 26%). Johnson County has a solid base of farms, gardens, grocery stores, and food pantries aswell as the vocational agriculture department and the farmers market that are the foundation ofthe local food system. Some of these elements work together and some work independently. Forinstance, one grocery store in Mountain City will purchase locally grown food crops. Somework exclusively within the boundaries of Johnson County and others depend on outside foodsources. This assessment is a comprehensive overview of these assets. Through this process we have seen the incredibly dynamic nature of the food system andhow the system can change from one year to the next. Some of the places discussed in thisdocument are no longer in existence. Other existing and emerging elements of the food systemmay have been overlooked; however, if we missed any part of the Johnson County food system,it was not intentional or due to lack of community participation. This document is thecompletion of the food assessment and planning process, but is only the beginning of a longterm, comprehensive community and economic process focusing on innovative food and farmingstrategies. v
  • 8. BackgroundCommunity Food Security Definition There is no universally accepted definition of ―community food security,‖ a relativelynew concept that involves nutrition, education, public health, anti-hunger, sustainableagriculture, community development, and other perspectives. USDA defines food security as―Access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food securityincludes at a minimum: (1) the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and (2)an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (e.g., without resortingto emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies)‖ (Bickel et al.2000). ―Community food security can be described as a prevention concept that supports thedevelopment and enhancement of sustainable, community-based strategies to improve accessof low-income households to healthful nutritious food supplies, to increase the self-reliance ofcommunities in providing for their own food needs, and to promote comprehensive responsesto local food, farm, and nutrition issues. Community food security focuses on the underlyingeconomic, institutional, and social factors related to the quality, quantity, availability, andaffordability of food.‖1 Policies and programs implemented under the label of community food security addressa diverse range of issues, including: Food availability and affordability Direct food marketing Diet-related health problems Participation in and access to federal nutrition assistance programs Ecologically sustainable agricultural production Farmland preservation Economic viability of rural communities Economic opportunity and job security Community development and social cohesion According to the USDA Toolkit (Cohen 2002), Communities are considered to be foodinsecure if: There is a lack of adequate resources for people to purchase food Food purchasing resources are not accessible to all community members Food available through these resources is not sufficient in quantity or variety Food available is not affordable There are inadequate food assistance resources for low-income people to purchase food There are no local food production resources Locally produced food is not available to community members There is no support for local food production resources There is a substantial level of household food insecurity in the community.1 1
  • 9. It is helpful to consider food security on a continuum. Communities can have threestages occurring simultaneously (Ross and Simces 2008):Stage 1 – Short-term relief (efficiency) Short-term relief includes emergency/charitable food programs such as food banks and soup kitchens that primarily address immediate hunger.Stage 2 – Capacity-building (transitional) Capacity-building food programs, such as community kitchens, community gardens, and farmers markets that have the potential to empower participants through education and training, and raise awareness of food issues.Stage 3 – Redesign (systemic) Redesign of the food system, through food policy councils, implementation of food policies, social enterprises and social advocacy to address poverty, deals with the shortcomings of both the charitable and community food programs and is aimed at improving the economic, ecological and social sustainability of the food system. 2
  • 10. History of the Johnson County Community Food Assessment Project In May 2008 the Johnson County Community Foundation, a partner of the EastTennessee Foundation, awarded a grant to host a ―Local Food Lunch‖ in October of the sameyear. This lunch was held at the Johnson County-Mountain City Community Center and wasattended by 30 community members, mostly producers who were interested in expanding theirmarkets. Attendees participated in an activity where they listed what we have in Johnson Countyrelated to food, what we need, and challenges we experience. Figure 1 is a chart of thesefindings:Figure 1: Haves, Needs, and Challenges Haves: Needs: Challenges: Lots of fertile land Communication/coordination Lack of motivation Water Farmers Market Lack of cooperation Experience Customers organization & Culture/community Marketing communication Desire to stay on land/lifestyle Education Involvement Poor economy (hungry Neighbors with land Education of people) Retired land owners growers & Edible native plants wanting young farmers consumers Environment friendly to Promote ―Victory Gardens‖ Difficult economy diverse livestock Raise awareness of local Flood plain/rain Farms and farmers farmers (tours, education) Costs of distribution Good growing conditions Viable industry Products: corn, apples, etc. Diversity of crops High School Vocational Agriculture Commercial kitchen Home gardens Interest in organic/ sustainable agriculture Extension services Representatives from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) gave apresentation about the potential of local markets and how their organization builds local foodsystems and supports small farmers with local markets. Attendees enjoyed a meal of JohnsonCounty grown food prepared by the Johnson County Senior Center. Two more meetings were hosted during the following months so attendees could talkinformally about community food security and possible steps to increase our food selfsufficiency. Nine individuals convened in December 2008 and volunteered to share the task ofgathering basic raw data on community food security indicators. The indicator charts in theUSDA Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit by Barbara Cohen were used as a guide.The group reconvened in January 2009 to bring the data together which was compiled in arudimentary fashion. At this January meeting, the group decided that our community could benefit from amore in-depth look into the information gathered, including more qualitative information fromcommunity members. The decision was made to apply for a Community Food Project PlanningGrant; the application was submitted in May 2009. In February 2009 a local businessman offered the quonset building at Shouns Crossroadsto establish a farmers market in the county. A public meeting was held in March to determine if 3
  • 11. there was interest in a Johnson County farmers market. Thirty people attended this meetingwhere a five member board of directors was established. The board proceeded to workdiligently, establishing bylaws, rules for vendors, and operations for the Johnson County FarmersMarket (JCFM). They also recruited vendors and publicized the market to customers. Openingday was May 30th 2009. The JCFM has been a success with tremendous community support. Award notification from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institutefor Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) was received in September 2009 for funding of theJohnson County Community Food Assessment and Planning Project (JCCFAPP). The JohnsonCounty Farmers Market took on the implementation task and Appalachian Native Plants servesas the fiscal agent. The Food Security Council was established October 2009 to guide and implement theJCCFAPP. This Council consists mostly of women who work in areas of health and nutritioneducation in the county. Monthly Food Security Council meetings were held over the course ofthe project to provide insight, guidance, and support in the effort. The Council has been joinedby a wide variety of community members and college students in gathering the informationpresented in this document. This document is the completion of the food assessment andplanning process, but is only the beginning of long term, comprehensive community andeconomic development focusing on innovative food and farming strategies. 4
  • 12. Original Goals for the Food Assessment and Planning ProjectThe USDA uses the following criteria to determine Community Food Project Awards: Meeting the food needs of low-income people Increasing community self-reliance Promoting comprehensive responses to food, farm and nutrition issues Developing innovative links Supporting entrepreneurial development Encouraging long-term planning Encouraging multi-system, interagency approach Achieving project self-sufficiencyAs such, the original project goals and their outcomes are as follows:1. Establish a Community Food Security Council that will implement the community foodsecurity plan and increase the long term sustainability of our community food system. The Food Security Council was established within the first month of the project. Thiscouncil consists of seven members and includes low-income residents and professionals fromorganizations that work directly with low-income food service recipients. The council met onceper month to drive the assessment and planning process forward. Throughout the project,members developed assessment tools and recruited volunteers.2. Engage community members in an open-ended community food assessment through primarysources, community meetings, focus groups, and surveys. This assessment may include a profileof community socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, a profile of community foodresources, assessment of household food security, assessment of food resource accessibility,assessment of food availability and affordability, and assessment of community food production,including home grown food. Key aspects of the assessment will be determined by the FoodSecurity Council and community participants. After the assessment, the community has becomebetter informed about food security issues and ways to decrease food security concerns. At least 1000 surveys were planned to be collected directly from a broad base of thecommunity including youth, seniors, various food service clients and recipients, farmers, grocers,and other citizens. The specific format and questions of these surveys was determined by theFood Security Council. Ultimately, 659 surveys were collected. Five focus groups, with 48 total participants, were hosted in the first eight months of theproject with seven to fourteen people attending each of these focus groups. Four open community meetings were also hosted to share and gather information.3. Discover linkages between farmers/producers, processing facilities, distribution channels, andconsumers to make affordable quality foods more readily available to residents of JohnsonCounty with particular attention to low-income residents. By engaging community members in the assessment and planning process, people beganto discover gaps in our food system that can be filled and other opportunities to link varioussectors of the food system. 5
  • 13. 4. Write and present a comprehensive, long-term community food security plan to JohnsonCounty and Mountain City officials with the intention that it will be adopted by the TownCouncil and the County Commission. By September 2010 the Community Food Security Plan for Johnson County will becompleted and presented at both the Mountain City Town Council and the Johnson CountyCommission. Both of these groups of elected officials will be asked to adopt the plan as part oftheir community economic development strategies. Presenting at these meetings will ensure thatthe document is recorded in their meeting minutes. The plan will also be summarized andsubmitted to the local newspapers for publication.5. Assist with business planning and development of agriculturally based enterprises that arediscovered and/or inspired by participants in the assessment and planning process. In January 2010 the Johnson County Economic Development Partnership (JCEDP)employee took a new job in another county. This JCEDP employee had committed to assist withbusiness planning and development during the course of the project. Johnson County waswithout a JCEDP employee until July 2010. In the meantime, the Johnson County FarmersMarket assisted four new vendors in developing their agricultural enterprises. Sweet Springs Farm Vending at the Johnson County Farmers Market 6
  • 14. Socioeconomic and Demographic Characteristics Johnson County is a rural, tight-knit community with strong kinship networks and awealth of social capital. The community prides itself on self-sufficiency, which is an importantconcept in food security. Johnson County is the northeastern-most county in Tennessee, adjacent to North Carolinaon the east and Virginia on the north. It is part of the Tri-Cities region, which has a population of589,200 and includes the metropolitan statistical areas of Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol. Johnson County itself, while part of the larger Tri-Cities region, is rural, and has apopulation of 18,112. Mountain City, the county seat, has a population of 2,407. JohnsonCounty encompasses 303 square miles. Two hundred ninety-eight square miles (or 190,720acres) are land and 4 square miles (or 2560 acres) are land under water. Population distributionis 59 persons per square mile.2 Johnson County enjoys over 50,000 acres of National Forest.3Figure 2: County Map2 US Census Bureau - 7
  • 15. The largest age group living in Johnson County is 25 to 44 years old. This age groupincreased by 1,722 individuals between 1990 and 2000. The second largest increase was inresidents ages 45-54 with an 848-person increase during the same time period. The onlypopulation to decrease was individuals ages 5-20 with a 35- individual decrease.Figure 3: Age Distribution 7000 6000 5000 4000 1990 age 2000 age 3000 2000 1000 0 Under 5 5 to 20 years 20 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 59 60 to 64 65 to 74 75 to 84 85 years and years years years years years years years over Source: 2000 Census The majority of the population is white, 96.8% in 2000. In 1991, the NortheastCorrectional Complex, an all male prison with a maximum security designation, opened.Population numbers include these inmates. The data therefore includes non permanent residentsof the county, and thus may appear skewed.Figure 4: Race Distribution 20000 18000 16000 14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 American Indian Native Hawaiian Hispanic or Black or African Total population White and Alaska Asian and Other Some other race Latino (of any American Native Pacific Islander race) 1990 13766 13668 61 14 14 9 32 2000 17499 16946 428 113 33 10 52 150 Source: 2000 Census 8
  • 16. The main industries in the Tri-Cities region include manufacturing; trade, transportation,and utilities; healthcare; and higher education.4 In Johnson County itself, the main industries,other than agriculture, are manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, andaccommodation and food service.5 More than 25% of Johnson County residents live below thepoverty line.6 In 2000, 912 children under the age of 18 lived in poverty. The county as a wholehas a low per capita income. In 2007 the per capita income of Johnson County was $20,785,compared to a Tri-Cities region per capita income of $27,588.7 The state of Tennessee had a2008 per capita income of $23,418, compared with a national per capita income of $21,587.8The median household income in Johnson County is only $23,067; the national median incomeis $41,994.Figure 5: Per Capita Income Census data highlight some other important characteristics. 58.4% of Johnson Countyresidents age 25 or older have earned a high school diploma or GED, compared with 75.9% inTN and 80.4% of all Americans); only 6.9% of adults have a college degree, compared to 19.6%in TN and 24.4% in the nation).9 In addition, 30.2% of Johnson County residents are considereddisabled and receive government assistance; this rate is only 19.3% on the national level. Theunemployment rate in Johnson County (10.7%) is only slightly higher than the national rate4 The Regional Alliance for Economic Development Northeast TN Southeast VA5 2002 Economic Census - Johnson County, Tennessee, State and County QuickFacts, US Census Bureau7 The Regional Alliance for Economic Development Northeast TN Southeast VA8 Washington Post - Johnson County, Tennessee, State and County QuickFacts, US Census Bureau 9
  • 17. (9.7%).10 Johnson County has long received the designation of ―distressed‖ from theAppalachian Regional Commission, a characterization based on poverty rates, three-yearunemployment rates, and per capita income.11Figure 6: Demographic Comparisons In 2000 the county had 7,879 total housing units with 6,827 of them being occupied. In1990, there were 6,090 total housing units with 5,406 of these occupied. Of the total housingunits in 2000, 1,052 were vacant with 368 of these units owned for seasonal, recreational, oroccasional use. The number of these recreational, or second homes, more than doubled from the1990 data of 684 vacant units with 171 of these as seasonal housing units. This trend indicates asubstantial rise of second homes and home owners living in the county on a seasonal basis.Owner occupancy rates have remained consistently around 80% for this 10 year time frame. In2010, 2,078 households included individuals less than 18 years of age and 1,916 householdsincluded individuals over 65 years of age.1210 US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Appalachian Regional Commission - US Census, Johnson County, Tennessee. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000 10
  • 18. Assessing the Dynamics of Food in Johnson CountyCommunity Food ResourcesCommunity-Based and Local Food Options Looking at Community Food Security on a continuum as described in the introduction(see pg. 2), Johnson County has many short term relief (stage one) programs. The JohnsonCounty Farmers Market (JCFM) is the only capacity building (stage two) project. There are alsoredesign (stage three) actions such as the Food Security Council, state-level policies for schoolfood procurement that support local food, and the beginnings of food sector communityeconomic development/social enterprises. The USDA Toolkit (Cohen 2002) used to conduct this food assessment includes sixindicators for food production resources: community gardens, school-based gardens, communitysupported agriculture programs, farms, dairies and fisheries, and food manufacturers anddistributors. Farms are discussed in a later section. Johnson County has no school-basedgardens, community supported agriculture programs, or food distributors. The county does have three community gardens. Two of these are three years old and theother was started in 2010. The Johnson County-Mountain City Community Center has a 20 by20 foot space that Flo Bellamy and her staff maintain. People who use the center eat snacksfrom this garden during the summer. Ms. Bellamy says, ―It produces a tremendous amount offood. It shows the kids how a garden works and how much food a small space can grow.‖Another community garden is co-worked by the Watauga Group Sierra Club and the WataugaWatershed Alliance. Workers in this garden receive produce. Crops in abundance are sold at theJohnson County Farmers Market. These groups have been central to starting the Johnson CountyFarmers Market. In the past, these groups have also offered start-up monies to high schoolstudents interested in growing gardens and other food businesses. The third community gardenfor the 2010 summer is at First Assembly of God church just outside the Mountain City limits.A young, single mother is growing a garden with her two children. ―We’re eating off thisgarden. It’s been hard work some days, but it’s so much fun.‖ In the past there have beencommunity gardens atHeritage Acres andMountain City Manor(low income housingdevelopments), butthese gardens have beengone for a few years.However, the space forthese gardens is stillthere; it is just a matterof identifying someoneto till them. The Trade Millis one local foodproducer that grinds Community Garden at First Assembly of God, Summer 2010grains: wheat, 11
  • 19. buckwheat, corn, and others into flour and meal. Most of the grains for the Mill are grown in thecounty by John Shull, who was encouraged to diversify his grain crops specifically to supply theMill. The Mill has also been known to grind grain for individuals. James Miller, a thirdgeneration miller runs the water-powered operation and uses pre-civil war equipment that camefrom Old Snyder’s Mill down the road. The Trade Mill sometimes sells their products at theJohnson County Farmers Market. In early summer of 2010 they received a standing order of5,000 bags per month to supply Food City Supermarkets, a regional chain with stores throughoutsoutheast Virginia. Food City is known to support many local food agripreneurs in the region. One family dairy remains in the county and sells their milk to Southeast Dairy Farmers ofAmerica, an organization that only purchases milk free of hormones. The dairy also suppliesmilk to their family and friends. One man in Laurel Bloomery drives milk trucks. Some dairiesin the county closed as recently as 1998. Two livestock auctions also operate in the county. Oneof these auction houses was the first in the state of Tennessee. Some cattlemen will sell beef on the hoof to interested consumers. Once the beef ispurchased, the live animal is trucked to a slaughter house and belongs to the consumer.Arrangements are made on types of cuts desired and the consumer picks it up or can arrange forfurther delivery. Producer/consumer relationships like this tighten links in the local foodeconomy. There is one young man in the county, Bill Ward, who operates a multi-species (cattle,chickens, pigs, and sheep) farm. He uses Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) techniqueswhere animals are moved from paddock to paddock every couple days. This management styleincreases the growth of pasture and allows the operator to graze the animals into the winterwithout needing as much hay and other feed. Bill directly markets his meats to consumers byword of mouth, mailings, and information/order sheets. These dynamics keep his animals betterconnected to the pasture and him to his customers. There is talk of starting a cow share for milkproducts. Cow shares are the one way consumers in Tennessee can access fresh milk products. Ward Brothers Farm 12
  • 20. The Cow Share Bill was passed May 2009 in Tennessee. ―This law solidifies the positionthat it is perfectly legal for an owner or a partial owner to drink their own cows milk. Partial is avery key word in this bill. In fact, without this word, the bill would not be the same and wouldnot carry the weight and strength that it does. Partial owners are cow (or any hoofed mammal)share owners and the bill states their legal position loud and clear. Now farmers can enter intoshare/boarding contracts free from worry that a government agency will tell them they cannot.‖13 Johnson County High School has one of the nation’s leading Vocational AgriculturePrograms with a large fish operation that raises and sells tilapia and koi, as well as hydroponiclettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. These products, along with vegetable and flowertransplants in the spring, are sold to the school food service program, local restaurants, and areavailable for local consumers to purchase at the school during the school year. The greenhousesare closed in the summer; however pre-orders for fish and produce can be placed before the endof the school year. They maintain a waiting list for their fish. The produce is sold on a firstcome, first serve basis. Various other greenhouses and feed/seed stores are located in the county providingvegetable and flower transplants, fertilizers, sprays, and other materials for vegetable gardensand gardeners. Two of these stores are in Mountain City, one in Laurel Bloomery, one in DoeValley, and two in Shady Valley. Home gardeners also start vegetable transplants to share withtheir friends and family, but they are not official businesses. Twelve miles from Mountain City, across the North Carolina border, a meat processorcuts meat but is not USDA certified. This processor serves many people in Johnson County,processing various meat animals. He also participates in the Hunters for the Hungry Program.Another man in the Butler area processes meat for people and conducts hunter safety courses.For the retail sale of meat, butchering must be done in a USDA certified packing house. Theclosest USDA processors are at least a one hour trip away.“Alternative” Sources of Food Johnson County residents are creative in identifying, distributing, and eating food that islocally and regionally produced. In addition to the six indicators for food production resourcesdescribed in the previous section, resources have been consistently identified during theassessment process: home gardens (including sharing and/or selling produce from homegardens), natural and wild foods, roadside and household produce stands, traveling to wholesalefarmers markets, and ―dumpster diving‖ to rescue thrown away food. Large and small gardens can be seen in fields and yards throughout the county. Corn,beans, tomatoes, and potatoes are some of the most common crops grown. Some porches havehanging containers for growing tomatoes. Many people give extra produce to their family andneighbors. This dynamic of sharing not only keeps people fed, but also supports kinship andsocial networks. Even small amounts of fresh produce are better when you grow them yourselfor receive them from people you know. Natural and wild foods have also been reported in community meetings. A list of wildfoods includes: fish, deer, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, insects, frogs, crayfish, turtles and snakes.Mushrooms, herbs, fruits, berries, and other wild foods were also listed. Johnson County isblessed with over 50,000 acres of National Forest, Watauga Lake, trout streams, small creeks,and other forested areas. These areas generate an abundance of natural and wild foods.13 13
  • 21. Produce stands are scattered throughout the county. Some of these produce stands areconnected to farms, home gardens with excess harvest, flea markets and country stores. Many ofthese stands stay in business for years and others have lasted less than a year. This is a difficultbusiness because the product must be sold or it will perish. Produce stands have been inMountain City, Forge Creek, Laurel Bloomery, Doe Valley, and Butler. Some people pull theirtrucks off the side of the road in Mountain City, Butler, and Trade and sell their produce. Someof these are truck stands operated by individuals who grew the product and others have boughtthe product for resale. These trucks have been seen selling apples, corn, cantaloupes, cabbageand even oranges and grapefruits in the winter. A handful of sizable farms and home gardens sell bushels and half bushels of produce.Lynn Snyder’s U-pick farm is well known throughout the county as somewhere you can pickbushels of tomatoes and beans, for instance, to can for the winter months.14 Forge Creek Farm isanother farm that will take phone orders for bushels of beans, potatoes, and other products foron-farm sales. It was said that Trivette’s in Dry Hill has been taking similar orders during the2010 summer. In Shady Valley at least four farmers sell potatoes by the bushel, and at leastthree farmers sell apples by the bushel. One family sells flats of strawberries, and there is one U-pick blueberry farm. Forge Creek Farm Another innovative action people take to get local and regional food on Johnson Countydinner tables is to drive to large wholesale farmers markets in Chucky (Nolichucky), Tennesseeand Asheville, North Carolina. Bags of corn, bushels of beans, tomatoes, and potatoes arebrought into Johnson County from these outlets and residents can preserve them for wintermeals.14 Unfortunately, Mr. Snyder’s business partner, Marie, came down with an illness in the winter of 2009 and wasunable to work with him to keep their stand open for the 2010 season. 14
