This is a guest blog post from Taylor Loyal, our Development Manager serving Rutherford County and surrounding areas.
Anyone who has been to Batey Farms in Murfreesboro during the past couple of weeks knows that the sunflowers there make the perfect backdrop for a family portrait.
What they might not know is that the sunflowers are part of Batey Farms’ plan to help struggling families in Middle Tennessee.
Last year, Brandon and Katherine Whitt of Batey Farms decided to plant sunflowers near their strawberry patch off of Medical Center Parkway. When people started showing up to take pictures in front of the sunflowers, Brandon put up a donation box and a sign asking for donations to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee’s BackPack Program. In a few weeks, more than $2,300 was collected. This year, they planted sunflowers out at the farm on Baker Road.
The BackPack Program provides easy-to-prepare food for at-risk children on weekends and during school breaks when other resources are not available. A typical BackPack includes two canned entrees, such as chili and beans and franks, applesauce, two cereals, 100% fruit juice, shelf-stable milk and a snack. It program serves more than 5,000 hungry children each week at more than 50 programs throughout Middle Tennessee.
“Katherine and I always look at what we can do with what we have,” Brandon said. “We want to help in a unique way.”
Batey Farms is an 8th generation family farm providing farm fresh sausage and pork products since 1807. Brandon, who is the son-in-law of John L. Batey, said they’re constantly looking for ways to diversify the farm – and help the community.
They hosted a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser for Second Harvest this year at The Grove at Williamson Place, the farm’s new event space near the berry patch.
Because agriculture is at the root of most communities, being a farmer provides a unique opportunity to be a leader, Brandon said. But everyone can find a way to use what their talents and resources to help feed hungry people, he added.
“Anybody can do this,” Brandon said.
Batey Farms and the farm retail store is located in the Blackman community of Rutherford County, just 6 miles northwest of Murfreesboro at 5331 Baker Road. While in season, typically May to June, the strawberry patch is located at 3250 Wilkinson Pike in Murfreesboro. For more information, please visit www.bateyfarms.com.
Taylor Loyal can be reached at 615.585.6390, or Taylor.Loyal@secondharvestmidtn.org.