By: Lacy Hilliard
Johnson County has long been a farming community. Kitchen gardens, canning and livestock have all been synonymous with Johnson County mountain life since its settlement in the early 1800s. Though Johnson Countys roots grow agriculturally deep, much like the rest of the country the small family farm industry began to wilt as technology paved the way for an always-on-the-run generation.
However, in the past few years awareness has grown about farming practices. Many American citizens are choosing to educate themselves about the potential dangers of pesticide use and as a result farming practices are beginning to change and a new farming community is gaining strength.
The benefits fresh food brings to the table are scientifically proven. Fresh food is much higher in nutritional value and leaves a much smaller environmental impact in its production and transport. In a community where over 59% of children live below the poverty line there is no doubt that access to fresh food is just as important here as it is worldwide.
The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) celebrated its sixth year this season. Though the market continues to grow and garner community support it has yet to find a home to call its own. The JCFM began in the Quonset hut at the corner of Highways 167 and 421 and has since moved to the courthouse parking lot at 110 Court Street.
The mission of the JCFM as stated on their website is to strengthen a sustainable local agriculture and food economy, which they set out to accomplish by providing education, engaging in community and economic development and promoting the availability and benefits of local agriculture. As stated in market rules, JCFM vendors must be from within a 150-mile radius of Johnson County in order to take part in the market. The geographic vendor restrictions as well programs tailored to the needs of Johnson Countians such as the double your SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) dollars program prove that the JCFM is a true community-minded organization.
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