  • 22. Farms According to Agricultural Census The census definition of a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agriculturalproducts were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.According to the 2007 Agricultural Census, Johnson County has 513 farms and approximately43,500 acres of farmland. These numbers have been decreasing over time with 666 farms in2002 and 752 farms in 1997. However, even though the average size farm has increased over thepast decade, most farms are 10 acres to 49 acres totaling 6,253 acres in 2007 or 14% of totalacres in farmland. Farms with less than $2,500 in sales have also been consistently the mostcommon type of farm in the county.15 These data show that small farms, both in size andincome, are an important part of the farming community in Johnson County. Average per farm total sales was $10,997 in 2007 and $10,504 in 2002. Nearly 61%, 312total, of all farms reported net losses in 2007. No income from agri-tourism was reported in thecounty in 2007 or 2002. Agri-tourism is a viable opportunity for farmers who want to earnsupplemental income above crop and animal production.Figure 7: Land in Farms 60000 50000 40000 acres 30000 20000 10000 0 1992 1997 2002 200715 Census of Agriculture, 2007, 2002, 1997, and 1992 15
  • 23. Figure 8: Average Size of Farms 90 80 70 60 50 acres 40 30 20 10 0 1992 1997 2002 2007Figure 9: Number of Farms 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 1992 1997 2002 2007 16
  • 24. Figure 10: Farms by Value of Sales 350 300 250 less than $2500 number of farms 200 $2,500-4,999 $5,000-9,999 $10,000-24,999 $25,000-49,999 150 $50,000-99,999 $100,000 or more 100 50 0 1992 1997 2002 2007Figure 11: Farms by Size in Acres 400 350 300 250 1-9 acres number of farms 10-49 acres 50-179 acres 200 180-499 acres 500-999 acres 1000 or more 150 100 50 0 1992 1997 2002 2007 year 17
  • 25. Cattle and calves accounted for 66% of total farm sales on 58% of all farms in 2007, with293 farms having cattle and calf inventory. The 2007 inventory of cattle in the county was 9,543with 5,524 of these animals sold in the same year. Egg layers are the next largest inventory with444 in 2007. In 2007, 35 vegetable farms used 36 acres of land; this acreage was up from 11farms and 9 acres in 2002. In 1997, 14 farms with 72 harvested acres of vegetable and melonswere reported. Land in orchards also increased in 2007 to 9 farms with 14 acres from 1 farm in2002. In 2009, the largest orchard, Swift Hollow Farm, planted 100 apple trees. An additional100 trees will be planted in the fall of 2010. 13 farms with 34 acres of berries were reported. 11of these farms harvested 11 acres of berries. There were no commodities raised and delivered under production contracts during 2007in Johnson County. The largest commodity raised under contract in Tennessee is broilers andother meat type chickens. Only 547 farms raise these commodities under contract in the entirestate of Tennessee. Arugula farming began in Shady Valley in 2009. An out-of-state, commercial growerleases farmland from three Shady Valley families to grow the arugula. The land owners receivelease payments for their land and two to three local residents work part-time jobs, a farmmanager and a tractor driver or two. The company has imported most of the other workers. Thearugula is picked and immediately shipped to Florida, so the product does not stay in the localfood system.Federal, State, and Other Programs for Farmers Many federal and state programs are available to assist farmers including Farm ServiceAgency (FSA) programs, Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) programs, andTennessee Department of Agriculture grants. The Greenbelt law allows property tax reduction for farms of at least 10 acres, but notmore than 1,500 acres per county. These farms must provide evidence of $1,500 annual incomefrom the agricultural activity. Unfortunately the small farmer is ineligible.Federal Food Programs A variety of federal food assistance programs are available to county residents, and datashow that Johnson County has a high level of participation in these programs. Federal programsavailable in Johnson County include: Food Stamp or Supplemental Nutritional AssistanceProgram (SNAP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Free and Reduced School Lunch;School Breakfast; Summer Food Services; Commodities Distribution; Congregate Meals atSenior Centers; Meals on Wheels; and Child and Adult Care Food. The USDA Food Stamp Program is the premier food assistance program, and primarilybases eligibility on income, household size, and assets. Participants receive benefits to purchasefood at participating food stores and farmers markets. As of March 2010, the Food StampProgram was helping 4,433 individuals from 2,235 households, or 24.5% of the county with over$500,000 in food stamps.16 This is significantly higher than the Tennessee state average of 11%,or the national average of 8.6%.17 The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children providesassistance to pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to age five. When childrenturn five, they are no longer eligible. To qualify, family income must be at or below 185% of the16 US Department of Agriculture 18
  • 26. federal poverty guidelines, and the family must have been determined to be nutritionally at risk.18Monthly participation in the WIC Program in Johnson County included 626 individuals inJanuary of 2008, or 3.5% of total county population, slightly higher than the 2009 nationalaverage of 2.9%.19 Tennessee’s monthly WIC participation averaged 2.6% of the total statepopulation in 2006.20 Although these two federal assistance programs are widely used throughout JohnsonCounty, there are certain limitations. The Food Stamp and WIC programs each have only onesite county-wide, in Mountain City. The Department of Human Services on East Main Streettakes applications for Food Stamps. The Health Department, located on West Main, takesapplications for the WIC Program. Johnson County children who attend public school are served meals through three federalprograms coordinated by the School Nutritionist and her staff. ―The Local Education Agency(LEA)/School Food Authority (SFA) accepts responsibility for providing free and reduced-pricemeals and snacks and free milk operating the National School Lunch Program School BreakfastProgram, Special Milk Program for children, Afterschool Snack Program, and Fresh Fruits andVegetables Program to eligible children in the school(s) under its jurisdiction‖.21 The Free andReduced School Lunch Program offers free or reduced price lunches based on family income.Johnson County’s participation is 10% higher than the national average, with approximately 71%of the county’s 2,300 students eligible for the program.22 As of 2010, 60% of studentsnationwide were eligible for free or reduced lunches.23Figure 12: Food Program Participation18 US Department of Agriculture National WIC Association20 Food Research and Action Center21 US Department of Agriculture23 Food Research and Action Center 19
  • 27. The Breakfast Program feeds an average of 802 individuals per day or 40% of theschool’s average daily attendance. The Lunch Program feeds 85% of the average dailyattendance. All seven of the public schools participate in both the School Lunch program andthe School Breakfast Programs. The School Breakfast Program is similar to the School LunchProgram, providing a tiered system for free or reduced breakfasts dependent on family income(Cohen 2002). The number of Summer Food Service Program sites increased from 14 throughout thecounty in 2009 to 27 in 2010. The school nutritionist uses flyers to post the locations throughoutthe community. These locations offer varying services from snacks to breakfast and lunch forschool aged children ages 1-18 without any eligibility requirements. The 2010 sites includethree schools, eleven churches, eight parks, four low-income apartment complexes, and theJohnson County-Mountain City Community Center. The 2010 increase in sites includes theaddition of many church and community park sites, with the Laurel Bloomery and Neva areashaving more sites added. Due to geography, it has been difficult to distribute summer foodmeals to Shady Valley. According to the School Nutritionist’s records, the 14 sites in 2009served a total of 7,738 lunch and 1,432 breakfast meals in June 2009. In July 2009, 5,465 lunchand 707 breakfast meals were served. There is one daycare in Johnson County that takes advantage of the Federal programtitled Child and Adult Care Food Program. This daycare serves two snacks and lunch eachweekday to children between one and five years of age. They are currently serving betweeneighteen and twenty children daily. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, funded through the USDA, targets low-income pregnant women, new mothers and their children, and elderly residents at least 60 yearsold.24 The Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, locally known as theNeighborhood Service Center, coordinates this and other programs such as a bread give away onThursdays and Fridays. Johnson County’s Commodity Program had 350 participants in 2009and 2010, and maintains a quarterly distribution system. The March 2010 distribution did nothave enough food to meet the needs of all participants. Other federally funded programs in Johnson County include congregate meals and Mealson Wheels. Seven hundred congregate meals are served monthly at the two Senior Centers, onein Mountain City and the other in Shady Valley. The Shady Valley site was closed in the summerof 2010 due to lack of participation. Meals on Wheels delivered 800 homebound meals permonth through these Centers, when both were open. These meals are delivered by communityvolunteers. The Community Center has the Kid’s Café that serves around 1300 meals a month tochildren and is able to serve every child who comes to eat. They sometimes provide meals tofamily members of these children. The Community Center swimming pool is also a SummerFood Service Program site, meaning that they provide meals for children in their child careprogram and for community children not attending child care. The Community Center providesbreakfast, lunch, and dinner during the summer when school is not in session. The Department of Human Services, Health Department, Public School system,Neighborhood Service Center, Community Center, and Senior Center are an important networkof offices that provide federal food assistance. These programs are essential for low-incomefamilies. US food prices rose faster in 2006 and 2007 than at any time since 1990. Prices for allfood purchased in the US increased 4% in 2007, up from a 2.4% gain in 2006. In 2007, the24 US Department of Agriculture 20
  • 28. average US consumer spent 9.8% of disposable personal income (income available after taxes)on food (Clauson 2008). Government surveys indicate that lower income consumers spend a larger share of theiravailable income on food than middle- or higher income consumers. Data from the 2005Consumer Expenditure Survey indicate that households earning $10,000 to $14,999 a year,before taxes, spent an average of 25% of their income on food. Households earning $15,000 to$19,999 a year, before taxes, spent 19% of their income on food in 2005. The recent acceleratedincrease in food prices is likely to result in lower income households spending an even greatershare of their available money on food in 2008 (Clauson 2008). Volunteers prepare for Commodities distributionEmergency Food Assistance Programs Emergency Food Assistance providers are distinguished from the Federal FoodAssistance Programs as designated by the USDA, and are classified under five categories:emergency kitchens, food pantries, food banks, food rescue organizations, and emergency foodorganizations (Ohls and Saleem-Ismail 2002). Johnson County has a number of food pantriesthat provide a large quantity of food bags and boxes to residents of the county. These pantriesalso act as emergency food organizations and food rescue organizations, but are not classified assuch. All of these pantries other than the Senior Center and Community Center are operated byfaith based organizations. The county does not have any emergency kitchens, food banks, foodrescue organizations, or emergency food organizations. These four areas are unmet opportunitiesthat could be created if the community was interested. The largest pantries are Hale’s Community Ministries at the old Roan Creek BaptistChurch, St. Anthony’s Bread at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, First Baptist Church, andFirst Christian Church. St. Anthony’s also hosts a medical mission at their first Thursday fooddistribution. Various other churches operate pantries but the exact number is hard to determine.Five pantries are included in a brochure distributed by the Department of Human Services.According to information gathered at one of the community meetings held during the last year,15 pantries, all affiliated with churches, operate in the county. This list of food pantries isincluded in Figure 28. Some of these other pantries concentrate on providing food for people intheir congregation, providing emergency food, or giving food vouchers. 21
  • 29. Figure 13: Food Pantry Distribution Map Staff of the local food assistance programs (pantries, commodities, senior center, andcommunity center) were asked to complete a survey regarding their food assistance service. Thissurvey is included in Appendix C. Although not every question had a hundred percent responserate and not all food assistance providers answered the survey, enough data were collected tocreate a general picture of emergency food assistance in Johnson County. The providers all givefood bags and boxes to needy families, and six of the seven pantries also provide special holidayfood baskets. The providers are open from once a month to five days a week; these hours aresomewhat dependent on both food availability and consumers’ needs. The five church-affiliated pantries that completed the survey provide between 60 and 270meals, vouchers, or food bags per month, serving between 100 and 3,180 people per month.25The Johnson County Senior Center and Community Center serve around 2,800 more meals amonth, both to homebound residents and those who attend the centers. Six of the eightrespondents have seen increases in food demand in the past two or three years, but the pantrystaff are confident they can meet the demand. The main challenges they face are lack ofvolunteers, cuts in funding, and the availability and pricing of food for their baskets.25 These numbers may include repeat consumers. 22
  • 30. The pantries receive their food from a variety of sources – retail stores, churchcollections, community donations, farmers/producers, food banks, and restaurants. Some of thefood is donated by those sources, and the pantries also purchase food from the sources. Onepantry received potatoes grown on an acre by a Shady Valley church in the fall of 2009. Theywere hopeful they would receive a similar crop in fall 2010. At least one of the pantries hastrouble finding fresh produce to provide their customers. Once the pantries have acquired thefood, they generally use nutritional guidelines to create the boxes/bags of food for distribution. Inaddition to providing food for their customers, most of them also provide nutritional education,and sometimes hygiene information. Being church-affiliated, several of the pantries also offerreligious services. While some of the providers indicate a lack of food at certain times of the year (varyingfrom winter to summer to spring to the holiday season), they all express general satisfaction atthe level of food support from their various sources. Two of the providers indicate a desire formore food to distribute, but six of the eight respondents either ―most of the time‖ or ―always‖have enough food to meet the demand. The providers are well-supplied in terms of food amount,though not always in food variety; as long as demand does not increase and community supportcontinues they can meet the need. There has been an ongoing conversation over the years as to how these pantries mightconsolidate or communicate to ensure there is no abuse of these services. Suggestions haveincluded a single central pantry, internet programs that assist providers with inter-agencycommunication, and personal communications. Many of these food providers are alreadycommunicating personally to check in with each other about whether recipients are ―shopping‖the providers.Retail Stores and Other Places to Purchase Food Twenty three retail food stores operate in Johnson County; seventeen stores participate inthe Food Stamp program. In total thirteen stores are located in Mountain City, four in Butler,two in Shady Valley, two in Laurel Bloomery, one in Neva, and one in Trade. A list of thesestores is included in Appendix B. An in-depth look at these stores is included in the FoodAvailability and Affordability section. Various produce stands have opened and closed from year to year. A handful ofproducers and resellers set up on the side of the road throughout the county and sell producefrom the back of their trucks. These stands are important entrepreneurial activities that capturelocal dollars for local producers. Spending money locally keeps dollars in the community andincreases local wealth through the multiplier effect. One consumer food cooperative has been organized by a few local residents. Thiscooperative purchases bulk whole foods such as dry beans, brown rice, quinoa, nuts, and flourevery other month. Many organic choices are available through this cooperative buying club.The food is delivered the month after orders are placed. Word of mouth is used to recruit newparticipants to this cooperative. Johnson County initiated a farmers market, Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM), in2009. This market competes with the larger markets of Bristol and Johnson City by keepinglocal products in the community. Many people involved in past attempts to initiate farmersmarkets have given their full support to this market which is chartered in the state of Tennesseeand has submitted its application to the IRS for designation as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.The mission of the JCFM is to ―help strengthen a local sustainable agricultural and food 23
  • 31. economy. [They] do this by providing education, engaging in community and economicdevelopment, and promoting the availability and benefits of local food and agriculture.‖26 The Johnson County Farmers Market received a grant from the USDA Farmers MarketPromotion Program in September 2009 with Appalachian Native Plants, Inc. as the fiscal agent.This grant allows vendors to accept food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) atthis market, provided support materials and labor needed to implement this program, andpromoted this service, the market, and its vendors. Nationwide, farmers markets startedaccepting food stamps only five years ago whereas grocery stores have been accepting thesebenefits for many years. JCFM subsequently received the opportunity to double dollars for foodstamp customers. This program made possible by a sub-grant through Appalachian SustainableDevelopment from the Wholesome Wave Foundation. The double dollar opportunity is a greatexample of how private funding can help support federal programs and increase the power oflocal food dollars that recycle within the community. With the assistance of our local health educator, the Johnson County Farmers Marketsubmitted applications in 2009 for to the Senior and WIC Farmers Market Nutrition AssistanceProgram (SFMNP and WICFMNP). The application was not selected. The FMNP programs arealso eligible for double dollar assistance with private funds. Residents believe that locallyproduced food is more expensive and is therefore unaffordable for low-income families. Thesetypes of farmers market programs help put money in the pockets of local food producers and alsooffer affordable fresh local foods for low-income consumers. Most retail food stores, including the farmers market, are located within Mountain Citymaking accessibility an issue for residents living in the outskirts of the county. These consumersaccess retail food stores in Virginia, North Carolina, and nearby cities like Elizabethton,Tennessee. Sales tax rates are lower in neighboring states, encouraging travel to make foodpurchases.Educational Programs Many educational programs are offered throughout Johnson County. The VocationalAgriculture program at the high school, Johnson County Farmers Market, local businesses,University of Tennessee Extension, and other organizations and individuals teach others aboutfood production, nutrition, cooking, and preservation. Johnson County High School has one of the nation’s leading Vocational Agricultureprograms. Students can select from classes ranging from greenhouse production, hydroponics,aquaponics, leadership, floriculture, agricultural mechanics, and various other topics. The Johnson County Farmers Market has hosted workshops open to the public: foodsafety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), domestic kitchen certification, seed saving andswapping, food independence/growing your own, beneficial garden insects, and ―tips and trickson how to sell at a farmers market‖. A week-long ―Camp Culinary‖ was hosted in July, 2010 by Mountain Citi Marketing.Connections were made with Southeast Culinary Institute, which sent two professional chefs andtheir assistants to teach various cooking techniques, knife skills and cutting styles, foodpresentation, decorative food art, nutrition, kitchen safety, and sanitation. Some of theassignments the students participated in were menu design, food graphics and in-depthdiscussions regarding our health and the way we eat. Nelson Chapel Baptist Church providedthe use of their state of the art kitchen in their new Family Life Center.26 24
  • 32. Casey Dorenbush of Mountain Citi Marketing was inspired by the JCCFAPP. Mr.Dorenbush set up meetings between Southeast Culinary Institute and the High School’sVocational School. Southeast Culinary Institute would be willing to provide dual enrollmentcredits for students in culinary arts if a relationship between these schools could be solidified. Camp Culinary, Summer 2010 Mountain Citi Marketing also hosted a Bluegrass Stomp at Heritage Hall in May 2010.Admission to the bluegrass show was $1 plus a non-perishable food item. These food itemswere given to Second Harvest Food Bank in Gray, Tennessee to benefit food pantries. The University of Tennessee Extension offers many educational programs throughTennessee Consumer Education Program (TNCEP), Family and Consumer Science (FCS), and4-H. These programs target consumers from pre-school to adult ages and provide a variety ofnutrition, food safety, cooking, and food preservation topics. TNCEP and 4-H connect withstudents in the school system while FCS works within the community. Much attention is givento cattle and hay production through other Extension programs. Every year, Johnson County UTExtension takes producers on tours of nurseries, cattle operations, and gives a small fruitworkshop. Consumers can contact the extension office to find out what programs they offer. Classrooms throughout the county teach children about plant biology, seed starting, plantproduction, food nutrition, and related topics. Neighbors share information with each other.Garden centers provide education to consumers. Information is available on the internet andthrough other locally available outlets. It is important to impress the power of knowledge andself education on all individuals in the community. Many, if not all, of the outlets and sourceslisted in the ―Community Food Resources‖ section would be happy to share information relatedto food production, distribution, consumption, and disposal with people who ask. 25
  • 33. Food Production and Consumption: The Agricultural Economy27Current Production The total land area in Johnson County is 249,600 acres.28 In 2007, just over a sixth of thatland area – 43,543 acres – was farmland. The majority of Johnson County farmland, about 59%of the total, includes woodland and other land used for pasture and grazing for farm animals. Infact, raising animals for food and dairy products is a significant part of the farm economy in thecounty, with more than half of all farms reporting cattle, hogs, sheep or chicken inventory in2007. Figure 14 provides a breakdown of Johnson County farms by category of farm productsand shows the value of agricultural products sold in 2002 and 2007.Figure 14: Breakdown of Farms by Product Breakdown of farms by category of farm product (include non-food farm crops) Value of agricultural products sold (total and by category) 2007 2007 2002 2002 $ $ Average per farm $10,997 $10,504 2007 2007 2002 2002 # of $ # of $ farms (thous) farms (thous) Total sales 513 5642 666 6996 Crops, including nursery and greenhouse 234 1923 394 3106 Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas 20 65 9 (D) Corn 20 65 (NA) (NA) Tobacco 22 228 251 1,621 Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 32 109 16 (D) Fruits, tree nuts, and berries 14 9 0 0 Nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod 15 882 42 700 Cut Christmas trees and short-rotation woody crops 9 321 13 324 Other crops and hay 166 308 137 263 Livestock, poultry, and their products 281 3719 316 3890 Poultry and eggs 16 3 2 (D) Cattle and calves 236 3514 270 3287 Milk and other dairy products from cows 3 (D) 2 (D) Hogs and pigs 0 0 8 6 Sheep, goats, and their products 27 24 11 8 Horses, ponies, mules, burros, and donkeys 32 91 32 (D)27 This section was prepared (under contract) by Charlie Jackson and Allison Perrett, Appalachian SustainableAgriculture Project (ASAP).28 2007 Census of Agriculture 26
  • 34. Aquaculture 1 (D) 2 (D) Other animals and other animal products 16 2 12 5 Value of agricultural products sold directly to individuals for human consumption 27 103 17 15 The remaining 41% of Johnson farmland, approximately 18,056 acres, was counted ascropland in 2007. Slightly less than three-fifths (10,559 acres) of that was harvested cropland,with the remainder used for pasture or grazing, cropland used for cover crops or in cultivatedsummer fallow, and cropland that was idle or not harvested that year.Cash Receipts from Farming Livestock, poultry, and their products accounted for about two-thirds of agriculturalreceipts in the area in 2007.29Figure 15: Value of Agricultural Products Sold Value of Agricultural Products Sold in Johnson County, 2007 Value of crops including nursery and greenhouse $1,923,000 34% Value of livestock, poultry and their products $3,719,000 66% Total $5,642,000 100% Cattle and calves sales were the largest contributor to this total, accounting for nearly62% of all cash receipts from farming that year. Within the crop category, nursery products andcut Christmas trees accounted for the largest portion of cash receipts, followed by tobacco,vegetables and then fruits, nuts and berries.29 2007 Census of Agriculture 27
  • 35. Figure 16: Cash Receipts from Farming by CategoryTrends in Farming and Farmland Echoing national trends in the decline of farms and farmland, the number of farms inJohnson County declined nearly 40% between 1992 and 2007.30 Acres of farmland declined from54,518 in 1992 to 43,543 in 2007 or 20%. The number of operators declined from 896 in 2002 to763 in 2007.Aging of the Farm Population According to the USDA, the average age of farmers has increased every year since 1978.The average age of all US farm operators has been greater than 50 years of age since at least the1974 census. Between 2002 and 2007, the national average age increased from 55.3 years of ageto 57.1 years of age.31 Similarly, the average age of farm operators in Johnson County increasedfrom 56 years of age in 2002 to 58.7 years of age in 2007.32 Definite relationships exist between age of farm operator and particular farmcharacteristics. For example, family farms typically have older farm operators than corporatefarms, and farms in smaller income classes typically have older farm operators than largerincome class farms.33 With the concentration of small family farms in the region, it is notsurprising that the average operator age in Johnson County is higher than the national average. Beginning in 2002 the USDA began gathering additional information about farm operatorcharacteristics to clarify issues related to the aging of the farm population, such as farmsuccession plans and the extent to which young farmers are replacing older farmers as they retirefrom farming. The new data indicate that only about 9% of all farms nationwide had multipleoperators from different generations working on their farms as farm operators. The likelihood of30 2007 Census of Agriculture31 Farmers by Age, 2007 Census of Agriculture32 County Level Data, Tennessee, 2007 Census of Agriculture33 What We Know About the Demographics of US Farm Operators, 2005, National Agricultural Statistics Service,USDA 28
  • 36. having multiple operators is significantly lower for lower income class farms that predominate inthis region.The Tobacco Buyout and Related Shifts in Production The single largest influence on the East Tennessee farm economy in recent years iscommonly referred to as the 2004 tobacco buyout. Partial effects of the buyout began in themid-1990s as growers began anticipating the end of federal tobacco support. Quota cuts andfalling prices during the 1990s also contributed to a changing landscape of tobacco production inthe region. The buyout refers to the Fair and Equitable Transition Act passed by Congress onOctober 22, 2004. The legislation eliminated federal price support and supply control programs,which had regulated tobacco production and marketing since the Great Depression era. Itopened tobacco to an unregulated, free market system beginning with the 2005 crop. Paymentsto growers and quota owners under the tobacco buyout are scheduled to take place over tenyears, which means that the full effects of the buyout will not be known for some time. Until recently, tobacco was the leading crop in Johnson County, but the number of farmsproducing tobacco decreased dramatically from 253 farms producing tobacco on 549 acres in2002 to just 22 farms in 2007 on 136 acres.34Consolidation in the Food System Over the past four decades, concentration in the ownership and management of foodproduction and marketing has dramatically restructured the agricultural and food industries in theUS and globally. Horizontal and vertical integration, mergers and acquisitions, and the use ofsupply chain management strategies are the mechanisms by which change has occurred. 35 Theresult is that fewer but larger companies have come to dominate each stage of production,processing, and distribution. Consolidation in retail and wholesale markets makes it increasinglydifficult for small farmers to maintain their market share.Opportunities in Local Markets Despite these trends, significant opportunities exist for Johnson County producers in localmarkets. Small farms, like those in Johnson County, have largely been excluded from the trendfavoring fewer, larger farms and fewer, larger markets. Local markets present small producers, inparticular, with increased market options, and offer markets that are less vulnerable to globalprice fluctuations. ASAP’s 2007 study on the food and farming economy of the 23 counties of WesternNorth Carolina quantified demand for locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at that time to be$36 million per year and as high as $452 million for all locally grown foods. The popularity anddemand for locally grown food in the last half decade likely makes these estimates lower than theactual immediate potential. Consumer surveys not only demonstrated strong demand, theysuggested the willingness of consumers in Western North Carolina to pay more for local food.For the vast majority of consumers surveyed, local food offered a fresher, tastier option to foods34 County Level Data, Tennessee, 2007 Census of Agriculture35 For a fuller discussion of these issues, see Kirby, Laura D., Charlie Jackson, and Allison Perrett. 2007. ―TheInfrastructure of Food Procurement and Distribution‖ in Growing Local: Expanding the North Carolina Food andFarming Economy, Asheville, NC: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. 29
  • 37. produced in more distant regions and a way to support local farmers, local communities, ahealthy environment, and the rural character of the region. These attitudes are supported by national market research by the Hartman Group andJWT Advertising, which have identified local as one of the food attributes most highly valued byconsumers nationwide. These marketing experts have predicted that consumer demand will shiftfrom organics to locally sourced food. The research group, Packaged Facts, has predicted that themarket for locally-grown food will reach $7 billion in 2011.Consumer Food Spending and Consumption Figures for Johnson County and Tri-CitiesConsumer Spending Johnson County residents spent $41,882,188 on food in 2007.36 The average householdspent $3,311 on groceries and $2,470 on food consumed in other places that year. For JohnsonCounty, where 18,112 residents, including 2,000 inmates, equals 7244.8 households, this figurebreaks down to $23,987,532 spent on food consumed at home and $17,894,656 spent on foodconsumed away from home. A little less than three quarters of all away-from-home foodspending typically occurs in restaurants.37 Demand for local food and farm products will be a subset of these figures, though actualconsumer spending on local food and farm products is difficult to calculate. The USDA collectslimited data on sales from farmers to consumers and collects no data regarding sales fromfarmers to businesses, organizations, or institutions in specific geographic areas.Consumption Estimates Figures 17, 18, and 19 show consumption estimates for various product categories.Figure 17, beginning with Column 1, shows consumption estimates in pounds for selected freshfruits and vegetables. Column 2 shows acreage needed to grow those amounts, and Column 3shows how many acres are devoted to growing the crops in the county. Acreage data should beviewed with caution. In some cases the USDA suppresses county-level data, for example whenproduction is limited or only one or two farms report growing a particular crop. In other casesreported acreage may be higher than actual acreage because of formulas used by the USDA tocreate county profiles based on limited information.36 2007 Consumer Expenditure Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Calculations based on per consumer unitestimates for the South region of the US37 Table 3 in Food Away from Home. Total Expenditures. Food CPI and Expenditures Briefing Room. EconomicResearch Service, USDA 30
  • 38. Figure 17: Comparison of Consumption and Production Comparison of Consumption and Production of Selected Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Johnson County Column 1: Lbs consumed Column 2: Column 3: (rounded to the Acres needed Acres nearest to produce devoted to hundredth) that amount the crop Apples 292,900 24 4+ Asparagus 21,400 - - Beans (Snap) 38,200 9 6+ Blueberries 14,500 2 3+ Broccoli 107,600 17 - Cabbage 148,300 6 - Carrots 146,200 6 - Cauliflower 28,400 4 - Corn (Sweet) 166,800 17 13+ Cucumbers 122,100 9 - Grapes 154,500 18 - Lettuce (Head) 305,500 13 - Peaches 91,800 12 3+ Peppers (Bell) 178,400 17 - Potatoes 664,700 41 10+ Spinach 29,300 3 - Strawberries 116,800 10 - Tomatoes 335,100 12 7+ Watermelons 279,800 11 - Source: (Column 1) ERS/USDA Data Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System: Food Guide Pyramid (2008); (Column 2 and Column 3) 2007 Census of Agriculture Figure 18 shows figures for meat consumption in Johnson County. While the productionof beef outstrips consumption, the majority of Johnson County beef production is in cow/calfoperations. In other regions with maturing local food economies, shifts are occurring to grass-fed, artisanal, and niche markets. Access to a government-inspected processing facility is theprincipal infrastructure obstacle for any type of meat, but grass-fed and grass-finished beef alsorequires land for pasture, on-farm animal handling facilities, and adequate cold storage forprocessed meat products. To shift into this type of production, cow/calf producers would need tolearn and adopt new practices including, for example, more closely managed grazing and pasturemanagement. 31
  • 39. Figure 18: Meat Consumption in Johnson County Lbs. Consumed Lbs. Produced (2008) (rounded (2008) (rounded to nearest to nearest hundredth) hundredth) Beef 1,657,200 2,703,000 Chicken (broilers) 1,767,700 N/A Pork 1,141,100 N/A Lamb 19,900 N/A Turkey 318,800 N/A Source: 2007 Census of Agriculture Figure 19 shows that an estimated 864,000 pounds of milk were produced in JohnsonCounty in 2007. Some portion of that amount is marketed as fluid milk and some is used to makecheese and other processed dairy products. No information is available from government sourcesdetailing the end uses of milk produced in the county.Figure 19: Dairy Consumption in Johnson County Lbs. Consumed Lbs. Produced (2008) (rounded (2008) (rounded to nearest to nearest hundredth) hundredth) Fluid Milk 3,243,900 864,000 All cheese 541,500 N/A All frozen dairy 452,800 N/A Yogurt 213,700 N/A Butter 90,600 N/A Source: 2007 Census of Agriculture 32
  • 40. Figure 20 shows the consumption of processed fruits and vegetables in Johnson County.With strong demand for ready-to-eat foods, processing fruits and vegetables for local sale maybe one way to expand local consumption of local farm products.Figure 20: Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables Consumption of Selected Categories of Processed Fruits and Vegetables in Johnson County, TN Lbs. Consumed (2008) (rounded to nearest Processed fruits hundredth) Canned apples/applesauce 79,900 Canned peaches 54,000 Apple juice 465,100 Frozen berries 61,600 Canned pears 40,600 Grape juice 89,700 Other processed fruits 1,440,600 Processed vegetables - Canned tomatoes 1,217,100 Canned cucumbers (pickles) 64,300 Canned snap beans 60,000 Canned carrots 17,400 Other canned vegetables 365,500 Frozen vegetables 1,380,100 Dehydrated vegetables 537,900 Source: ERS/USDA Data Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System: Food Guide Pyramid There is an upper limit to the amount of produce retail food stores can buy from regionalgrowers based on climate and soil. Johnson County farmers could not supply 100% of produceto local retailers because they cannot grow oranges, lemons, or bananas, for example, no matterhow much local food infrastructure is improved. They can, however, 38 different types of fruitsand vegetables that accounted for 80% of produce sales in retail outlets nationwide in 2005. InFigure 21, those 38 items are listed along with their corresponding share or percentage of totalretail produce sales in Johnson County. Based on the table, and an adjustment for seasonality in Johnson County, farmers couldgrow 80 percent of retail produce items for a third of the year, or 26 percent of the total (80% X33% = 26%). In other words, farmers can grow all of the items listed in the above table, butsome only in the four months of the summer season and others only in the winter season. Someitems, like apples, can be supplied to local markets for more than four months and others for less.Without being able to calculate exactly how many months each item would be available to localmarkets, the 26 percent is intended to provide a reasonable adjustment for the seasonality ofproduction in the region. 33
  • 41. Figure 21: Market Share of Retail for Fruits and Vegetables $ Share of Retail Produce Sales for Selected Fruits and Vegetables % of Total % of Total % of Total Produce Produce Produce Sales in Vegetables Sales in Sales in Vegetables 2005 (Continued) 2005 Fruits 2005 Asparagus 1.3 Mushrooms 2.3 Apples 7.7 Beans 1.1 Onions 4.2 Berries 6.3 Broccoli 1.9 Parsnip 0.1 Cherries 1.6 Beets 0.1 Peas 0.3 Grapes 7.3 Cabbage 0.7 Peppers 3.2 Nectarines 1 Carrots 3.2 Potatoes 5.8 Melons 5.3 Cauliflower 0.7 Pumpkins 0.2 Peaches 1.5 Celery 1.6 Radishes 0.4 Pears 1.2 Corn 1.2 Roots 0.1 Plums 0.8 Cucumbers 1.8 Spinach 0.7 Eggplant 0.2 Sprouts 0.2 Garlic 0.4 Squash 1.5 Sweet Greens 0.3 potatoes 0.8 Leeks 0.1 Tomatoes 8.5 Lettuce 4.1 Column Totals 18.7 28.3 32.7Total share of produce accounted for by fruits & vegetables that can be grown in East Tennessee:79.7%.3838 Fresh Look Marketing, (reported by Produce Marketing Association) 34
  • 42. Food Store SurveysFood Availability and Affordability The Food Store Survey Instrument provided in the USDA Community Food SecurityAssessment Toolkit (Cohen 2002) was used to assess the availability and affordability of food inJohnson County. The food store survey uses the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), a plan for a nutritiousdiet devised by the USDA for people participating in Federal food assistance programs. The costof a TFP ―market basket‖ is updated monthly by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy andPromotion, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is prepared by the Federalgovernment’s Bureau of Labor Statistics; it documents the price changes in items and servicesfor consumers. The Food Store Survey Instrument provides a comparison between prices paid in JohnsonCounty and the national average. For the JCCFAPP we chose to compare prices for a family offour (couple aged 19-50 and two children ages 6-8 and 9-11). The survey outlines 87 items,referred to as the ―market basket,‖ that would provide a wholesome diet, giving desiredweight/units for each item. It requires the researcher to document the brand, actual weight/units,and lowest price for each item. The USDA Toolkit (Cohen 2002) suggests surveys should seek toanswer the following questions: Is a variety of food available in retail stores? Are the available foods affordable to low-income households? Can the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) market basket be purchased from these retailers at or below the TFP cost threshold set by USDA? The first step in the survey process was to contact the managers of various food stores inJohnson County, asking permission to conduct surveys of their store inventories. Of the storesresponding, surveys were conducted to eight different food stores in Johnson County. Thesestores included two supermarkets, three convenience stores, two small groceries, and onegrocery/gasoline store. After collecting data from the eight food stores in Johnson County, a comprehensiveanalysis of the pricing and availability of 85 items on the survey were completed. However, wewere unable to give proper calculations and comparisons on two of the items. We thencompared these prices to the national standards provided by the USDA and give an overallpicture of availability and affordability of food in Johnson County. According to the Authorized Food Retailer’s Characteristics and Access Study, by theUSDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in 1997 (as cited in Cohen 2002), food itemsthroughout the food store types should be carried at the following levels:Figure 22: Percentage of Ideal Food Availability Supermarkets 95% Large Grocery Stores 81% All Stores 54% Grocery/Gas Store Combinations 53% Small Grocery Stores 51% Convenience Stores 50% Other Stores 29% Specialty Stores 20% 35
  • 43. The findings of the survey shows stores in Johnson County carry these items at thefollowing levels:Figure 23: Percentage of Actual Food Availability Supermarkets 97.01% Small Grocery Stores 61.17% Grocery/Gas Store Combinations 25.88% Convenience Stores 32.16% The data reflects a slightly higher than average availability of food in supermarkets andsmall grocery stores in Johnson County. However, it also reflects a deficiency of foodavailability at convenience stores and grocery/gas store combinations, approximately 18% and27% respectively. It is important to note that two of the three stores with better than averageprices are the Mountain City supermarkets surveyed. Five of the eight stores surveyed alsooperated a deli and/or grill. In addition to documenting the average food availability by store type, we also calculatedthe average percent of missing food categories for all stores. These calculations of missing fooditems provides an understanding of what types of foods are being carried in the various foodstores surveyed. The food categories were determined by the USDA to meet federal dietaryguidelines.Figure 24: Percentage Missing Food Items by Category Fresh Fruit 62.50 Fresh Vegetables 57.14 Canned Fruit 37.50 Canned Vegetables 25.00 Frozen Fruits and Vegetables 70.00 Fresh Bread and Grains 41.07 Dry Bread and Grains 35.94 Fresh Dairy 55.00 Canned Dairy 37.50 Fresh Meat 58.93 Frozen and Canned Meat 37.50 Fats and Oils 15.63 Sugars and Sweets 43.75 Other Food Items 40.13 The above table illustrates average deficits of 50%, or more, in fresh fruits, freshvegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh dairy and fresh meat in the surveyed food stores,forcing people to rely on prepackaged foods for the majority of meals. This survey instrument contained few low-cholesterol, low sugar, low-sodium, and/orvegetarian items that people with special dietary needs might need. Items such as these were notin the survey. Therefore, we cannot assume that these items are either available or unavailable. In considering the cost of buying a week’s worth of grocery on the USDA’s Thrifty FoodPlan, we found varying costs throughout the county. The costs of the TFP were determined byusing each individual store price, converting the price to cost per pound, and then multiplying 36
  • 44. that cost per pound by the Thrifty Food Plan guidelines for the weight required for one week.These calculations were done for each of the 85 items on the survey list, giving us a TFP cost peritem. After these calculations were completed, the TFP item costs were tallied for each store,giving a total to compare to the USDA guidelines for the month of June 2010.Figure 25: Store Thrifty Food Plan vs. Federal Thrifty Food Plan Guideline Store Missing Items TFP Cost Supermarket 1 Missing 1 Item $114.43 Supermarket 2 Missing 4 Items $113.02 Small Grocery 1 Missing 37 Items $55.59 Small Grocery 2 Missing 29 Items $68.91 Convenience Store 1 Missing 70 Items $8.77 Convenience Store 2 Missing 68 Items $27.03 Convenience Store 3 Missing 35 Items $99.96 Gas/Grocery Combination Missing 63 Items $29.57 USDA Guideline - TFP Cost for June 2010 Missing 0 Items $134.50 From the data above we can see there are a wide range of prices throughout JohnsonCounty, depending on the item and store location. Comparing supermarkets to the USDA TFPGuidelines, the costs of food at the supermarkets are below TFP Cost for the month of June. Wedid this by also calculating the average cost of the items across all the stores surveyed and addedin averages for missing items.Figure 26: Store Thrifty Food Plan without Missing Items vs. Guidelines Store Average Missing Item TFP Cost + Cost Missing Items Supermarket 1 $4.26 $118.69 Supermarket 2 $6.88 $119.90 Small Grocery 1 $86.20 $141.79 Small Grocery 2 $61.20 $130.11 Convenience Store 1 $129.97 $138.74 Convenience Store 2 $120.03 $147.06 Convenience Store 3 $63.36 $163.32 Gas/Grocery Combination $107.13 $136.70 USDA Guideline - TFP Cost for June Missing 0 Items $134.50 2010By adding in the average cost of the missing items, three of the eight stores surveyed in JohnsonCounty sold TFP food for less than the guidelines set forth by the USDA. Since the completion of the data collection, one of the stores surveyed has closed itsdoors. This affected the accessibility, as well as the affordability and availability of food forconsumers in the county. It also changes the marketplace for other food stores in the area,providing them with a larger consumer base while requiring a larger, possibly more diverse,inventory to maintain the base. The closing of this store could have profound effects on thedistance some people must travel to buy their food. 37
  • 45. Availability and affordability of food relates back to accessibility. All of thesupermarkets are located within Mountain City limits. As previously discussed, Mountain Citysupermarkets have acceptable food availability when compared to the TFP basket. The grocerystores, convenience stores and grocery/gas combination stores are primarily located in theoutlying areas of the county. Stores outside the city limits show marked deficiencies in theavailability of these food items. In going back to the three questions we set out to answer, we can definitively answer thesecond question. A variety of food is not available in all the food stores surveyed. The datareflects six or eight stores show 29 or more missing items, equal to or greater than 34.12% of theTFP items. The items most frequently missing in inventories were fresh fruit, fresh vegetables,frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh dairy and fresh meat. The second question was, ―Can the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) market basket be purchasedfrom these retailers at or below the TFP cost threshold set by USDA?‖ Based on ourcalculations, the Thrifty Food Plan cannot be purchased from all retailers at or below the TFPcost threshold. While three of the eight stores are less expensive than the TFP cost threshold, themajority of retailers are more expensive. The higher prices for the five stores demonstrate thatmore money must be spent from a family’s budget on food than directed by the Federalgovernment under the Thrifty Food Plan.Food Accessibility The assessment of food resource accessibility provides a snapshot of where and howJohnson County residents obtain food. The USDA Toolkit provided us with four primaryquestions to explore: Are food resources located near low-income neighborhoods? Is public and/or private transportation available between the resources and low- income neighborhoods? What barriers influence people’s use of community food resources? Does the community have the infrastructure necessary to deliver Federal food assistance benefits effectively? Information provided through focus groups, community meetings, surveys, observations,and research over the course of the JCFAPP helped us answer these questions, but also createdmore questions in the process. We had to take into consideration a slightly different set of circumstances when it comesto food resource locations and transportation. As stated previously in the ―Socioeconomic andDemographic Characteristics,‖ Johnson County has a population of 18,112 with 25.8% ofresidents living below the federal poverty line.39 The ruralism of Johnson County creates aproblem for defining low-income ―neighborhoods‖; the 25.8% of low-income households arewidely dispersed throughout the county. There are at least four subsidized housingneighborhoods within the Mountain City limits. For these residents, food resources are nearby. The highest levels of food resource accessibility are found in Mountain City. Most of thestores, social services, food pantries, and other food locations are based in Mountain City, givingthe citizens of the town better food resource accessibility. The lack of public transportation is abarrier to acquiring food resources for those without vehicles, especially during inclementweather or for those with disabilities and/or health problems.39 Johnson County, Tennessee, State and County QuickFacts, U. S. Census Bureau 38
  • 46. Accessibility to food requires availability and affordability, in assessing food security inany community. ―Maximizing the effectiveness of Federal food assistance programs requires thatsufficient quantities of healthful foods are available in the marketplace at prices low-incomehouseholds can afford.‖ (Cohen 2002) Although this is a correct statement, we perceive thisassessment as a valuable tool for all households in Johnson County looking to maximize fooddollars. The outlying areas of Butler, Doe Valley, Shady Valley, Laurel Bloomery, Neva, andTrade all have some type of convenience gas station or small grocery offering a limitedinventory of food resources; however, to visit a supermarket or larger grocery requires membersof those communities to travel into Mountain City or other counties to do their shopping. Thelack of public transportation in these areas greatly impacts low-income households. Peoplewithout vehicles must rely on family, friends, churches, and social services to transport them tofood resource locations. While collecting survey data, people were observed sharing rides tofood pantries because they lacked transportation. In some cases, delivery drivers pick up largenumbers of food bags to take to homebound recipients and others who do not have access totransportation. Resident’s use of community food resources are influenced by several factors besidesdistance and transportation problems. Use of food resources depends on shopping patterns,federal programs, education, general knowledge, and stigma; all of these pieces areinterdependent and work with and affect food procurement strategies of Johnson Countyresidents. The historic knowledge of gardening, canning, and preserving in rural areas has been onthe decline in recent years. This decrease in traditional knowledge affects shopping patterns forJohnson County residents. Instead of nutritional foods and fresh produce being purchased andprocessed, prepackaged items are bought. This has, in turn, reduced profits for fresh producestands in the county, affecting their long term viability. This reduces the affordability andavailability of fresh produce. A general lack of information is also a food resource barrier. In the course of our study,we determined some people were not aware the Johnson County Farmers Market accepts EBT(Electronic Benefit Transfer), what has been historically referred to as food stamps. In manycases, when we asked survey respondents if they were aware that the Farmers Market accepted―food stamps‖, they were very excited and said they were not aware. However, we were alsoconscious of an effort by the Johnson County Farmers Market to let people know they weretaking ―EBT‖. The farmers market was just beginning to get the word out. This seemingly smallbreakdown in communication, the disassociation of the terms ―EBT‖ and ―food stamps‖, causeda food location barrier to occur for low-income households. In another instance, we found some food pantries are advertised, but not actuallyfunctioning. While this is a dynamic situation that changes depending on the amount of food, itcan be one of great frustration to those in need. If residents take time to drive to a food pantrythat is not open, time, money, and energy are wasted. The individual is discouraged andreluctant to return or to seek food. Program gaps are also an issue in Johnson County. Through the schools we seesuccessful, comprehensive food programs for children and adolescents. We also seeprogramming, such as Meals on Wheels, for elderly and homebound residents in the county.However, there is a gap in programming, outside of federal and church-coordinated programs fordelivering meals and food to residents between the ages of 18 to 65. Over 30% of county 39
  • 47. residents are permanently disabled and additional residents are temporarily disabled orhomebound. Disability also affects food procurement. One survey respondent said, ―I had backsurgery and was under doctor’s orders to not do anything for three weeks. I called a few places tosee about assistance in getting food and found that no one could really help me, especially whenit came to delivering food. Outside of a few meals made by friends and people at church I had togo to the store; I couldn’t not eat.‖ In the analysis of food resource accessibility, it has been determined there are a numberof barriers to securing food resources in Johnson County. Access is limited by both social andeconomic factors. Although many food resource locations exist, they are sometimes difficult toget to, only supply a limited number of items, or are cost-prohibitive to an individual or family.In addition, miscommunication and misinformation can lead to decreased access to foodresources. The federal programs in Johnson County are comprehensive and do provide somefood security; however, stigma, education, and knowledge all play roles in the shopping patternsof the individuals most at risk for food insecurity. Reliable sources of transportation are vital tolife in a rural county, especially in food security. Without access to transportation, people cannotaccess food resource locations or federal programs. As to the overall question of food availability, affordability, and accessibility for low-income households, this really depends on where families shop. It also depends on their level offederal assistance and their access to transportation. Indeed, this is a subjective question thatdefies a single answer. However, we do see a trend that people are worried about the cost of foodand transportation and the potential loss of jobs, which play a direct role in availability,affordability, and accessibility of food. 40
  • 48. Interviews with Key Stakeholders To evaluate community needs, nursing students from East Tennessee State Universityconducted 16 interviews at the beginning of the Food Assessment and Planning Process. Thepeople interviewed were chosen based on their firsthand knowledge and experience with thelocal Johnson County food system, and were identified by the Johnson County Food SecurityCouncil. Farmers, government officials, community service personnel, and health educatorswere interviewed. The specific questions varied between the interviewers, the answers were grouped basedon theme. Except for the farmer interviews, which will be discussed later, the questions includedperceptions of food security in Johnson County, barriers to food security, specific assistanceprograms available to residents, and recommendations to improve food security in the county. The general perception of food security among the interviewees was that there areindividuals and families struggling to get enough to eat, though two government officials didmention that it was probably negligence on the part of the parents if their children were hungrybecause there is assistance for people who need it. All the other interviewees however, agreedthat there is a definite food security problem, and most mentioned that even if people do haveenough food to prevent hunger, food often is not healthy and nutritious. According to every stakeholder, the largest barrier to food security is education.Education was mentioned in several different contexts, ranging from basic gardening skills toknowledge of how a local food economy operates. A lack of communication was cited by one ofthe government officials, in the context of Johnson County being rural, making it difficult toeducate the people who live far from the county’s only incorporated town, Mountain City. Thislack of knowledge was echoed by several other interviewees, in terms of people being unawareof assistance programs. The rural nature of the county also contributes to limited transportation,as people may find it difficult to get to food pantries or WIC and food stamp registrationlocations. Additionally, although Johnson County has recently implemented a farmers market,residents travel to it, and not everyone has access to transportation. One interviewee mentioneda new taxi service in Johnson County that may transport some people with fare. Education was certainly the most cited barrier to food security, several other barrierswere mentioned. The educators in particular had a long list of barriers, but including problemswith receiving and using federal assistance, fast-paced lifestyles, cooking healthy food, lack oftransportation (both public and private), the relative affordability of unhealthy food, and lack offresh fruits and vegetables in the food distribution programs. The government officials and oneof the educators mentioned the poor economy as a contributor to food insecurity, as there are fewopportunities in the current job market. As one educator put it, ―[We’re] losing [our] youthbecause there aren’t any jobs available.‖ A variety of food assistance programs were mentioned, but there was a lack of consistentresponses among the interviewees, indicating the aforementioned deficiency in communicationand need for education. The educators specifically talked about the Commodities program,Summer Lunch Program, the Catholic Church distribution, the Food Lion bakery give away ofolder baked goods to food assistance programs, and the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.The Senior Center employees mentioned the Commodities Program, the school and summerprograms, and added that there are seven food pantries, and the congregate and homebounddelivery meals their center provides. The government officials seemed unaware of many of theprograms, suggesting that food pantries would be helpful. Officials are aware of the Community 41
  • 49. Center and Neighborhood Service Center, which has a Thursday distribution from a localgrocery store and runs the federal commodities distribution, but believe there is a lack of optionsand government assistance. This lack of consistency among the interviewees reveals theshortcomings of communication and awareness of programs throughout the county. It alsodemonstrates a need for educating the public, including public officials, about the variousassistance opportunities available to Johnson County residents. A list of these federal foodprograms is included in Appendix A. Recommendations for educating the public include teaching people about the economicsof buying locally and home cooking, nutritional education, and knowledge about the variousassistance programs. Transportation was also mentioned by multiple people, including residents’ability to reach pantries or distribution centers, and the lack of assistance programs to deliverfood to residents. The school district employees emphasized the need for federal funding andexpressed frustration with some of the rules and bureaucracy surrounding the federal SchoolLunch and Breakfast programs. There was a consensus among all those interviewed, includingthe farmers, that people need more education about growing and processing their own food. Thecommunity personnel discussed educating people using language they can understand, andperhaps providing education on farms instead of hoping farmers will come to classes. They saidthat farmers have been doing what they do for years or generations, and thus don’t feelcompelled to attend classes, but if individuals brought education to the farmers, the farmerswould be willing to listen. This willingness to cooperate, given the right circumstances, was expressed in the fourfarmer interviews. The farmers all had small farms, and produced a variety of goods, fromproduce to jams and jellies to meat and dairy. When asked why they farm, the most commonreason was because they wanted to know where their food was grown. As one farmer said, ―Itties in largely with a self-sufficient lifestyle, and knowing what goes into raising your food.‖The farmers also wanted to eat and produce higher quality goods than could be found atsupermarkets or grocery stores. Other reasons for farming included: money, keeping up thefamily business, and the benefits of exercise that comes with farming. While the farmers all seemed to enjoy their chosen occupation, they did face manychallenges, including the time it takes to farm, the juggling of family concerns and work, andlegal issues, such as restrictions on direct marketing. As far as Johnson County as a whole, theinterviewees felt that it was difficult to start farms because people have a lack of knowledge andexperience, and start-up costs can be high. Also, they all expressed the immense challenge ofmarketing and advertising. For the farms to be successful and part of a sustainable local food economy there needs tobe a local demand and market for their goods. The farmers market is one place to take theirgoods, but each one of the farmers said they would like the market to be in Mountain City itself,a more visible location. They also wanted to see more advertising for the market, and morevendors. The farmers market was discussed in the interviews, and the farmers were asked specificquestions about it. Across the board, the farmers thought the market should be located in a morecentral location in Mountain City itself, have more advertising, and include more vendors. Thefarmers spoke of the difficulty in attracting vendors because of the lack of customers at the localfarmers market. Many people have been taking their goods to markets in larger cities, such asBristol or Kingsport, for years. More money can be made at these larger city markets withhigher population numbers, than at the Johnson County Farmers Market. 42
  • 50. The farmers were all very appreciative of community support, but like the otherinterviewees, thought that education could create a local market. They specifically mentionededucating people about the benefits of buying and eating local food, and nutritional education topromote eating fruits and vegetables. The most significant roadblock seems to be the lack of acompetitive local market, and education could be the first step to creating one. 43
  • 51. Focus Groups A focus group is essentially a group interview or small-group discussion session. Thegroup is facilitated by a moderator and designed to engage the participants in discussion on aspecific topic. The USDA Toolkit (Cohen 2002) recommends focus groups on the followingtopics: key informants, household food security, food shopping patterns, household foodassistance, and community food production resources. A group for key informants was notneeded because students from East Tennessee State University conducted interviews with thekey informants (see pg. 40 for results of these interviews). Of the remaining topics that pertainto consumers—household food security, food shopping patterns, and household foodassistance—the Food Security Council determined that household food security was mostimportant to them. We decided to organize five focus groups for consumers, with each groupasked the same set of questions. The questions mostly focused on strategies for coping withhousehold food insecurity and ideas for building community food security and sustainability inthe local food system. Additional questions provided information on shopping patterns and useof food assistance programs. Farmers and growers participated in the sixth group, whichincluded questions on community food production resources. Questions were based on samplequestions from the USDA Toolkit, library research (especially Krueger 2009), and input from theCouncil. The list of questions used for the focus groups is included in Appendix D. We used several strategies to recruit participants. A ―help wanted‖ flyer was posted anddistributed in public places around the county; a short announcement was also submitted to thelocal paper and the local AM radio station. Collaborating with survey collection at the foodpantries, however, was the most effective outreach strategy. Members of the JCCFAPP projectteam went to the food pantries on distribution day and surveyed the recipients as they arrived.After completing a survey, recipients were asked if they were also interested in participating in afocus group. If so, their contact information was recorded. Later, we followed up with each ofthese individuals by telephone and asked them a series of ―screening‖ questions to determinetheir suitability for participation in a focus group. These questions were also based on thesample questions in the USDA Toolkit and input from the Council. Producers were selectedbased on suggestions from the Council and were also screened. Consumers were grouped according to income and frequency of household foodshortages. We wanted them to have relatively similar standing in regard to household foodsecurity so they would feel comfortable sharing their experiences with one another. The lowincome groups included people who worry about running out of food on a regular basis; relyheavily on food pantries and food assistance programs, and whose annual household income iswell below the federal poverty line.40 The middle income group included people who usuallyhave enough to eat but work hard to stretch their food budget. The annual household income ofthese folks is just above the poverty line; most of them work but they are one emergency awayfrom food insecurity. The upper income group included people who have plenty of money andfood. Many of them were involved in efforts to feed the hungry through food pantries at theirchurch. The producer group included individuals who make a living growing and selling: beef,vegetables, orchard crops (e.g. apples, peaches), and value added products (e.g. jams, jellies,baked goods). Their farms ranged in size from 180 acres for grazing cattle to 5 acres of diverse40 44
  • 52. vegetables. Several of the participants had been farming all their lives, while others were justgetting started.Figure 27: Demographics of Focus Group Participants (Consumers) Gender Age Community of Residence # of Fe-Income partici- Male < 35 35-45 46-55 56-65 66< Mt. City Butler Laurel Trade male pantsLow 23 7 16 1 5 14 1 2 16 2 4 1Middle 10 1 9 3 2 5 8 1 1Upper 8 4 4 1 5 2 7 1 Four consumer groups were conducted between March 18 and March 31, 2010. Oneproducer group was held on April 5, 2010. The goal was to have 8-10 participants in each groupfor a grand total of 48 participants. However, due to the large size of one of the consumergroups, we were able to attain the goal of 48 total participants in only five focus groups ratherthan six. Groups ranged in size from 7-14 participants, the median group size was 9. Eachparticipant received a $40 payment. Everyone also received two copies of a consent form; one tokeep and one to sign. Signed copies have been kept on file. Audio recordings were made andtranscribed. One Council member moderated the groups while another took notes. Allidentifying information collected in the groups - including the transcriptions, notes andrecordings - has been kept confidential. Three morning groups were held at the Mountain City/Johnson County CommunityCenter; lunch was provided after the discussion. Two evening groups were held at First BaptistChurch; dinner was provided upon arrival. Another Council member volunteered to help withthe food; she made a special effort to prepare healthy food. Because transportation can be abarrier to participation for low-income individuals, we initially intended to host groups indifferent areas of the county. Ultimately, we were not able to recruit enough participants fromother communities to make it worthwhile to host any of the groups in communities besidesMountain City. In addition, participants did not identify transportation as a barrier; they seemedaccustomed driving into Mountain City on a regular basis.ConsumersHunger and Food Insecurity All of the low-income households participating in focus groups reported they had worriedabout running out of food during the past year. About half of the middle-income householdsreported the same. Most of the low-income households also reported that they worry aboutrunning out of food EVERY MONTH. While most upper-income households do manage theirfood budget to avoid waste and overspending, they do not worry about going hungry. Food insecurity is clearly a widespread problem in Johnson County. Several residentsreported not having enough money to cover their basic expenses (food, health care, and housing)every month—even if they were receiving public assistance. Because hunger is a symptom ofpoverty, these concerns are tied to larger concerns about the economy, loss of jobs (especiallymanufacturing jobs that have gone overseas), and lack of opportunities for young people to makea living in Johnson County. 45
  • 53. And a lot of us just can’t hardly live. The income ain’t good. I think a lot of people… I know me, I mean if you have that many girls. You feed your kids first and whatever else is left, if that’s what you have, well you’re going to eat it. When the kids are missing so much school, I say to them, “Did you have a great time on your days off?” Sometimes kids would say to me, “I like to come to school because we get to eat here.” They didn’t have enough to eat at home. It’s heartbreaking. I know quite a few people that their medicine was so expensive that they didn’t get to buy no food that month.This problem is compounded by rising food prices. Sometimes you got to go to three grocery stores just to get a little bag, because the prices of everything… Well if everything is real high and they’re not having no sales, then your money’s not going to go that far. So I mean a little tiny bag can cost you $30 and you ain’t got nothing. I was volunteering down there at [a local produce stand]. And they’re expensive, but we’re finding out that it’s expensive everywhere. It’s just the cost of living is going up. Johnson County families (in all income groups) are very resourceful, stretching their foodbudgets and making food last longer. While shopping they: stock up at the beginning of themonth, buy generic items at the grocery store, sacrifice quality for lower price (particularly withmeat), select cheap food (e.g. spaghetti, rice, beans), and buy food on sale. At home they: makesure that leftovers are not wasted, freeze items bought in bulk so that they do not spoil, addgarden vegetables to home cooked meals increasing the number of servings, eat seasonalvegetables when they are plentiful, preserve food during the growing season, make soup or otherdishes that provide many servings, choose ingredients creatively to make the most out of whatthey have, and prepare meals from scratch to save money on processed items (e.g. bread, potatochips). If I am getting toward the end of my food budget, then I go in my freezer and I see what I’ve stored in there and make sure that I use it. So it doesn’t go to waste. We kind of worry [about running out of food], but I try to keep everything stocked ahead. Where we shop, we try to buy in bulk. I take an inventory of what I have. And then I make up menus and then my grocery shopping will consist of just making up for what we don’t have. You know, and that’s really helped, especially through this winter. Another thing that we do is we make sure that the leftovers get eaten. I’ve had to eat spaghetti four times in a week; because that’s the cheapest thing that you can get. And I’ve had beans and rice that many times too because beans and rice, you know, that’s the cheapest you can do. Food pantries and food stamps are very important to Johnson County households. All of thelow-income households represented at a focus group participate in some form of food assistanceprogram. Approximately 60% of the middle-income households reported the same. Most upper- 46
  • 54. income households have never participated in a food assistance program, but if they have, it wasa long time ago and/or for a limited period of time. Several focus group participants mentioned that they simply would not have enough to eatwithout these programs. Without assistance, they fear that they would starve to death. Peopleparticularly rely on these programs during the winter (especially during the holidays) and at theend of the month. Food stamps also help stretch the grocery budget because food purchasedusing these benefits is not taxed. Over there, they give pretty good food [at the Commodities distribution]. If it wouldn’t have been for them one time, I wouldn’t have had nothing. Yeah, we go to food pantries. Without [them] I wouldn’t have anything. I wouldn’t either. A lot of the churches, you can get at the church too. Yeah, they give a lot of help. Yeah, they help you out a lot. How important are these food assistance programs to your household? Very important. Very important. Yeah, very important, they’re very important. Food stamps helps a lot. I mean they really do…I mean, if I didn’t have food stamps, I don’t know what I would do. Because we would starve. Literally. We would. The way the economy is now, you’ve got to get food stamps to even eat. I mean, by the time you pay your bills, that’s just it. People also rely on their friends, family, church, and neighbors for support. Focus groupparticipants in all income groups also report providing this type of support to others. They givefood away (especially from their gardens) and prepare meals together. For food insecurehouseholds, this can mean sharing food that is needed to make it through the month. Whenfamily comes over to eat (either because they’re visiting or because they don’t have any foodeither) it makes it particularly difficult to make it to the end of the month. I give a lot of deer away. I usually, if somebody wants me to kill them one, I will. That’s what helps me a lot, is friend’s gardens. Even when I didn’t have anything I was still helping somebody else. I probably give 80% of my garden away, just to local people, you know. Well our neighbor that lives next door to us, a lot of times we’ll cook and she’ll cook and we just, you know, give her part of our food and she gives us something back. You know, just sharing. That way one person doesn’t have to cook everything. That’s how my neighbor is. He’ll help cook, or I’ll cook and we’ll invite him over one night or he’ll invite us over when he does. My husband’s mom or one of them will invite us and that helps a lot too. I’ve found this is a really well meaning society. People really do help each other, they care about each other. Well last night my son ran out of food… so he asked me to fix him supper and I fixed him supper. My son he gets food stamps and he has a job, but he don’t make much at his job. He only gets 2 something a week and he has bills. Like myself, I got bills and sometimes I run out of food. Most time, I got food 47
  • 55. because I go to the food pantries and stuff. But now, I fixed my son a meal. Now if he runs out of food, I fix him something to eat. Despite the prevalence with which focus group participants reported participating in foodassistance programs, there is also a concern that others are falling through the cracks. Pride,isolation/lack of transportation, fear of government, and lack of knowledge about assistanceprograms are reasons cited for this. There’s some people in this county that really, really, really need help. They won’t ask for it and it’s slow to get them to accept somehow… The bottom line is, folks that really need the help—it’s there. Number one they got to be aware of it. And number two they got to accept it. And I don’t know how you overcome the pride thing. Or suspicions of government. I had a neighbor that didnt have running water in the house. It was an elderly man and his wife… I tried to get social, you know the social service building here they have a lady, Nancy Wills, shes in charge of protecting the elderly. And so I got her involved to go out there and they wouldnt even talk to her. You know, theyre afraid that the government was going to take, take away you know, social security and those sort of things, and they just said, “We dont need your help.” Yet they were, to get water they had to go next door to their neighbor at night and do it, get it by the jugs or the bucket-fulls.Food Pantries As previously mentioned, food pantries are a very important source of emergency foodassistance for Johnson County residents and conversation frequently turned to this topic. Focusgroup participants receiving these benefits are very appreciative; however, they are somewhattroubled by the fact that items available at the pantries are often unhealthy, out of date, or wellpast their peak of freshness. Yeah, I don’t know. There’s just something about that out of date deal that bugs me. Sometimes when you go to a pantry, sometimes they give you excellent things like a bag of apples, potatoes, cherries, but then sometimes they give you all kinds of pastries and breads and all kinds of macaroni and cheese and stuff. So you got some good stuff they give you, but then a lot of stuff you really don’t need nutritiously. Bananas that started turning black and everything. You can’t eat them. The meat is like at the last stage that it can be good. Shelter Rock in North Carolina—which provides weekly food boxes and a hot meal foranyone that shows up—was emphasized a couple of times as a favorite food pantry (althoughtransportation can be a difficulty). Contrary to the provider survey findings (see pg. 23), thisseems to suggest that the Johnson County pantries are not meeting the demand and thatrecipients would like to receive food boxes from the local pantries more often to ensure theyhave enough food through the end of the month. And we go to a church over in Shelter Rock. And when we go over there, they give us a meal and stuff and we listen to the sermon and then they give us stuff that they have… It’s on a Tuesday. If you can go, youve got to have gas money. If you have gas money to go. Yeah thats true because it’s an hour drive. Usually a bunch of us get together and go. A meal and they give you food. They cook it right there 48
  • 56. Sometimes we even get a case of water, sometimes they give us juices. I mean you know just different stuff. Sometimes they give us bread. Its just depending on what they have. Big cans, sometimes you get the gallon cans of stuff. What is it about that particular place that makes it worthwhile to drive out of the county to go versus the pantries that are here? Well even if you have $10 for the gas to go over there, what they give you and stuff, you cant buy that kind for that. Plus its a hot meal instead of a cold meal. That they provide for you. Well a lot of them here, like you say, you can only go to them certain times, this is year round, every Tuesday. They even have dentists over there that comes in and will help you if you participate in a program. So theyll give you about 3 times more than what the [local] pantries will. Oh yes. I mean its not like bags, its boxes of stuff. Honestly, a lot of us dont have a means of going. You know, whether we dont have a car or our family cant help us because they are barely getting by. I mean there is drawbacks. Focus group participants with experience in providing emergency food assistance were veryconcerned that these programs are being abused—that recipients have other motivations besideshunger for visiting the food pantries as often as they can. Recipients wasting the food that theyreceive, feeding it to their pets, and/or trading it for drugs were the primary concerns cited. Itwas also repeatedly stressed that, despite any abuse that might occur, it is important to continueproviding this assistance to make sure that the children of Johnson County are fed. While thesecomments are most certainly rooted in personal experience, they also seem to draw on widely-held stereotypes of welfare recipients as lazy, dishonest, and irresponsible. I know there’s people that goes from here to Watauga County to the food bank. I know they do. But if people don’t have a conscience, you can’t give them one. But you know, that’s still fine, because if there’s children in the family. Even though you might have, even if the father or the mother was on meth or whatever, you still got to feed that child. Weve got this one lady that handles it and she tries to watch because some people wants to come back more often, you know every week or so if they can. So she kind of monitors that. And they leave your church and then they come down here [to my church]. That goes back to theyre selling their food stamps. Ive seen them come to our church and get their clothes and stuff and food and then you go up to Mikes BBQ on Saturday and theyre sitting there selling them. So its abused. The food stamp program really needs to be readjusted. Because weve got a, up to 60% of the food stamps in Johnson County are being sold to buy cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Its a real problem of the conscience. You know, you dont want anybody to go hungry when you have more than you need. And its available, but then you dont, also you dont want people abusing the program. Focus group participants with experience receiving emergency food assistance have aslightly different perspective. They believe that most recipients are truly motivated by hungerand that any abuse that does occur is an isolated incident rather than indicative of a widespreadtrend. 49
  • 57. Do you think that some people abuse the food pantry programs or take food when they dont really need it? Yes, Ive known a couple of people that just go to the food pantry just to get food for their dogs. For real? Wow. I mean I used to live with somebody that would go to the food pantry and we would be pretty much hungry and they would feed it to their dogs to keep their dogs from starving. So I just started buying my own food and, you know, going to the food pantry and putting it in my room and keeping it so that they couldnt feed it to their dogs. Is there a way to prevent people from doing that? No, cause you can always say, oh Im not doing that with it, unless you really have proof then … [B]ecause most people that go to those food banks are really [hungry]. Surely itd have to be just a few. Because when I go and I talk to people that are waiting and stuff, you know Ive never seen anybody that wasnt really, really there for the food. I havent either. I mean, but only a couple of people that Ive talked to or know, that goes in there and gets it, just, you know, for extra or, like I said, to feed their dogs or. And my granny, she does go, but she also, what she does not eat of it she gives, she hands it down to other people in my family. That really helps them, people that cant get out. I think that it helps not just us but, our, just our family, our friends. Because the stuff that I wont eat or my kids wont eat Ill pass it on When I have a lot of something, then I pass it on. So its real handy here. In addition, very little evidence emerged during the focus groups to suggest that JohnsonCounty families waste food. Participants in the lower income groups, in particular, seem to beparticularly offended by waste. Despite their concerns about the quality of the items available atfood pantries, they would rather see food of questionable quality be used than have it go towaste. Thats like up here at Food Country they throw everything. There was a case of eggs, there would be like maybe two or three cracked… they put the whole box in there. They just throw it outside, take it out in the dumpster. Why dont they give that to somebody? That makes me mad. Why dont they give that to somebody? I know. Or at least sell them real cheap. But there would be like maybe two eggs that was broken and instead of separating those and taking it back and cleaning them off and getting them back up, and putting, selling them. They just threw the whole box. I mean the whole box that they came in. They just threw them away! That stuff should be donated to the pantries. It is impossible to use the focus group data to specifically determine the manner and extentto which food pantries (or other assistance programs) are being abused. More meaningfully,however, the data does indicate a very basic lack of understanding among people of differentsocioeconomic backgrounds. To move forward, it may be more important to bridge class dividesin Johnson County than it is to root out and rectify any abuse that may be occurring.Shopping Focus group participants identified the following retail establishments as places where theyshop for groceries: Save-A-Lot, Food Country, Food Lion, and Dollar General in MountainCity; Save-A-Lot, Go Grocery Outlet, and Wal-Mart in Elizabethton; Wal-Mart in Bristol; FoodCity in Damascus; and health food stores in Boone. Many also stated that they ―shop the sales‖ 50
  • 58. rather than favor one particular store. Individuals from low-income households rely heavily onSave-A-Lot. I get the papers that comes out and look and see where the best bargains is. And that’s usually the way I shop. Pick out and go through the sale papers and see which has got the best deals. Maybe go as much as three different stores just to find, get some buys to get what you could afford with your money. Several participants stated that they prefer to leave Johnson County to shop if possible.Lower-income households typically do so in order to save money on their grocery bill. Qualityof meat and produce, availability of bulk items, and availability of organic items were otherreasons people mentioned for leaving Johnson County to shop. And we do most of our shopping, like my food stamps shopping I’ll do in Mountain City if I can because the tax is so much higher. And then the money that I have to spend, I’ll go out to Wal-Mart in Bristol and the Food City in Damascus. And the tax is like 2.5% on food out there. So it’s a huge difference. I think it’s like, what 9.5% here? It’s a huge difference. So, we just look for the stuff that’s on sale I guess. That’s what we do. I’m not really happy with the produce that they supply to the grocery stores here in Mountain City. They could do better….You can just go across the state line into Boone and it’s a hundred times better quality, generally speaking, than you can get here. And there’s no reason for that—its 20 miles away. If you can afford the gas, the food is a lot lower prices at the stores out of town. And they have a lot more organic… a lot more choice too. Convenience and reduced travel expenses are benefits of shopping in Mountain City. Theavailability of local produce at Food Country was also mentioned several times. Well, for me Damascus is the same distance as Mountain City where I live. But I have more appointments in Mountain City to go to, so I shop here more often for that reason. We’ll make a day of it. We make the whole day our shopping day and we shop once a month when we get our check. And then we’ll go to Food Lion, Food Country, and then we head out to Damascus and Bristol. And then during the month if we need anything in between then, it’s easier just to run to Food Lion or Food Country that way. So I guess we kind of use it during the month as a staple, distance wise. Well, one thing that’s nice about Food Country is that, sometimes they will use some of the local farmer things. Like right now we’re getting peppers and that’s exactly where we’re going because you can get them for half the price, they’re cheaper than even Wal-Mart. ―Alternative‖ Sources of Food In addition to grocery stores, there are many other sources of food that are very important toJohnson County families. Focus group participants reported eating food from an ―alternativesource‖ once a week, a few times a week, every day, or even up to 50% of their food supply. Agreat number of participants—in all income groups—mentioned their gardens and preservingfood. I just moved here about three and a half years ago and never grew one thing before I moved here. And I’m delighted, I have this big garden and I grow all this stuff and I have bees. My kids were raised on fresh vegetables. I eat out of the garden all year round. 51
  • 59. I put out gardens a lot with my son, me and my mom, and we share with everybody in the community. We used to bury our potatoes and cabbage and stuff, and dig a hole, and bury your stuff. Bury your food - to store it. We used to call it… a dirt cellar. Hunting, roadside stands, pick-your-own, farmers markets, gleaning, collecting wild edibles,and ―dumpster diving‖ are additional sources of food that were mentioned. Deer, rabbit, snake,frog legs, and squirrel were mentioned as wild game that is used for food. I like deer meat anytime…I usually kill 12, 15 a year. We killed a beef. We probably killed seven deer. We kill our own pork. We eat a lot of deer meat, rabbit, squirrel, bear…My whole family hunts…my two boys, my dad. A great deal of the stuff in my freezer is venison. And fish that I caught. I always get mine at the produce stand where they sell produce by the side of the road. They have quite a bit of stuff there. When we first moved here he hit the dumpster in Elizabethton at night and you wouldn’t believe the stuff. Focus group participants identified several reasons why they prefer these ―alternative‖sources of food to the grocery store: it saves money, it tastes better, it is better quality, it is safer,it is healthier, the source is perceived to be more trustworthy, it buffers against food insecurity,and it builds and strengthens relationships in the community. I never bought a tomato in a grocery store yet that was worth the energy it took to slice that thing. [T]hey’re grown in Florida and other places and they’ve got to pick it when it’s green. You make friends. You give it away and people become your friends. You invite them to your church and they come to your church and then they meet other people and pretty soon it’s just a big old swap thing. Our church likes to cook. We cook a whole lot at our church. I try to grow it organically…Especially I worry about the stuff in the store that comes from out of the country. And you worry about what standards they have. I know what I did with mine. I know what’s been put on it and what hasn’t. But you know if you grow your own you know you don’t have [dangerous bacteria] in it. You’re not going to have something, if you’re going to eat it, that it’s going to kill you or hurt you. When you grow your own, and canning food or fixing food at home, it brings your whole family together. If you’ve got a bigger family that, everybody goes in on, depends on it, it just makes a better family atmosphere. I would say the beef, they’re getting really bad because of all the shots they put into it. It’s getting worse. It’s better to go to wild game because you know you ain’t going to get all that. It’s also nice to have the fresh food. When you get it from the garden or farmers market its fresher and you’re also supporting local business. It saves you money where you can buy something else that you actually need. So if you got a garden, then you know you’ve got some food, at least some vegetables or something in it. And if you got hunting, you know you got a piece of meat. 52
  • 60. Despite the benefits of ―alternative‖ sources, nearly all of the focus group participants getmost of their food from the grocery store. A lack of space and lack of skill/knowledge are themain reasons why people do not garden. Focus group participants also mentioned physicaldisability, not being able to afford supplies (plants, fertilizer, seeds, etc.), fear of failure, lack ofinterest, lack of time, unwillingness to do the physical labor, and vandalism. Lack ofskill/knowledge, not being able to afford a license, and not liking the taste of wild game arereasons why people choose not to hunt or fish. Reasons why people don’t rely more on fresh,local or organic produce include: a lack of information about what is available and where to findit, it is only available at certain times of the year, they cannot afford it, it is difficult to travel toplaces where it is sold (especially if they have to go out of county), and not enoughfresh/local/organic items are available in the community. I used to until I got my back injured so I can’t hunt no more. But they still let me fish. I think a lot of people, they’ve got used to..[thinking] they can’t do it. If you knew somebody could step in and help, they would have food too. Most people don’t advertise. You’ve just got to see them. Or hope that you see them along the road or somewhere like that when you’re out and about. Most people can’t afford gas to just be out and about anymore. I think they should be able to advertise them, you know like in the newspaper or over the radio or maybe put a bulletin up. I don’t know if I would want a garden or not, it’s a lot of work. There’s very few women that are educated on [hunting wild game]. And a lot of times we don’t have the guns, we don’t have license to do these things. And it costs money for the license and stuff. Even when you fish it’s expensive. That license is expensive and then you don’t know whether you’re going to catch anything or not. [And] you don’t know if you can eat the fish you catch. What are some of the barriers that exist to being able to buy more locally produced goods? The price. I mean it’s cheaper at these other places. I think that’s the big thing. Price. I’ve always had a garden all my life. My problem right now is mostly the area to do it in. No, I’ve wanted to grow a garden but I have never had a green thumb and I’ve never really known how to do it…That’s something I’ve wanted to learn how to do, is garden, and to can. But I’m not sure how a person learns that. Mine is a time issue. I work two jobs, have a small child, and do lots of other stuff. And it’s just easier to run in the grocery store and grab it and go. Instead of going, you know, to three different places. When you get a little pack of cucumber seeds, you don’t get but just a little bit, they’re high.Nutrition Many focus group participants reported that they are not satisfied with the nutritionalquality of their diet. Lower income individuals were more likely to report this dissatisfaction.The cost of more nutritious food, particularly fresh vegetables, was cited as the primary obstacleto a healthier diet. The fact that convenience food is often unhealthy also makes it more difficultto obtain a nutritious diet. Other factors include: lack of self-discipline, pervasiveness of junk 53
  • 61. food advertising on TV, difficulty interpreting food labels for restricted diets (e.g. low-sodium,diabetic), and peer pressure young people face at school. My son eats more vegetables than he does anything else. So I usually get what’s leftover, meat or something like that. I don’t particularly get enough vegetables that I know that I need. But I’d rather him have it than me. The television has a huge impact… The other day I was fasting and watching something and, it’s like, it’s all junk, and there is a ton of food! That’s all, in fact most of it, is food… And it’s not good food either. It’s like, no wonder, if we spend so much time watching television, you just don’t even know it’s happening. When I was a single mom, worked full-time and had 3 kids, and they had ball practice, we’d drive through McDonalds sometimes. Because, just what you’re saying, time issue. We don’t take the time. Many of us don’t have the time, but a lot of people just don’t take the time to prepare it yourself. It’s a matter of choice, whether to buy that bag of cheese flavored Doritos or fruit. What barriers do you face in improving the nutritional quality of your diet? Just the cost They have sales so often on cookies… but I don’t see sales on apple and broccoli. Several participants also identified lack of knowledge about nutrition as a barrier to ahealthier diet. However, nutrition education was always recommended for someone else. Noone stated that they wanted additional education about healthy eating habits for themselves.―Because our church wanted to do classes on different areas that they needed, child care and allthat. But we didn’t get anyone to sign up.” Indeed, the idea that education is a solution to poornutrition is based on the assumption that people who understand the basics of a healthy diet willmake healthy choices most of the time. And this is not necessarily true.A Vision for the Future When asked to envision what Johnson County would look like in an ideal world, focusgroup participants emphasized plenty of food—―No more hunger”; plenty of good jobs—―A jobfor everybody”; a sense of community; and self-sufficiency. Community gardens. People sharing things. Instead of just me, me, me-- make it me and you. I have big community gardens, more neighbors and friends helping each other and more of the families getting together and helping other people and having community recycling place where you can recycle things and put that into something for summer gardens. And if you do that, you’re not only feeding your family, you can feed a whole community. Feed lots of people. Id like to see something like that happen to where people that really needed help, able bodied people, would have a public farm where they could go to raise their food, raise enough to feed the elderly and the children. And help those in need. We could be a self-sufficient county. With our weather and our land and our people with the knowledge. We could be a self-supporting food system.In many cases, their vision for the future is closely tied to nostalgia for the past. So I heard, years ago, back in the 50s and 40s, Mountain City was the place. People would come from everywhere to Mountain City. 54
  • 62. I can vouch for that.They said there was people walking up and down the streets here and they had two theatres. We hadplenty of people in town on Saturday nights. That’s when all our stores was open. And the streets werecongested. You couldn’t find a parking place.When we was little, what was on our plate, we ate it and we didn’t get nothing else. And that’s the wayit was. And you learned to eat it. Now, if you don’t like it, they go fix you something else. You know, Idon’t do that. 55
  • 63. It’s like the old fashioned way, years ago people took their wheat to the mill and got it ground, the corn and everything. In particular, they lament the loss of small farms and Johnson County’s agricultural heritage. Used to you could buy milk off the farmers, but now they, you can’t hardly do that now… There ain’t nobody selling it out to just the public. We used to have a lot more produce in this county. A lot more little stands, from people’s private little farms and stuff. A lot of the old timers have gone and we’ve lost a lot of that. This used to be a lot of vegetables and everything here. It was the green bean capital you know. There used to be a blueberry farm in Butler too. Just down almost into Butler, there used to be a couple of strawberry farms here too, but there’s nobody around anymore. Nobody’s growing them anymore. A couple of participants were not so optimistic about the future. It was suggested thatperhaps this is the future we have to look forward to if Johnson County residents do not step upand work together to create a different future for their community. I think that things going to look real scary. A lot of bad issues. People may not know how to take care of their basic needs. And poverty. More sickness. Because they’re not getting the right nutrition…. And government may not can step in and help. Without the farmers and with prices getting higher, if you don’t have money you can’t afford to provide for your family. You won’t be able to live. [It looks like a famine is coming.] I don’t think the future is looking too good. In time it’s getting harder. Maybe that’s more like how things will turn out if we don’t do anything to change it. I think that’s the whole purpose of this meeting, isn’t it? Is to try to help change what you said. Some things is going to have to be different.Existing Assets Focus group participants listed many assets that already exist in Johnson County that couldbe used to build a more sustainable food system, improve the quality of life in the community,and move towards the ideal world. Churches Food Pantries o St. Anthony’s: provides food and Crossroads Medical Mission o Hale’s Community Ministries o First Baptist o Presbyterian Church: 5 Cents a Meal program provides $25-50 vouchers that can be used in the local grocery stores o Community Church o Shelter Rock (NC): provides hot meals and food boxes Meals on Wheels School lunch Summer food service program Backpack program: sending produce home with school kids Neighborhood Service Center Higher Ground: provides lunch for participants every day 56
  • 64. Commodities distribution at the National Guard Armory Small farmers o Snyder’s o Shull’s Farm o Billy Ward Produce stands o People that sell at Mike’s BBQ o Lambert’s in Valley Forge Place in North Carolina that sells fresh milk, butter Local people that sell eggs Places to get a deer processed: Kenny Cole’s, another place in Virginia Good quality farm land: especially if farmers have extra space they would share with a community garden Gardening: especially if resources (seed, equipment) and knowledge are shared Hunters Greenhouses and aquaculture center at the high school Farmers market o Elizabethton o Yadkinville o Johnson County Garden at community center Duffies Amish store Cheese factory in West Jefferson Trade Mill Local winery The golf courseWell I think it sounds like the churches are really stepping up to the plate here. I am really impressed withhow many, I didn’t realize that that many churches had food pantries. And it seems like they are…certainly they’re fulfilling a huge need.I know with our grandkids, [the school system] sends back food home, is it once a month, or every Fridayor something. And a lot of times [their mother], you know, she’ll give it to me for over at my housebecause they won’t eat at their house. But it’s good food, like cans of ravioli, juices, milk.That’s something to go look at if you’ve never seen the aqua center [at the high school].There’s a lot of good farmers not doing the work and a lot of good land that’s not being used.We have a lot of talented people, it’s just they’re starting to get together in different ways… Trying to get,promoting what we’re doing right here. There’s a lot of talented people.And we’ve got so much information, I mean all these old people. I mean, we’ve got so many people in thiscommunity from the mountains and they know so much about farming and canning and the way it usedto be. 57
  • 65. Potential Projects Focus group participants had many creative ideas for grassroots projects that wouldbenefit the community. Community gardens were far and away the most frequently mentioned.They are a logical solution because they can help foster the qualities of the ideal world describedabove: plenty of food for everyone, a sense of community, and self-sufficiency. Participantsenvisioned gardens on donated property—perhaps in a fallow field belonging to a local farmer oron government property. Some envisioned large gardens of 10-15 acres and others suggested alarger number of smaller gardens located close to the members/volunteers homes. The gardencould be sub-divided into smaller individual gardens or each member could be responsible forone or two crops that would be shared among the entire group. Vegetables were the primaryfocus of the gardens, but cows and chickens were also suggested. Community composting couldbe incorporated into the garden to reduce waste and provide material to enrich the soil. Aportion of the harvest could be sold to generate funds to maintain the garden. It was alsosuggested that security of the site be considered to prevent vandalism. People working together are a very important component of the community garden. Thisallows for members/volunteers to pool resources. They can share equipment, tools, and suppliesand they can also teach and learn from each others’ knowledge and gardening skills. Workingtogether also provides social opportunities, allows people to get to know their neighbors, andbuilds community. The members and volunteers of the community garden could occasionallygather for covered dish dinners to socialize and celebrate the fruits of their labor. Communitygardens are also a way for the community to produce food for the elderly and other individualsthat are not physically able to garden. It also addresses another common barrier to homegardening: lack of suitable space. Tax deductions could be provided as an incentive toparticipate. Increasing the number of families with home gardens was also mentioned repeatedly asa strategy for increasing food security and self-sufficiency. Some would also like to see moresmall-scale livestock production for eggs, dairy, and meat. Again, increased composting wassuggested as a strategy for decreasing the cost of supplies/inputs. Participants want to seefamilies, friends, and neighbors teaching, learning, and working together to ensure each others’success. Mechanisms to connect people with gardens and excess produce to people who don’thave gardens and don’t have enough food, were another suggestion. Various forms of educational programs were also repeatedly suggested. Both adultsand youth need to be educated on gardening, food preservation (canning and freezing), huntingand butchering wild game, cooking and nutrition, and general self-sufficiency. However, theclassroom setting is intimidating or uninteresting for many people. Organized opportunities forpeople to get together and share knowledge informally are preferable. This could include acovered-dish dinner at which people were encouraged to swap recipes, seeds, and gardening tips.It was frequently mentioned that the older generation of Johnson County residents has a wealthof knowledge and experience to share with the younger generations. It was also frequentlymentioned that the younger generations have limited self-sufficiency skills. This concern wasvoiced by adults in the focus groups, but the high school groups (see pg. 70) confirmed that thisis a concern for their own generation. Members of different generations should be encouraged towork side by side. Community gardens would have many of these types of educationalopportunities. Engaging youth in community projects would give them positive activities on which tospend their time and keep them out of trouble. It would also serve as an opportunity to take 58
  • 66. advantage of their energy and fresh ideas. Programs specifically targeted towards youth could beorganized through schools and/or churches. School gardens are one example. Television showsand video games were mentioned as techniques that might particularly capture their attention.Hands-on activities (such as engaging them in gardening and cooking) were also suggested.Home economics taught at school and 4-H clubs were also suggested. A centralized/county-wide food pantry is another project that was frequentlymentioned. The primary appeal of this project is to reduce abuse of the current (decentralized)pantry system. Focus group participants envision either one large food pantry that serves theentire county or a limited number of small pantries spread throughout the county. In eitherscenario, the entire system would be run by the churches. Getting all the churches to worktogether was identified as an obstacle to the county-wide pantry project. One large, centrally-located pantry might also create transportation difficulties for residents in more remote areas ofthe county. Several participants also suggested that Johnson County could use a grocery co-op. Thistype of store would keep money circulating in the local economy and increase the availability ofbulk goods (grains, nuts, flour, beans, etc.), organics, local produce, and health food items.Participants also want to see increased availability of locally produced goods (vegetables,eggs, meat, and dairy). They want to see more farmers producing these things and a betterselection of these items in the local stores. They also want to see more roadside stands and pick-your-own farms. A health food/bulk section at one of the existing grocery stores was alsosuggested. Processing more food locally (meat processing, a cannery, or a cheese factory)would also keep money in the local economy, create jobs, and increase availability of fresh, localfood. I’d like to see a lot of family gardens and people pitching in and helping each other. You know, to raise good vegetables or good whatever. And be able to allow after they had, you know farmers that grow vegetables, after they’ve picked their crop, to leave a little bit for others to glean off of if they don’t have a garden. The Bible calls for that. Just have some big community meetings where everyone could get together. Yeah community meetings would be good. Just to talk about this kind of stuff? Yeah, thats what you need to do. Maybe people could bring their extra vegetables that they have from their garden. Yeah Like a swap Yeah if we had a community meeting, then maybe some of the older people will come and teach the younger ones how to do it. The Ministerial Association, the pastors in the county, they are in the process right now of… getting a soup kitchen started. Oh, that would be nice! Wouldn’t a centralized food bank Hey right, that’s what we’ve been wanting to see for a long time! You know if you had that you might not get so much abuse. 59
  • 67. Community gardens, something that theyre starting to do now. It gives apartment dwellers a place where they can garden and it’s social for some people to get out and just see other people. Its a little bit of exercise in the summer. I dont know if thered be a need for that here in town. I think it would be nice because a lot, I know some people that dont have an area to garden in. And they used to call them victory gardens, when times were hard, when people got together and gardened and it was… social. If each one of us could find one person that needed help. You know and it could be helping them in the garden, showing them how to do something, we can learn from each other. This is what we teach in my church and I think that’s where it can start… Churches are an important part of this and I think we can utilize that because… God wants us to use our bodies as a temple for Him first of all, you know, is why we need to be healthy and I think that’s where it could start. I used to buy fresh milk and eggs but now that lady is gone and I have a hard time. That would be something I would love to do. We need to show [young people] the values, you know, in life of what you have to do to survive. Yeah, thats right. As much as theyre so much more ingenious than I am, they can think of so many more brilliant ways to get things done than people like me thatre set in our ways, just trying to survive. They have a lot better ideas than my age people. I think one thing I’d like to see too, you know, these children growing up, is put a garden in class for them too. High schoolers have it and I think the children could benefit from it too. A lot of people don’t know how to raise a garden, don’t know how to do that stuff. They just need to be showed how to do it. You dont have to grow food, you can grow flowers too in the garden. So people could sit around and talk. One thing they have is people dont talk to each other anymore. They dont even know, lot of people dont even know, cant name five people that live on their street. You know, its like, they just dont know who lives next door because weve all become protective. Were afraid of our neighbors. Johnson County would need to be zoned. Nobody hit me. Theyd have to have a farm area, industrial parks, a residential area and a commercial area. Because now its sort of mixed up and you could never have a walk-around downtown community or something like that. Because you know, youd be someones farm land or a used car lot or something like that. So if you zoned it all out, then youd have areas where things went. So, it sounds like Im a communist or something but Im not.Other ideas that were mentioned less frequently: Gleaning Greenhouses (These would extend the growing season but it was acknowledged they would be difficult to maintain) A way to access surplus food and/or use food waste. (Immediate solutions are also needed to address pressing hunger problems.) Coupons to make it easier for poor people to buy food (e.g. expanded assistance programs) Soup kitchen 60
  • 68. Homeless shelter Store with sliding scale prices for poor people Summer feeding program expanded to adults Bike trail Zoning (to allow for farmland preservation and a more centralized, walkable community) State-run public farm Flea market Wal-Mart Advertising Johnson County as an agricultural area to draw tourism/development Drive-thru deli that offers healthy options for eating on the go Corporations that produce junk food should have to pay for health care School programs with better quality food. Get kids used to eating vegetables and/or make them do it. Participants recognize that change is difficult and that, at times in the past when peopletried to start new things, they were not successful. But they also see cause for optimism.Everyone can do a little something to contribute. Word of mouth is the best way to get the wordout and start organizing people. [The County Commission]… just wanted everything to stay the way it was. They missed out on so many good grants, the city could have got, or the county could have got, that they could’ve improved the county so much. Whatever they do, they just need to work together. And have an open mind. How do people find out about these things? Word of mouth. From one person to the other. Yeah, this town, you just tell one person, everybody knows pretty much. But it’s going to take an effort. Anything, ANYTHING like that will take an effort. It’s not the easy way. I think there are people that are willing. I think there are quite a few people that are willing to if they knew what was going. But I think that some of those large, long-time landowners, I think that they’re just trying to keep Mountain City... the way it was. But they’re making it hard… I kept hearing some of the local people that they wouldn’t go to the farmers market. And I said why? And they just said, “Well we like it the old way.” There’s some resistance. I think we can teach by example. I mean, by being, thats really about all the little people can do, like you said, complain about it, but being a living testimony, you know, hey, this is do-able, it is affordable, we could do this. We could volunteer our time too. Even if it’s just a couple hours one day a week. And be willing to teach a, well, all I can do is cook, so a cooking class. Or gardening, people who understand gardening. What about going to city council meetings? Is that a way that people can get things accomplished here? No Id be terrified to go there. I mean youre very right. We need, we need to do it. If theres a bunch of us get together and we just keep hounding them, theyd have to hear us. 61
  • 69. But they wouldnt do nothing about it. No. It would take persistence and it would take that one person to jump. It would, it would. Definitely persistence. Somebody needs to rock the boat though. What happens is, weve all done this, get defeated before we even start. But if we had the support of the people, eventually it would, if you got everybody saying, you know, what I dont really feel like dealing with this right now, but if anythings going to change, weve all got to do it.ProducersSales and Marketing Producers identified a variety of outlets where they sell their goods. Several open airmarkets were mentioned; the State Street Farmers Market in Bristol and the Tri-Cities FleaMarket in Piney Flats (near Bristol) were favorites. The Jonesborough Flea Market, the WataugaCounty Farmers Market in Boone (NC), the Abingdon Farmers Market in Virginia, and theJohnson County Farmers Market were also mentioned as places where people had sold in thepast. On-farm sales (u-pick and we-pick were both mentioned) are another example of directsales to consumers. Farmers with a slightly larger operation may work with a broker. NewRiver Organic Growers Co-Op in North Carolina was mentioned as an option for organicgrowers. Larger farms may also be able to occasionally sell to Food Country in Mountain City. Where people know that we grow it, pick it, and they can come pick it up at our house. So we do that too. I find that I’m in between, where I don’t need to be, too big or not big enough. If you gonna fool with produce as a living, youre going to have to have from fifty to a hundred acres just to make a reasonable living. You pushing it on fifty. Twenty acres is way too much to try to put through flea markets and those places… You pick an acre of beans, youve got a hundred bushel of beans. Where do you go with a hundred bushels? You never sell a hundred bushel through a flea market or any of that. So you just about have to, you go through a broker. Open air markets that draw a large crowd were definitely preferable. When the groupthat runs the market conducts an advertising campaign or hosts events to draw people in, thishelps the vendors. The flea markets seem to draw a large crowd of bargain-hunters and thisallows the produce vendors (especially if there are only a few) to sell their product quickly andeasily. Visibility is also important. An open air market with aesthetically pleasing booths willdraw passers-by. It is also helpful when the market allows vendors to return to the same spaceeach week and provides a canopy and tables (although this last item is not crucial for success). Over in Bristol, I think one thing that is good, that works for us, is the market does different things that draws people in. They have an event at least once a month. Theyll have a chef in the market, from local restaurants over there, that comes in and demonstrates a certain vegetable that weve got in the market that day. And thats one thing that I think works well over there for us. Well, Tri-Cities, I have an area that’s covered, I have it reserved for the season. It’s covered, I have my own little table there, so I dont have to worry about having tables… They have the traffic, you have the foot traffic. I mean, it is constant from the time you set up to the time you leave. The only thing bad… when you get that many vendors there it does cut down on your sales potential, so youve… gotta pitch a good sales to get that dollar, and you gotta have something that they want. 62
  • 70. No matter where they sell their products, producers repeatedly stressed the importance ofmarketing. First of all, it is important to have a reliable market so that if they grow something,they can feel reasonably assured that they will be able to sell it. Even after they identify a placeto sell that works well for them, they have to continue to work hard to market their products tothe customers at that location. Marketing tactics include: keeping the display/booth neat, cleanand aesthetically pleasing; giving away free samples to entice the customer; giving the customera little extra (a baker’s dozen for example) so they think they’re getting a better deal; movingitems around on the stand to make it look like they are selling quickly; having a unique product;and putting a large quantity out where it is visible so people know that they can buy it in bulk (bythe bushel). Presentation is part of what you’re selling. 80%. That’s important factor too. You’ve gotta keep a clean area. And you’ve gotta change it around… somebody come around and said, “Well, you’ve sold that, it must be good.” So your presentation and how you sell something—marketing is the secret to it. It would be nice to grow a little of everything and sell it all, as opposed to growing a whole bunch and not being able to move it. That’s the biggest thing, in selling something. You’ve got to market it, you gotta. If you produce it, you’ve got to have somewhere to sell it. I have a white tablecloth on my table, makes my jelly stand out… So giving away one piece sold me two more later. And what I usually tell my customers—if you buy it and you don’t like it, you bring it back. You know, I have yet to have a piece brought back because they all like it… I take my sample jars and my spoons, and if they want to sample it, they get to sample it… There’s no telling how many pints of gooseberry jelly, I sold out all I had just by letting them taste it. Cause it was something new, it was something different. Producers would like to see more of the food that is consumed in Johnson County beingproduced and processed in the county: ―It would be a wonderful thing if you could do it.‖ Theywould like to sell more goods locally—to grocery stores, at the Johnson County Farmers Market,at produce stands, at a growers’ co-op, etc.—and they would also like to see a small cannery orcommunity kitchen for processing. But they identified several barriers that make this a difficultproposition. First and foremost, the demand for fresh produce in Johnson County is insufficientto support their businesses. Producers cite several factors for this: Johnson County residentscannot afford fresh produce, many don’t know how to cook or can, many others have their owngarden, and some do not understand the benefits of fresh, local and/or organic produce.Producers also stated that there is not enough foot traffic to make selling at the Johnson CountyFarmers Market worthwhile. They seemed frustrated that so few Johnson County residents knowabout the local farmers market. Finally, most grocery stores purchase from large-scale fooddistributors and it is difficult for them to accept deliveries from small growers. Used to you could go to Blackburn supermarket, old man Joe Blackburn. You walk back there, you told him what you had. You go Whites, you go wherever… then the store could buy. No longer can do that. And if I go to Winn Dixie, they say I’ve got to have tractor-trailer load. I need three trailer loads a week. Where do you come up with this? I’ve got to have a continuous supply—weekly. Plus so many people grows a garden here too, is one of the biggest problems. A lot of people in Johnson County dont even know what a farmers market is… theys not been enough education on such stuff as that… And a lot of people still look at me and say, "Johnson County has a 63
  • 71. farmers market?" And you know, it run all year last year… I know the market last year had no money. It started up last year, it had absolutely no money to get started with, for advertisement and such stuff. But, still, word of mouth ought to be spreading there a little bit. In hard times people go to the canned. You can’t can it and save a penny. Fresh produce will not sell in hard times. Educational programs on cooking, canning, and nutrition were identified as strategies forincreasing demand for fresh, local produce Johnson County. Growers would also like to see thecounty investing more money in advertising itself—especially promoting the agriculture sector—to grow the demand for local products. We’d have to start up the interest, and young people especially would have to start canning and stuff like that. Well I think with the young people, if anybody could get them off this processed foods, back onto fresh foods, that we wouldn’t have a problem if that could be accomplished. Well, the county’s got the farmers market started here, but until they get in there and back it and support it, it ain’t gonna go nowhere, it ain’t gonna do nothing. Well, they do get money for a few things, like the Sunflower Festival that they kick off here in town that does real good. Why not gear stuff like that more toward farming? Supposing the county had a big bag of money that fell out of an airplane one day… and Johnson County spent hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising Mountain City as the best beans east of Nashville and the best, you know, whatever, the best of everything. I mean, if it was advertised where you get people from Boone and people from Elizabethton and people from Damascus and people from wherever, saying, “We need to go by Mountain City next weekend because its supposed to be the hot spot for all this fresh produce.” Well then, again, you’d have a better market, wouldnt have to work about trying to send it all out.Resources to Support Agripreneurship Producers repeatedly identified low-interest loans and/or grants—to help new farmers getstarted and existing farmers expand their businesses—as the most important resource that couldbe made available to them. Start-up money. Throw somebody here start-up money. That’s it; start-up. It takes a lot to get started, it takes a lot to put, to buy trees, takes a lot to put beans out. Start-up money. Well, if I could get 10 or 20 thousand dollars from the government, I wouldn’t have to be cutting my timber trying to get started. Use that to build my house. If I need to make five hundred pints of strawberry jam and I could sell it, but you look at that how much, thats gonna be $350 just for jars, you know. It would be nice if each year or something, we could apply, and have even a low interest. I think there ought to be like 1 or 2 percent interest loan, to help us get, based on what our …what we think our sales would be. Like a student loan Yeah… I’d like to have on the low interest and we pay it back, you know, we could choose like three years, five years… I would like to have like a small mini-van where I could you know put my canned stuff in. I wouldnt have to take it out and load it every week, you know that sort of thing. Thats been my number one question with this whole thing, is why cant we get some government aid to help us get our business up and going. And if we had some bad years, or freezes all his blueberries, okay, he might need to forego 64
  • 72. his payments that year if he doesnt have any income coming in. Say he had a crop failure, were gonna let him start with his payments next year, or something. I had several students that graduated from college at Wilkes with a degree in horticulture and nowhere to go… Their schooling didn’t benefit them. So that’s the thing, if they’re gonna get the schooling they need to know that there’s gonna be a job or something, that the government’s gonna help them get started in the business.They would also like to have more hands-on assistance from the Johnson County AgriculturalExtension Service. It used to be a really a good deal. But theyve got those boys’ hands so tied now, they can no longer do much for you. They used, if I had a problem with beans, I’d call up here, hered come [an extension agent], theyd go through that, pull that up, send it to the University of Tennessee, within twenty-four hours I’d have all this data back, what the problem was. None of that is there now. They can’t come out and help you anymore. We’re talking about hands-on. No hands-on. They have to sit there and try to tell you what your problems are. Getting on the computer.In seeming contradiction to their enthusiasm for assistance programs, they are very wary ofgovernment and regulations. I don’t apply for any grant or any loan through the federal government because they’ll tie you up, son. The state of Tennessee will tie you up. They will mess with you, you get so sick of it you can’t stand it. I have no use for the borrowing money. I mean, I do without a lot of things. Well, going through the certified organic deal, now that is one nightmare. I did a little of that. Never again am I fooling with that. When you get involved too, you’ve got more paperwork than you do actual work. It ain’t worth it. And the government walking in, when they want to, as they want to. If you’ve got beef around here and you decided to sell it, you wouldn’t believe the red tape you’ve got to go through. Just to sell a piece of meat around here.Changes in Agriculture When asked about their most pressing concern for the future of food and agriculture inJohnson County, the producers emphasized loss of farmland and the difficulty small farmershave in making a living farming. Well, not just in Johnson County, in this nation, were gonna have to quit turning Class A and B farmland into parking lots, housing developments, and everything else. Were gonna run out of ground, and once you destroy Class A land, you dont get it back. You know why… your Class A land’s going for parking lots, housing developments?... They can’t make it, they can’t farm. You dont sell farmland, where you sell housing developments, used to be farmland but nobody can make any money farming. That’s where a little bit of government regulation would come in handy… Well, that’s what I’m saying. Were gonna have to regulate selling farmland. Itll come down to where you can afford to buy farmland then, and farm it. But its gonna have to be farmed. You cant continue to sell this stuff, you know, out for housing developments. I think that at some point the government’s gonna have to step in and start subsidizing smaller farms. 65
  • 73. They’re going to have to quit subsidizing the big farms. Now… don’t ever let anybody tell you those big farmers are hurting. They are not hurting, they are making megabucks. I’ve been there. I’d just like to see the small farmer be able to make it. You know, I mean, small farms never make a lot of money, but I’d just like to see them survive. You know, I think that’ll go hand in hand with the death of our country when a small farmer can’t make his.They also remember a time when agriculture was a booming business in Johnson County. They actually flourished during the Second World War and right after the Second World War. Thats when they flourished. When the beans were here, you had three automobile dealerships in this county. When the bean market was here, this was the worlds largest individual bean capital. Thousands and thousands and thousands of handpicked beans a day, lined up from tri-state down to the tobacco warehouses, waiting to unload. That was a big thing during the 50s and 60s here, and beginning in the 70s. I guess I grew up cropping in the 70s. Beans were hampered and they were shipped to Charlotte I think. And some they went to up in Virginia, things like that… We loaded pickup trucks and we stopped at air markets, we stopped at some of the, some of the grocery chains and so about that. We got into West Virginia some of the scab towns there where the miners were. And that went real good in there because they would come out there at the Piggly Wiggly stores and a shopper there would be pushing two shopping carts. Hed be pushing one and dragging one with the other hand, and theyd load it up. Had money in it then, that was in the 60’s, the mining was going good, so that was a good place to go. Jenkins Hollow Mini-Farm Vending at Johnson County Farmers Market 66
  • 74. Community Meetings Four community meetings were hosted for the JCCFAPP. These meetings included afree home cooked meal available to all community residents. It was made clear that people didnot need to attend the meetings to enjoy a meal with others. One of the meetings was hosted atthe Senior Center, two at the Crewette Building, and one at the high school. Groups at the highschool followed a different format than the other three community meetings. It is important tonote that more people came for the meals than did for the meeting. This may be an indicator thata soup kitchen is needed in Johnson County. The first meeting was held as a general information collection session. The secondmeeting was promoted as focusing on the possibility of starting a soup kitchen. The thirdmeeting was promoted as focusing on the possibility of supporting existing community gardensand starting new ones. The high school meetings followed a lesson plan focusing on educatingparticipants about the similarities and differences in food systems. At three of the community meetings, participants were given an overview of the goalsand activities of the JCCFAPP. Put simply, the goals are to discover what we have and what wewant in regard to everything related to food. The full JCCFAPP project activities include thesecommunity meetings, focus groups, a community wide survey, food store surveys, interviewswith key stake holders, a review of census and other related data, and casual conversations withcounty residents. After giving this background, questions and comments were solicited. Oncequestions and comments were discussed, participants were asked to fill out the community widesurvey. With all the surveys collected, people were asked to break into small groups of 4-5individuals. Each group was given a large piece of paper. They were asked to discuss amongthemselves and draw on the paper everything they know about in Johnson County that is relatedto food. A representative from each group then shared their drawing with the larger group.These drawings were hung on the wall for everyone to see. A brief discussion was held as towhat the similarities and differences were among the various drawings. The discussion thenmoved into a brainstorming session. The topic of the brainstorming session was ―what food-related things do we want.‖What do we have? Thirteen groups made drawings in response to the question: ―What specifically do wehave in Johnson County related to food?‖ Eleven of these drawings included home gardens,making that the most common answer. There were drawings of garden patches listing thevarious crops in the rows: carrots, onions, tomatoes, etc. Farms and grocery stores were thesecond-most common answer, appearing on eight of the drawings. Food pantries were drawn on seven of the pictures. Specific farms, grocery stores, andpantries were listed on some of the pictures. Of particular interest was a list of food pantries andother church affiliated eating activities created at the April meeting. It is telling how manychurches and community members give away food to help people in need. 67
  • 75. Figure 28: Food Pantries Listed at Community Meeting St. Anthonys Bread - 1st and 3rd Thursdays. 1st Thurs. also medical Hale Community Ministries - Tues. and Thurs. 9 am- 1 pm First Baptist Church - Wednesdays 1-3 pm First Christian Church - Tuesdays First Presbyterian Church - Fridays 2-5 pm Community Church - 3rd Saturdays First Methodist Church - vouchers Bethany Baptist Locust Gap Baptist St. Johns Methodist United Methodist State Line Baptist had a huge garden in 2009 First Assembly of God is putting in a garden for 2010 Various Churches host community meals Ministerial Alliance Thanksgiving Dinners Figure 29 shows the top ten items and the number of times items appear on thedrawings, occurring on at least four of the thirteen drawings.Figure 29: Top Ten Items that Appear on Community Meeting Drawings 4 4 11 Home/Individual Gardens 4 Farms Grocery Stores Churches/Food Pantries 4 8 Farmers Market Restaurants 5 Livestock - including grass fed, small livestock, chickens Produce Stands Senior Center 8 5 Meals on Wheels High School Wild Food Plants 6 7 6 Following these top ten, with three occurrences on the drawings include: School lunches,summer food program, Community Center, apple orchard in Shady Valley, Trade Mill, naturalwater sources, and vineyards (in Shady Valley and Doe Valley). Items with 2 occurrencesinclude: homes/home canning, Women Infants and Children, Neighborhood Service Center –Commodities, and the dairy in Shady Valley. Other items on the drawings appearing onceinclude: Greenhouses, Does the North East Correctional Complex have a garden?, hunting, home 68
  • 76. health care, ―The Place‖ for teens, nursing home, wasted land, church and community support.Other mentions of community support include: support for people growing and providing food,empowerment, availability/viability/dignity, and sponsorships.What do we want? Community gardens were mentioned at all three of the meetings. In the January meetingthe participants felt a need for a space to have their gardens and a specific person to be on site toguide gardeners. At the April meeting, focused on a soup kitchen, the idea was suggested thatthe community gardens supply the soup kitchen with fresh produce. These participants wantedto know if chickens could be included, how big the gardens would be, and possible liabilityissues. Participants at the third meeting, focused on community gardens, talked about theimportance of promoting the gardens through community outreach and public serviceannouncements in the media. It was mentioned that low-income residents may not have easyaccess to various forms of media. Community gardens were talked about as places that empowerpeople to provide food for themselves and could inspire others to grow their own. Youth involvement was also mentioned at all of the meetings. The Future Farmers ofAmerica is an amazing program at the high school winning numerous awards. They have a―Food for America‖ program that could be implemented. This program connects high schoolstudents with elementary school students where the high schoolers educate the younger studentsabout growing gardens. People feel the importance of education could be better instilled inyouth. One participant noted that people under 18 in North Carolina are not allowed to havetheir driver’s license if they are not in school. This was noted as one policy that wouldencourage youth to stay in school. Education was also important at all three meetings. People think there needs to be greatereducation in proper meal portions, cooking, preparing, and preserving food, home economics,making your own baby food, enriching soil for better plant growth, organic foods, and exerciseactivities. A community kitchen came up at two of the meetings. The participants at the Januarymeeting thought the kitchen could act as a venue for the farmers market, provide meals, and havea store that sells local products. The April meeting was focused on using the kitchen for soupkitchen purposes while also providing education in cooking, canning, and nutrition. The Aprilmeeting brought forward a series of questions and it was suggested that a comprehensive needsassessment be undertaken. A communication network was also important to participants. They want ways of beinginformed about what is happening related to food production and distribution. Other specific suggestions that came up included: creating a master list of fooddistributors/providers, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, living wage job creation,help in starting more farms including hydroponic, aquaculture, and mushrooms. They were alsointerested in gleaning programs like ―plant a row for the hungry,‖ other food rescue programsand hosting plant and seed swaps. The cost of gardening materials was a concern. It was interesting to see how theparticipants linked these costs to corporate agriculture, and local, state, and national policies.Participants noted the corporate control of the agricultural system, the government payingfarmers NOT to produce, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as the terminator seedsthat produce seed that can’t be saved, and wages staying the same while costs of food, seed, feedand other materials rise. 69
  • 77. Some policy suggestions were given at these community meetings. Attendees thoughtthere should be nutritional requirements for food stamp purchases. They feel there should bepolicies to keep jobs in the county like tariffs on imports.High School Groups Twenty-nine agriculture students participated in groups. Two class sessions, one with 12students and the other with 17, were taken to discuss how different types of food systems operate(how national/international food systems compare to local food systems). The studentsparticipated in an activity where they put together pictures and descriptions of four food items.After they worked on these pictures in small groups, the whole group reconvened to share theirpictures and discuss the food system. Students in the first group were especially keen on the possibility of a natural disaster.One particular student felt that ―locally grown food provides a safe haven if disaster strikes.‖Locally grown food does not require long distance transportation; it tastes better, and is easier tosecure. They figured we would ―always have a supply‖ and ―wouldn’t have to wait‖ if we grewour own. They are aware that we live in a community that still grows its own food. Eighteen ofthese students help with home gardens their parents grow. Saving seeds was also mentioned asan important activity. All of them thought gardens were important, but also thought that manyteens are more interested in ―new stuff‖ like video games. If young people could get away fromvideo games long enough, they could learn from their elders. They feel we need more youngpeople growing food. ―If young people don’t farm today, who will farm in the future‖ was saidby one student. Another student pointed out, ―We are the Future Farmers of America.‖ The second group brought up concerns like rBGH (growth hormones), geneticallyengineered foods, E. coli in the national food system, and government control of schoolcurriculum. They mentioned ―victory gardens‖ and how they were used to help the war effortduring World War II. They feel that it is good to start on a community level with something likea farmers market so people can see how to sustain communities. When asked what they are most worried about, ―jobs‖ echoed across the room. ―There isnothing to do‖ and they are bored. They would like a better skate park, a place with activities forteenagers, a movie theater, and bowling alley. They thought the idea of a community gardenwould be fun where they could teach younger students. There are two FFA programs that couldbe implemented to support school gardens, Food for America and Partners in Active LearningSuccess (PALS). These students are informed about the global food system and aware that farmers makeonly 19 cents of the market dollar for foods on store shelves. Farmers do most of the work andshould get most of the money instead of big corporations getting the money. Some of them thinklocal food sounds like another government handout. They did express a concern that localpeople would not be able to afford locally grown and/or organic foods. Others of them thinklocal food could generate more money, businesses, and jobs in the county. 70
  • 78. Community Survey A written survey consisting of 27 questions was distributed throughout Johnson Countyover the course of the project. During the first couple months, the Food Security Council workedto determine what types of questions to ask. Once the questions were determined (see AppendixE), the council set out to gather 1,000 responses. Parents of school children, food pantryconsumers, and farmers market consumers were directly targeted by the Food Security Council.These outlets were attended to gather surveys in person. Surveys were also distributed throughthe other various food assistance providers, by FFA students at the high school, 4-H students atthe middle school, and office buildings in Mountain City. One of the Appalachian StateUniversity students, knowledgeable about online survey tools, posted the survey online. Onlineaccess to the survey was promoted on the Johnson County Library’s webpage, the JohnsonCounty Farmers Market webpage, by word of mouth, and through email campaigns. Thisstrategy ensured that people from all income levels and communities in the county had theopportunity to give their input. Ultimately, 659 surveys were gathered from communitymembers. Question one asked, ―What community do you live in?‖ The most commonly noted areasof residence were Johnson County and Mountain City. There were respondents from Butler,Cold Springs, Doe Valley, Laurel Bloomery, Trade, Roan Creek, Fords Creek, Neva, ShadyValley, Pleasant Valley, Sugar Creek, Crackers Neck, and other small communities within thecounty. The widespread range of responses to this question ensured that opinions were gatheredfrom all geographic areas of the county. Personal demographic information was optional on the survey. Females accounted for74% of the survey respondents, and 20% were male. The remaining 6% chose not to answer thisquestion. Nearly half the respondents were in the 35-59 year old age bracket and 39% were inthe $0-20,000 income category. Eighty percent identify as being white (non-Hispanic) with 15%choosing not to respond with their ethnicity. Demographics of survey respondents are relativelyclose to the overall demographics of the community, other than the gender imbalance. The highnumber of females who answered the survey may indicate that women source food for thehousehold more than men. In response to a question about household eating habits, 51% of all respondents said they―always have enough to eat and the kinds of food they wanted.‖ 26.5% said they ―always hadenough to eat, but not always the kind of food they want.‖ 9.5% said they ―sometimes do nothave enough to eat‖ and 2.5% said they ―often do not have enough to eat.‖ Over 10% left thisquestion blank. While it seems apparent that most people have the kinds of food that they want,it is important to keep in mind how many people use food assistance programs. Without theseprograms these numbers would drop significantly. Also, in discussions with communitymembers who use food assistance it was clear that many people are happy to receive food of anytype, and would not say that it is not the kind of food that they want. 71
  • 79. Figure 30: Food Security in Johnson County 60 50 40 We always have enough to eat and the kinds of percent of respondents food we want. We have enough to eat but not always the kinds of food we want. We sometimes do not have enough to eat. 30 Often we do not have enough to eat. (skipped) 20 10 0 This question about household eating habits is an ―early question to screen out the food-secure respondents‖ (Bickel et al. 2000). In April 1995, the US Census Bureau implemented thefirst Food Security Supplement to its Current Population Survey (CPS). These measurementsinclude a series of survey questions to identify the severity of food insecurity at the local, state,and national levels. While these additional questions would have more comprehensive assessedthe extent of food insecurity in Johnson County, this level of detail was beyond the scope of thisproject. It would appear that half of the population is food secure, but do people have enough toeat because they access federal food programs, food pantries, other services and alternative foodsources? The USDA definition of food security says that people are food secure if they do notresort to emergency food assistance. Question nineteen asked, ―Have you ever applied for food stamps?‖ Forty three percentof all respondents chose not to answer this question. Eighty-two respondents said yes, and 292said no. When asked why they were not receiving food stamps, 245 respondents said that theydon’t need them. Eighty-seven said that they did not think that they were qualified. Twenty-threesaid that they applied and were turned down. Twenty people said that they do not want to apply.Some of the open-ended responses gave insight into some underlying attitudes in JohnsonCounty. Responses included, ―because I have a job,‖ and, ―because I don’t think it’s thegovernment’s place to provide for me or my family,‖ and, ―work.‖ These attitudes were alsoreflected to interns at certain points during the survey process. A couple community memberswere upset at the mention of social justice in our brochure. Other responses were things such as,―don’t qualify,‖ ―make too much money,‖ and ―I don’t know.‖ Three hundred seventy-eight respondents, or 57%, said they receive food stamps, while225 do not. Some recipients were only given a $16 stipend for the entire month, but said that itwas worth the time to do this because it qualified them for other aid programs. 72
  • 80. When asked about federal food programs and emergency food programs, the most widelyused program was the food pantries, followed by the school breakfast and lunch program. Thetop three food pantries people referenced were First Baptist, Hale’s, and St. Anthony’s. Morecommunity members used the commodity foods programs than those who used WIC or summerfood. The largest number of respondents, 84, said they depend on these food assistance programsfor more than five meals per week. The other answers were fairly evenly spread between onemeal and four meals per week. Because Johnson County has such strong agricultural roots, many people supplementtheir groceries with wild or cultivated food. Question two asked, ―Do you or anyone in yourhousehold grow a vegetable garden or hunt for meat for the house?‖ Over half (57%) ofrespondents noted that they grow a vegetable garden, while 20.95% of respondents said thatsomeone hunts for meat for the house. Even those who do not garden or hunt themselves areoften a beneficiary of someone else’s garden or hunting. Over 50% of respondents said thatsomeone does share gardened vegetables and wild game with them, while 40% said they do notreceive food from others. Over half of respondents said that only 0-25% of their yearly foodintake comes from gardened or hunted food. Over 26% said that about 25-50% of their foodcomes from hunting and gardening, while 10.81% of respondents said 50-75% of their foodcomes from these sources. Only about 3.19% of all community members surveyed said that 75-100% of their food is from a home garden or wild game. Of all respondents, 40% said that atleast 25% of their annual food intake is grown or hunted by themselves or people they know.Figure 31 charts the survey answers to: ―How much of what you eat each year comes from yourgarden/hunting or someone else’s garden/hunting?‖Figure 31: Percent Eaten from Gardens and Hunting 400 350 300 250 number of responses 0-25% 25-50% 200 50-75% 75-100% (skipped) 150 100 50 0 Because one of the JCCFAPP goals is to grow the local food economy, residents’cooking habits were evaluated. Two hundred thirty-nine respondents said that they cook morethan 11 meals per week at home, indicating that most of their eating is home cooked food. Onehundred seventy five people (26%) said that they cook about 7 to 10 meals per week at home, 73
  • 81. while 135 said 4-6, and 85 respondents said they only cook 1-3 meals per week at home. It isencouraging that such a high number of respondents said that they cook most of their meals athome. It was apparent through interaction with community members that cooking is an importantskill. Also, many survey respondents at various food pantries verbally expressed that they havehad to adapt their cooking styles to the wide range of food they receive from food assistanceproviders. Though respondents indicated that they have adapted their cooking habits this does notnecessarily translate into cooking healthy and nutritional food. Three hundred sixty-fiverespondents said that most of their home cooked meals come from scratch, while 250 said theyuse mostly prepackaged goods. It must be pointed out that most of the food received fromassistance programs is prepackaged goods, and that this may account for the high number ofpeople who use these goods. To better ascertain the nutritional value of food consumption, we asked, ―How manyservings of vegetables do you eat per day?‖ The largest number of respondents, 291, said thatthey eat about 1-2 servings of vegetables per day. The margin was thin between this and thenumber of people who consume about 3-4 servings of vegetables per day, which was 253.Nutritionists and the USDA recommend eating 5-6 vegetables per day.Figure 32: Servings of Vegetables Eaten Per Day 350 300 250 number of responses 0 200 1 to 2 3 to 4 5 to 6 more than 6 150 (skipped) 100 50 0 Question fourteen asked, ―What types of food do you eat most regularly?‖ Respondentswere given three choices: nutritional, kind-of nutritional, and not very nutritional. Again thepattern was clear that most respondents fell in the middle category, with 325 responses for kind-of nutritional food. Two hundred thirty nine people said that they eat nutritional food, while only26 said that they eat not very nutritional foods. Surveyors noted that many respondentsverbalized a feeling that they ate about as nutritionally as possible, but could only eat food ashealthy as what they received for free. One respondent verbally told an intern that she would liketo eat more nutritionally, but her local food pantry regularly provided foods such as Little Debbie 74
  • 82. snacks, cereals, and bread. She stressed that this was the only food her family would have accessto, so they ate it no matter the nutritional value. In an attempt to evaluate the current local food economy, respondents were asked,―Where do you or other members of your household do most of your grocery shopping?‖ Theinstructions for this question asked respondents to check only one store, but the majority ofsurveys had multiple answers checked for the question. The reason for this became apparentupon viewing the open ended other option. A large number of respondents said they shopwherever the best sales are, such as Wal-Mart and Food City. Quite a few respondents said thatthey shop at EarthFare and Harris Teeter in Boone because they prefer more fresh fruits andvegetables and like to buy organic goods. Many residents noted that they go to Food City inDamascus, Virginia. These respondents verbally told surveyors that the reason for this was toavoid high food taxes in Tennessee. It is apparent that most residents in Johnson County shop atvarious stores for various reasons, and that the data for this question was quite skewed in relationto the variety of food store choices residents make. To follow up on shopping habits, the survey asked for reasons for shopping at certainlocations. The main reason listed was lower prices, as 333 respondents noted. Three hundred fiverespondents said they choose a convenient location, while 229 said they make their choice basedon selection. Seventy-three residents said they choose a store because it accepts food stamps. Theresult of lower prices as the main driving factor for food store choice reinforces the attitudesencountered in other survey questions and in the focus groups. As far as locally-produced food goes, the most frequented local food outlet was theJohnson County Farmers Market (a category that also included other multiple vendor markets).One hundred ninety respondents had shopped at the Famers Market, and 118 said they boughtproduce from the Johnson County High School. One hundred fifty-four respondents said thatthey had bought produce from a produce stand or another single vendor market. Names for thesesingle vendors include Shull’s, Scottie’s, Forge Creek Farm, Snyders, Watson’s, Arrowhead, andvarious friends and neighbors. Sixty-ones community members said they had bought producefrom the Trade Mill in the past. The survey included open-ended questions to spur thought about the state of foodsecurity in Johnson County. The most popular suggestion was more tips for getting the most outof your money at the grocery store. The other top four useful items were information on money-saving recipes and cooking techniques, information or classes on canning and other ways topreserve food, healthy eating information, and information about government programs andservices. Three hundred thirty-two residents responded to a question about food concerns in thecounty. Resoundingly, ―price‖ is the biggest concern with 72 people expressing concern, saying:―quality, price, and being able to buy more LOCAL products,‖ ―too expensive for people like meon disability,‖ ―not available or are too expensive,‖ ―going up higher,‖ and ―we need lowerprices‖. The second largest concern, with 60 responses, was that there are many people in thecounty who do not have enough food to eat. Concerns about hungry children were mentioned in18 of these 60 responses. People are concerned that ―a lot of people don’t have enough,‖ thatthere is ―not enough to go around,‖ ―children and older adults who do not have enough to eat ornutritious food to eat,‖ and that there is ―not enough food to prepare.‖ Many recognize theimportance of schools in feeding hungry children with statements like, ―too many of my childrendo not get enough to eat outside of school,‖ ―children not having good food to eat. They really 75
  • 83. go to school to have something to eat,‖ ―low income children not having enough food afterschool and during the summer,‖ and, ―now that school will end, children will go hungry‖. The third largest concern, with 20 responses, was the lack of home gardens and farms inthe county. People said there is ―not enough growed,‖ ―it bothers me that not as many peoplegrow gardens as use to,‖ ―more needs to be home-grown,‖ there are ―not enough gardens in thecounty.‖ One respondent said, ―people should plant more gardens and have nutritional food,‖which leads to one of the next largest concerns about food- nutrition and freshness of food. Many people mentioned the lack of nutritional value in food people eat and theimportance of nutrition education. Some responses include: ―Most of the food available areprocessed, non nutritional. We need affordable healthy food choices that will increase our wellbeing and lower our illness level,‖ ―nutrition misuse causing obesity and other health problems,‖and, ―children doing without enough and the right kinds of nutrition.‖ One respondent said we―need more teaching for children (about) healthy choices. Not everyone gets this opportunityfrom parents.‖ Freshness of available foods in the county goes hand in hand with the sense that peopleshould grow more gardens. Fifteen of the respondents expressed concern about the freshness offood available in the county. There were concerns about the lack of jobs, local food, organicfood, and knowledge about the undesirable health impacts of eating fast and junk foods. A fewpeople were concerned about the success of the farmers market, that people are able and knowhow to preserve food, the impacts of meth, too many fast food restaurants, and not enoughproduce stands. Overall, the price of food and people not having enough to eat are the main concerns forJohnson County residents. The third largest concern, the lack of gardens, could be the answer tothe first two concerns. If people were able to grow gardens, the food would be both affordableand available. These gardens could also generate income for people and educate them aboutnutrition. Question twenty five asked, ―Do you have any other comments? Any ideas abouthelping relieve hunger while also providing connections between locally produced food and localconsumers.‖ Because complex, open-ended questions tend to have lower response rates, it is notsurprising that only 131 people answered this question. Twenty-eight of these answers saidgrowing gardens could relieve hunger, making it the most common response. Community andhome gardens were the most prevalent types of gardens mentioned. School gardens were alsomentioned a few times. Four of the twenty eight stated that it would be beneficial to havecommunity kitchens connected to these gardens. There were three other respondents thatmentioned kitchens, two of which referenced soup kitchens specifically and the third referred tocanning kitchens like there ―used to be.‖ In total there were seven responses that remarked onhaving a kitchen for community purposes. Three respondents thought it would be helpful toprovide resources for gardening such as ―offer[ing] seeds or plants to food stamp or needyfamilies so they can grow their own‖ and providing ―free mulch, compost, etc. to help some of usbuild up our clay/forest soil.‖ One respondent said they thought a community farm ―wouldprovide jobs, local produce, and if it was government assisted the prices could be lower.‖ Theprice of food was a comment for eight of the respondents. Seven others noted the need for jobsin Johnson County. Seventeen respondents noted education as a key to relieving hunger making educationthe second highest response to the question on how to relieve hunger. Nine of these seventeen 76
  • 84. responses were directed at educating people in how to grow food gardens. The remaining sevenresponses included the need for education in nutrition, and cooking and preserving food. Of the other suggestions and comments, food prices, jobs, education, the farmers market,and food sharing were the most common responses. Many respondents expressed satisfactionwith the farmers market: ―It’s great what the Johnson County Farmers Market is attempting todo,‖ ―we love the Johnson County Farmers Market and hope to see more vendors and productsas we prefer to buy local as much as possible,‖ and, ―continue expanding the farmers market andprovide opportunities for low income households to shop at the market.‖ ―Education is key in helping to remove the stigma attached to food stamp benefactors…‖The idea of more societal education was introduced: ―The truth is that the majority of people thatreceive food stamps are disabled/elderly/mentally challenged.‖ Recommendations for educationalso included direction in how to grow gardens, nutritional education, and cooking and foodpreservation. Home Canned Green Beans 77
  • 85. Conclusion It is striking how the findings of the various assessment components reinforce each other.When taken as a whole, several themes emerge from the data – from the voices of JohnsonCounty residents. The extent to which Johnson County families struggle with the cost of food,hunger, and household food insecurity is distressing. On the other hand, the resourcefulness oflocal residents and the degree to which they go out of their way to help their neighbors isheartwarming. As one focus group participant noted: ―Even when I didn’t have anything, I wasstill helping somebody else.‖ JCCFAPP participants recognize many assets that already exist inthe community that could be used to increase community food security. They are proud of thecounty’s agricultural heritage and remember fondly a time when – less than a generation ago –Johnson County had a booming bean economy. When asked to describe a vision for the futureof their community, they cite: good jobs, no more hunger, a sense of community, and self-sufficiency. Many Johnson County families require immediate food assistance. There is someevidence to suggest that expanding food assistance programs - by broadening the scope oftransportation or home delivery options, increasing the amount of food that families are able toreceive from the extensive network of local food pantries, or opening a local soup kitchen - couldreduce these hardships. The Food Security Council understands these needs, but has emphasizeda slightly different approach to community food security. As described in the Background section, programs to promote community food securitycan be placed into three categories. Stage one ―short-term relief‖ programs (e.g. food pantriesand soup kitchens) address the immediate need and provide crucial services, but they do notaddress the root causes of hunger. Many organizations provide short-term relief in the county;they are described in the Federal Food Programs and Emergency Food Assistance Programssections. There are not as many that provide stage two ―capacity-building‖ and stage three―redesign‖ programs. Throughout the assessment process, it was made clear to participants that their inputwould be used to identify existing assets in the community and prioritize five specific grassrootsprojects that could be implemented upon completion of this plan. People were specifically askedwhat types of projects they would like to see in the community. Residents’ responses fell into allthree categories: ―short-term relief,‖ ―capacity building,‖ and ―redesign.‖ Because acomprehensive approach is needed, the Food Security Council has prioritized how the JCCFAPPcan promote stage two and stage three programs and fill an important niche in existing foodsecurity efforts. Steps are being taken to bring together the people and pieces necessary to makethe following projects a reality.Five Projects to Pursue as Desired by the Community 1. Community gardens 2. Educational workshops and outreach 3. A ―food hub‖ for coordinated information sharing on food resources 4. Home garden outreach and development 5. Marketing campaign for Johnson County Farmers Market 78
  • 86. As the capacity of the Food Security Council, the Johnson County Farmers Market, and otherlocal organizations grows, we will be able to take on additional projects. These longer-termpriorities include: Farm to School programs Integrate more support (especially start-ups funds and business/marketing planning) for agripreneurs into the Johnson County Community Economic Development agency Community kitchen/soup kitchenSeven Objectives to Pursue 1. Establish community gardens to promote self-sufficiency. Five sites have been identified as places to establish the first gardens. Each garden will have a ―garden leader‖ to facilitate information sharing, work efforts, outreach, and recruit participants. 2. Provide educational workshops: gardening skills, food preservation, cooking, nutrition, and self-sufficiency. Various workshops will be hosted at the community gardens, the farmers market, and in partnership with other organizations throughout the county. Topics for these workshops will be determined by participants of the gardens, farmers market, and related organizations. 3. Build a network of communication. The Johnson County Farmers Market will maintain communications with various food resource organizations and maintain an updated database of food resources in Johnson County and surrounding areas. This information will be available on the farmers market webpage, at the community gardens, and will be distributed semi-annually to community and other food resource organizations. 4. Provide outreach efforts to support home gardeners. 5. Provide marketing campaign for Johnson County Farmers Market. Promotional materials and advertisements will be created and distributed throughout Johnson County and surrounding areas. These promotions will include: newspaper and radio ads, web listings, business and rack cards, other print materials such as ―local food guides‖ and signage. 6. Renew a connection with Johnson County Community Economic Development organizations to support agripreneurs. Workshops in business start-up, management, and funding will be coordinated with these organizations. Seek funding for efforts related to creating a local food system and support for farmers. 7. Farms to Schools programs - Engage young people in gardening activities. School aged children will be targeted for participation in the community gardens. Field trips to farms will be subsidized so children can afford to go on these trips. In recent years, ―local food‖ has become the buzzword of a national movement thatemphasizes the environmental, economic, social, and health benefits of small-scale farming,direct sales to consumers, and ―local food systems.‖ Appalachian Sustainable AgricultureProject documented a substantial market potential for food production in Johnson County. Manylocal residents understand the benefits of fresh, local, and organic foods and would like to 79
  • 87. consume more of these products. Many families cannot afford to purchase more fresh vegetablesor organic food items. The number of second homeowners in Johnson County is on the rise. Inaddition, many Johnson County residents prioritize home gardens over market-based solutions.There is potential for local food systems as an economic development strategy in JohnsonCounty. The projects identified by Johnson County residents’ highlight the importance of self-sufficiency and thereby differ from what is typified by the national local foods movement. To create meaningful change, improve the standard of living in Johnson County, andincrease community food security, it is important to address the root causes of hunger – one ofwhich is poverty. JCCFAPP participants placed their concerns about rising food prices in thebigger picture of a local economy that is distressed. Residents are very concerned about the lackof good jobs and the difficulty they have in meeting their basic needs. They connect this tonational and global economic trends, citing changes in the US economy that have sent manymanufacturing jobs overseas, eroding the ability of ―blue collar‖ workers to earn a living wage. Strengthening the local food system has the potential to grow the local economy throughfood and agriculture-related businesses – thereby reducing poverty and increasing food securityat the same time. Support for farmers and other agripreneurs is necessary. Community andhome gardens are an important strategy to alleviate food insecurity. While these and otherdevelopment efforts are on-going, producers have access to nearby markets in larger cities.Increasing economic opportunities within the county will make market-based options moreaccessible. The JCCFAPP has taken a systemic, strategic approach in promoting ―capacitybuilding‖ and ―redesign‖ projects in order to increase the amount of fresh local food available inJohnson County as well as residents’ ability to afford those items.Recommendations from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project(ASAP)411. Access local market opportunities in nearby urban centers. Within one hour’s drive ofMountain City there are significant population centers. In Tennessee is the Johnson City MSA(Metropolitan Statistical Area) with nearly 200,000 inhabitants and the Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol,Tennessee-Virginia MSA with a population of over 300,000. Less than 30 miles away in NorthCarolina is Watauga County (pop. 45,000)42 and Boone, which is a popular tourist destinationwith many restaurants, inns, and other businesses catering to tourists.2. Provide training and support to Johnson County farmers. To access local market opportunities,farmers will need specific types of assistance and information. For small and larger scalemarkets, direct marketing and indirect marketing, farmers need to develop skills in businessplanning and market planning. Business planning and market planning in particular are keystrategies to mitigating the risk of entering and expanding into new market outlets. Farmers needassistance determining what types of market outlets are a good match for the capacity of theirfarm. For retail and institutional outlets in particular, farmers may need assistance in developingrelationships with buyers and information specific to market requirements including packagingand labeling requirements, liability insurance, delivery, food safety certifications.41 These recommendations are based on information presented in ―Food Production and Consumption: theAgricultural Economy‖ (see pg. 26) and were prepared by Charlie Jackson and Allison Perrett of ASAP.42 North Carolina Rural Center 80
  • 88. 3. Support direct-to-consumer market outlets. Direct markets provide the highest return tofarmers in comparison to other markets, they provide an easy entry point for farmers new tomarketing because of the minimal cost required for entry, and in providing a direct connectionbetween consumer and farmer they cultivate customer loyalty and advocacy for local farms andfood. ASAP surveys of farmers market shoppers demonstrate that the markets are supported byan increasing base of repeat customers who shop there not just for food but for the experience ofinteracting directly with the people that grow their food and for a sense of community. Between2002 and 2010, the number of farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture farms(CSAs) in the Southern Appalachian region has increased about 80 percent. This statistic echoesthe data from the 2007 Agricultural Census, which shows a 49% increase in direct food sales to$1.2 billion in 2007 from $812 million in 2002. Support might be in the form of the promotion ofexisting direct-to-consumer outlets—tailgate markets, CSAs, on-farm stores and stands;workshops and training for farmers on relevant topics—salesmanship and display, best foodsafety practices, food regulation, marketing and promotion, etc; or in the form of assistance withthe expansion of outlets.4. Explore the viability of larger scale retail market outlets. There is a practical limit to howmuch food can be sold through direct market outlets and the largest share of consumers’ foodspending will continue to be in grocery stores and supermarkets. In the Tri-Cities area, there is atleast one grocery store chain that sources produce from local farms. Food City is a family ownedcompany with 93 stores across three states. There are at least nine locations in the Tri-Citiesregion, and their distribution warehouse is located within 30 miles in Abington, Virginia.5. Explore the viability of institutional market outlets including public schools, hospitals, andcolleges. With the growth of the local food movement, there has been increasing interest byschools, hospitals, and colleges in providing fresh, local options to students, staff, patients, andemployees. With institutional market settings like schools and hospitals there is the opportunityto highlight the connections between food, food access, and health; nurture healthy eating habitsin kids and families; and over the long term build support and appreciation for local farms andfood. With schools and hospitals, because they reach broad constituencies and reach acrosssocioeconomic and other cultural lines, these outlets provide opportunities to increase thedistribution of fresh, local food to vulnerable children and families. Public schools in particular provide farms in rural settings with market options. Ruralareas often lack sufficient market outlets but school systems exist in every county and have thepotential to provide a steady market for farmers. Additionally, in the Tri-Cities region majoremployers are in healthcare and higher education with over a dozen hospitals and over 15colleges/universities. As a market venue for farmers, institutional markets should be part of an overall strategyof market diversification. Institutional markets can not only be difficult for farms to accessbecause of specific institutional and infrastructure requirements, they can be less profitable toindividual farms because often there is a middleman involved.6. Consider market diversification as a risk management strategy. From an economic standpoint,a market diversification strategy where producers sell into a variety of market outlets makesbusiness sense. In times of economic strife and in the context of market fluctuations, farmsselling into a diversity of market outlets are going to be more resilient. 81
  • 89. 7. Promote Johnson County farms and food. With more and more interest by consumers insupporting local farms and buying local food, it is vital that consumers know where find localfood and, in retail and institutional market settings in particular, are able to identify it and makeinformed purchasing decisions. ASAP’s consumer research in Western North Carolina showsthe significance of local labeling. The majority of consumers surveyed indicated that they wouldbuy more local if it were labeled local and pay more. Demand for local can only be realized ifconsumers can find and identify local products. In this context, marketing and promotionthrough advertisements, packaging and labeling, in-store promotional materials, throughpackaging and labeling, and other forms of promotion is a critical element. ASAP’s AppalachianGrown™ regional branding and certification program provides farms with a means to enhancethe visibility of their products in local markets and accordingly, their ability to compete moreeffectively. Johnson County is in ASAP’s Appalachian Grown region.8. Investigate the types of assistance and resources available through farm support services andrelevant nonprofits in the region.9. Conduct additional research to quantify the demand of specific market outlets in JohnsonCounty and the Tri-Cities region. Shoppers at the Johnson County Farmers Market 82
  • 90. Works CitedBickel, Gary, Mark Nord, Cristofer Price, William Hamilton, and John Cook. 2000. Guide to Measuring Household Food Security, Revised 2000. Alexandria, VA: US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service., Annette. 2008. Despite Higher Food Prices, Percent of US Income Spent on Food Remains Constant. Amber Waves: The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America (September). USDA Economic Research Service., Barbara. 2002. Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit. USDA Economic Research Service., Suzanne. 1993. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): An Annotated Bibliography and Resource Guide, USDA, National Agricultural Library.Kobayashi, Michelle, Lee Tyson, and Jeanette Abi-Nader. 2010. The Activities and Impacts of Community Food Projects 2005-2009, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.Krueger, Richard A. and Mary Anne Casey. 2009. Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for AppliedResearch, 4th edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.National Research Center, Inc. 2006. Community Food Project Evaluation Handbook, 3rd edition, Portland, OR: Community Food Security Coalition., James and Fazana Saleem-Ismail. 2002. The Emergency Food Assistance System— Findings from the Provider Survey, Volume 1: Executive Summary. USDA Economic Research Service, Food and Rural Economics Division., Sue and Zena Simces. 2008. Community Food Assessment Guide. Vancouver, BC: Provincial Health Services Authority. 76D687CF6596-46FEAA9AA536D61FB038/28451/PHSAreportCFAI communityfood assessmentguide.pdfWinne, Mark. Community food security: Promoting food security and building healthy food systems. Venice, CA: Community Food Security Coalition 83
  • 91. Appendix A: Federal Food Programs and Contact InformationSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as “Food Stamps” orElectronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) 150 E. Main Street Mountain City, TN 37683-1642 Ph: (423) 727-7704 | Fax: (423) 727-4404 - Services: Food Stamp; Families First; Medicaid; and TennCareThe Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Johnson County Health Department 715 W. Main Street Mountain City, TN 37683-1217 (423) 727-9731Free and Reduced School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Johnson County Schools 211 North Church Street Mountain City, TN 37683 Ph: 423.727.2640 | Fax: 423.727.2663Summer Food Service Program/ Child and Adult Food Care Program Johnson County Schools 211 North Church Street Mountain City, TN 37683 Ph: 423.727.2640 | Fax: 423.727.2663Commodity Supplemental Food Program Neighborhood Service Center/Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency 110 Pioneer Village Dr. Mountain City, TN 37683 (423) 727-6633Congregate Meals/ Meals on Wheels Johnson County Senior Center 128 College Street Mountain City, TN 37683 (423) 727-8883 Johnson County – Mountain City Community Center 214 College Street Mountain City, TN 37683-1330 Phone: (423) 727-2942 84
  • 92. Appendix B: List of Retail Food StoresMountain City Mountain City (continued) TradeFood Country Neva General Store Poplar Ridge100 N Church St 4862 Roan Creek Rd 11532 Highway 421 SMountain City, TN 37683 Mountain City, TN 37683 Trade, TN 37691-6170Food Lion Doe Valley Food Mart2291 South Shady St. 5299 Highway 67 W ButlerMountain City, TN 37683 Mountain City, TN 37683 Dollar GeneralSave-A-Lot Fred’s 12437 HWY 67W220 Pioneer Village Drive 100 Pioneer Village Butler, TN 37640-7228Mountain City TN 37683 Mountain City, TN 37683 Dry Hill General StoreDollar General Trivette’s Super Quick Stop 1535 Dry Hill Rd.2303 S Shady St. 422 W. Main St. Butler, TN 37640-7217Mountain City, TN 37683 Mountain City, TN 37683 PleasanDollar General Roan Creek Grocery 12039 Highway 67 W501 S. Church St. 4862 Roan Creek Rd. Butler, TN 37640-7228Mountain City, TN 37683 Mountain City, TN 37683 Watson’s GroceryBig Louis Shady Valley 13468 Highway 67 W3785 Highway 421 S Butler, TN 37640-7217Mountain City, TN 37683 Shady Valley Country Store 110 Highway 133 Laurel BloomeryLazy Day Market Shady Valley, TN 37688517 South Church Street A to Z MarketMountain City, TN 37683 Shady Valley General Store 7131 Highway 91 N and More Laurel Bloomery, TN 37680Quick Shop 9854 Highway 421 N995 South Shady Street Shady Valley, TN 37688 Silver Lake Market and DeliMountain City, TN 37683 4423 Highway 91 N Mountain City, TN 37683Trading Post201 East Main StreetMountain City, TN 37683 85
  • 93. Appendix C: Food Assistance Provider Survey Johnson County Community Food Assessment and Planning Project Food Assistance Provider SurveyThis survey is a part of a community wide survey/assessment being conducted in order to write aplan for food security in Johnson County. Food security is defined as: the ability for all peopleto have enough to eat at all times. The services you provide are crucial in achieving foodsecurity in Johnson County. All responses will be compiled so that we can get an overall pictureof food assistance that is provided for people in our community with the greatest need.Individual responses will be kept confidential. Your time in answering this survey is greatlyappreciated!1. What kind of food services do you provide? (Please check all that apply.)�Food bags or boxes to needy families or individuals�Holiday Food Baskets�"Soup Kitchen" meals�Home delivered meals to the homebound�Meal or food vouchers�SHARE (food co-op)�Other, Please describe:___________________________________________________2. How often do you provide these services?_______# of days each week_______# days each month_______ as needed_______other, please describe:______________________________________________10. How many paid and volunteer hours per month do people work for your program? __3. How long has your agency been providing food assistance services in Johnson County?� years � 1-5 6-10 years Over 10 years4. Which of the following best describes your program:�Government � Church affiliated nonprofit �Private nonprofit�Other, Please describe:__________________________________________________5. Please give us information on the following monthly averages for 2009:______Total # of meals, vouchers, or bags of food that you give out each month______Total # of people served. Of this total # served, what percent are: ______%men _____%women ____% families with children$_________Total estimated value of food assistance given each month 86
  • 94. 6. Have you noticed any change over the past two to three years in the number of requests foryour food services? (Please check one.)�Small Increase � Large Increase �Small Decrease � Large Decrease�No Change7. Does your organization provide any of the following services at times when food is provided? Yes NoNutrition education � �Religious service � �Information on hygiene � �Employment information � �Other:__________________________________________________21. Do you have nutrition guidelines for making up the grocery bags or meals?�Yes �No � Sometimes8. Are there any problems which your agency is facing that threaten the continuation of the foodprogram, or is your program secure?�The food program is secure. �The food program is threatened.What issues threaten your program?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________13. Do you see any change in the requests for food toward the end of the month? (Please checkone.) �Small Increase � Large Increase �Small Decrease � Large Decrease�No Change14. What are the sources of the food for your program? (Check all that apply.) Yes No Purchased DonatedRetail food markets � � � �Wholesale/reduced price markets � � � �Farmers/food manufacturers � � � �Restaurants � � � �Food Bank � � � �Church food collections � � � �Community collection bins � � � �Other individuals � � � �Other:_____________________ � � � �15. Which methods does your agency use to pick up food? (Check all that apply.)�We use our agency-owned vehicles�Our volunteers/staff use their own vehicles�Food is delivered to us�Other:___________________________________________ 87
  • 95. 16. If you were unable to receive food from the food bank, what effect would this have on youremergency food service?�No effect � Slight effect (We would need to look for other donors)�Would cause us to reduce days we’re open � No idea17. Do you have enough food to meet the demand?�Always � Most of the time �Rarely18. Are there certain times of the year when it is a problem or more of a problem?�Yes �NoWhat times of year are problematic?________________________________________20. If you are currently having a problem meeting the needs of your participants, how muchmore food per week would be needed to meet this demand? (Meals or bags of food)_________________________________12. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________This section is optional:Agency Name:___________________________________________________________Mailing Address:__________________________________________________________Phone Number:___________________________________________________________Person Completing survey:__________________________________________________Title:___________________________________________________________________ 88
  • 96. Appendix D: Focus Group Questions OutlineQuestions for Consumer Focus GroupsOpening QuestionTell us who you are, where you live, and your favorite foodShopping PatternsWhere do you do most of your shopping?Besides the grocery store, where else do you get food?How important are these ―alternative‖ sources of food in your regular food supply? Do you rely on them more at specific times of the month or at certain times of the year?Are there any benefits to relying on these ―alternative‖ sources instead of the grocery store?Are there any reasons why you don’t utilize ―alternative‖ sources of food?Household Food SecurityHow many people would say that they either ran out or worried about running out of food duringthe past year?How many people would say that they either run out or worry about running out of food everymonth?What are some of the things that you might do to make your food or food money last longer?How many people have ever participated in any kind of food assistance program (food stamps,food pantry, etc)?Think about the food assistance programs you participate in. How important are these programsto your household?You also may have a less formal support system, that is, friends and family who will lend youmoney, give you food, cook for you, or let you buy on credit. Can you describe some of these networks? Do you ever provide this type of support for family members or friends?What would you say is most important in helping you cope with times when food or foodconcerns are a major problem?Community Food SecurityNow we’re going to switch gears a little bit. We’ve been talking about household food use. Andnow we’re going to talk about how food and agriculture impact the entire community.[Explain food system diagram]What assets does Johnson County already have that could be used to increase its food security?What are your biggest concerns about food and agriculture in Johnson County?[hand out paper and pens] Close your eyes. Imagine you are transported in a time machine 20years into the future and Johnson County is in an ideal world. Imagine what kind of communityyou would want for your grandchildren. What role do food and agriculture play in this idealworld?Spend a few minutes quietly thinking and writing about your ideal world. What kinds of food are people eating? Where does this food come from? Where and when do they eat? 89
  • 97. How does it impact people’s health? How does agriculture impact the economy? How does it impact the environment?What is it like in your ideal world?What do you think the community—local elected officials, businesses, and local residentsworking together and building on the assets we’ve already discussed-- could do to help createthis ideal world?What do you think is the most important thing the community could do to help create this idealworld?Are you willing to get involved in this effort? What could you do to help?Ending QuestionsThe purpose of this group today was to get information on the amounts and types of food you areusing in your household and to gather your ideas for the future of food and agriculture inJohnson County. Have we missed anything?Questions for Producers Focus GroupOpening QuestionTell us who you are, where you live, and what you like most about being involved in local foodproduction.Running Your BusinessWhat are some of the places you sell your products? Why do these places work the best for you?Are there other places you would like to sell your products? What are the barriers that prevent you from expanding to these other outlets?What food processing resources would you like to see in the community?How has food production in Johnson County changed in the recent past?Would you view programs to promote home gardening and community gardens as competingwith your business?Community InvolvementDo you think it’s important for most of the food consumed in Johnson County to have beenproduced and/or processed within the County? Why or why not?Do you think most Johnson County residents feel the same way [support the local food system]? Do they frequently patronize local food producers or markets? Do you think Johnson County residents have adequate information on what local food producers and markets are available?What types of resources or programs would help expand food-related entrepreneurship inJohnson County?What other types of community support are needed? 90
  • 98. Community Food SecurityWhat assets does Johnson County already have that could be used to grow the local food system?What are your biggest concerns about food and agriculture in Johnson County?What do you think the community—local elected officials, businesses, and local residentsworking together and building on the assets we’ve already discussed-- could do to help support astronger local food system?Ending QuestionsHave we missed anything? Is there anything you really wanted to discuss tonight that hasn’talready been mentioned? 91
  • 99. Appendix E: Community Survey Johnson County Community Food Assessment Survey1. What community do you live in? ____________2. Do you or anyone in your household: grow a vegetable garden?  Yes  No hunt for meat for the house?  Yes  No3. Does someone in another household: share garden vegetables or hunted meat with you?  Yes  No4. How much of what you eat each year comes from your garden and hunting and/or someone else’s garden and hunting?  0-25%  25-50%  50-75%  75-100%5. Do you know how to grow vegetables?  Yes  No If no, would you like to learn?  Yes  No If yes, would you be interested in teaching others?  Yes  No6. Would you grow vegetables if someone had garden space to share?  Yes  No7. Do you have space for a garden you would be willing to share with others in your community?  Yes  No8. Where do you eat most of your meals? (please check one)  At home  Sit down restaurant  At home of family  Convenience store  Fast food  Church  Workplace  Other (please explain)_______________9. Where do your children, living at home, eat most of their meals?  No children at home  At home  Sit down restaurant  At another home  Convenience store  Fast food  School  Church  Workplace  Other (please explain)_______________10. Do you cook meals at home?  Yes  No11. If yes, how many meals per week do you prepare at home?  1-3  4-6  7-10  more than 1112. Do you prepare these meals mostly from  scratch Or  prepackaged goods? 92
  • 100. 13. How many servings of vegetables do you eat per day?  0  1-2  3-4  5-6  more than 614. What types of food do you eat most regularly?  Nutritional  Kind of nutritional  Not very nutritional15. Where do you or other members of your household do most of your grocery shopping? (check one)  Food Lion  Save a Lot  Food Country  Convenience Stores  Dollar Store  Out of county (please describe)________________  Other (please describe)______________________16. Why do you shop at this store? (please check all that apply)  Convenient location  Lower prices  Good selection  Accepts food stamps  Other (please explain)_____________________17. How do you or members of your household get to this store?  Own car  Walk  Friend or relatives car  Bike  Other (please explain)_______________18. Have you ever shopped at the following outlets for locally produced food? (Please check all that apply)  Trade Mill  Johnson County Farmers Market or other multiple vendor market  Johnson County High School  Local Farm (please name)____________________  Produce Stand or other single vendor market (please name)__________  Other (please name)_______________________19. Do you or anyone in your household receive food stamps?  Yes (answer the following question) How many weeks worth of food can you usually buy with your food stamps? ________ (skip to question 19)  No (please answer the following questions) Have you ever applied for food stamps?  Yes  No What are the reasons you’re not getting food stamps? (Please check all that apply)  don’t need them  do not want to apply  applied/turned down  not worth the trouble  don’t think I’m qualified  don’t have transportation  waiting for stamps  don’t know about food stamps  embarrassment/pride  can’t fill out forms  other (please explain)______________________ 93
  • 101. 20. Do you or anyone in your household regularly use any of the following food programs?  Senior Center  School Breakfast/Lunch Program  Meals on Wheels  SHARE  Summer Food Program  WIC  Commodity Program  Community Center Meals  Food Pantry (which one or ones)?____________  Other (please name)_____________________21. How many meals total per week do you eat through these programs?  1  2  3 4  more than 522. Which of these statements best describes the food eating in your household in the last twelve months? (check one)  We always have enough to eat and the kinds of food we wanted.  We have enough to eat but not always the kinds of food we want.  We sometimes do not have enough to eat.  Often we do not have enough to eat.23. Would any of the following things be helpful to you or other members of your household?  tips on getting the most for your money at the grocery store  information on money-saving recipes and cooking techniques  information or classes on canning and other ways to put up food  recipes and information for using government commodity foods  healthy eating information  food safety information  help with reading or understanding forms and instructions  information about government programs and services  other (please explain)______________________24. What are your biggest concerns about food in Johnson County? __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ _________________________________25. Do you have any other comments? Any ideas about helping relieve hunger while also building connections between locally produced food and local consumers? __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ _________________________________ 94
  • 102. 26. Are you: Male ___ Female ___27. About how old are you?  17 and under  18-34  35-59  60 and overThis section is optional28. What ethnicity do you most closely identify with?  White (non-Hispanic)  African American (non-Hispanic)  Hispanic  American Indian/Alaskan Native  Asian or Pacific Islander  Other (please describe) _____________29. Including yourself how many people live in your household? Total _____ Children under 18 ____ Adults 18 and over _____30. What range includes your total household income, before taxes, for 2008?  $0-$20,000  $20,001 to$30,000  $30,001 to $50,000  $50,001 & over31. Are you interested in getting involved with the Johnson County Community Food Assessment and Planning Project?  Yes  No If yes, may we record your contact information?  Yes  NoName:___________________________________________________Adress:__________________________________________________Phone Number:____________________________________________Email:___________________________________________________Where did you fill out this survey?______________________________ 95
  • 103. Appendix F: DefinitionsCommunity Food Assessment - A collaborative and participatory process to systematicallyexamine a broad range of community food assets and resources, so as to inform on local issuesthat need attention and change actions to make the community more food secure (Kobayashi et al2010).Community Garden - A garden where people share basic resources—land, water, and sunlight.Community gardens are the sites of a unique combination of activities such as food production,recreation, social and cultural exchange, and the development of open space, community spirit,skills, and competence (Kobayashi et al 2010).Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - A community of individuals who pledge supportto a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the communitysfarm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks andbenefits of food production (DeMuth 1993).Dumpster Diving – The practice of sifting through commercial or private trash to find items thathave been discarded by their owners, but which may be useful to dumpster divers.Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) - An electronic system that allows a recipient to authorizetransfer of their government benefits from a Federal account to a retailer account to pay forproducts received. Also known as Food Stamps. EBT was changed to Supplemental NutritionAssistance Program (SNAP) in 2009.Farmers Market - Organization that provides resources and a gathering place for farmers andconsumers to exchange products (Kobayashi et al 2010).Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) - Administrators of nutrition assistance programs of the USDepartment of Agriculture. The mission of FNS is to provide children and needy families betteraccess to food and a more healthful diet through its food assistance programs and comprehensivenutrition education efforts.43Food Bank - A non-profit/charitable organization that distributes mostly donated food to awide variety of agencies, including but not limited to food pantries.Food-buying Cooperative - A group of people or organizations that purchases food together inbulk to receive discounted prices or increased access (Kobayashi et al 2010).Food Insecurity — Limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods orlimited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.Food Policy Council/ Network - A Food Policy Council (FPC) is comprised of stakeholdersfrom various segments of a state or local food system. Councils can be officially sanctioned43 96
  • 104. through a government action (such as legislation or an Executive Order) or can be a grassrootseffort. While this category is not limited to policy initiatives, many FPCs’ primary goal is toexamine the operation of the local food system and provide ideas or recommendations for how itcan be improved (Kobayashi et al 2010).Food Security — ―Access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.Food security includes at a minimum: (1) the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safefoods, and (2) an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (e.g.,without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies)‖(Bickel et al 2000).Food Sovereignty - The right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food producedthrough ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food andagriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of foodsystems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.Food System - Encompasses the complete supply chain of food, from production toconsumption.Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - an organism whose genetic material has been alteredusing genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNAtechnology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one moleculeto create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified ornovel genes. Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms which have inserted DNAthat originated in a different species. Some GMOs contain no DNA from other species and aretherefore not transgenic but cisgenic.Gleaning - The collection of leftover crops after fields have been harvested.Hunger —The uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food. The recurrent andinvoluntary lack of access to food (Cohen 2002).Locavore - Those who are interested in eating food that is locally produced.Organic – That which is natural. Food produced without the use of artificial fertilizers,pesticides, and other chemicals.Promoting Local Food Purchases - An education, outreach, or public relations campaign thathighlights the benefits of purchasing raw and value-added local foods and food products. Thismay encompass support for activities such as buy-local campaigns, community supportedagriculture, farmto-cafeteria efforts, and farmers markets (Kobayashi et al 2010).Self-Sufficiency - A quality or condition of being independently efficient. ―A measure of self-sufficiency in food is regarded as one of the primary elements in natural defense.‖4444 World Agriculture (Rural Institute for International Affairs Study Group) 97
  • 105. Social Capital - the interpersonal networks and common civic values which influence theinfrastructure and economy of a particular society; the nature, extent, or value of these citizenscoming together to participate in public space on public issues.Social Justice - In the context of community food security, social justice is ―the injustice ofhunger and food insecurity‖ as well as ―the adequacy of wages and working conditions for allthose who earn their livelihoods from the food system‖ (Winne).Sustainable Agriculture - an integrated system of plant and animal production practices havinga site-specific application that will: 1) Satisfy human food needs 2) Enhance environmentalquality 3) Make most efficient use of nonrenewable resources 4) Sustain economic viability forfarm operations 5) Improve quality of life.45“Victory Garden” - a vegetable garden maintained to provide food in wartime (spec. WWII)45 "Farm Bill" Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI,Subtitle A, Section 1603 (Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1990) 98