Farming can lead to a volatile lifestyle. Try as you might, it is impossible to control the countless variables that factor into a successful harvest. In Blackberry Pond’s case, even after you have done everything right, life still wants to throw you a curveball.
Blackberry Pond calls 27 acres of rich farmland in West Tennessee scattered with dozens of varieties of native blackberry bushes home, but Sue, the owner and operator, started with modest intentions. Sue was never happy with the quality of produce she found available in stores, so she started a windowsill garden. Sue says, “Fresh produce isn’t just more flavorful, it is more nutritious.” That small pot parked on her windowsill quickly turned into raised beds, which led to a greenhouse, and culminated in the full-blown operation that Sue runs today.
Generosity has been at the heart of Blackberry Pond Farm since Sue’s days as a mere windowsill gardener. Anyone who gardens knows, you quickly have a surplus of produce, and never enough time to eat it all. So, she started giving food away to those in her community. They told her, quickly, that the food was just too good, though, and that she needed to start charging people for these high quality foods. That is how Blackberry Pond was born.
Recent storms have been detrimental to Blackberry Pond. Summertime tornados destroyed roads leading into and out of the farm, which left Sue and her family stranded inside. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the family had plenty to eat until disaster crews were able to clear roadways. There was another problem, though. The storms were on Friday in the middle of the night, and that Saturday was a market where Blackberry Pond had already harvested thousands of dollars worth of crops to sell at . Even if the market hadn’t been canceled, Sue had no way to get there. It seemed like they were going to lose out on necessary funds to keep their operation running. Thanks to the LFPA grant, Second Harvest was able to purchase food from Blackberry Pond and provide it to a local hunger relief organization. Meaning, no food was wasted, and the local farm was able to meet their profit goals.
“My husband reached out to Second Harvest, and explained the situation. Second Harvest was able to use the LFPA grant to take this food off our hands.”
Hunger relief and providing nutrient dense foods to her community is extremely important to Blackberry Pond. To her, feeding her neighbors is important, but so is making sure they getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need from farm fresh foods. “In the past, if we had surplus it went to our chickens or our compost,” Sue explains, “Now, we can sell it thanks to his grant and feed people.” The LFPA Grant is doing transformative work in Middle and West Tennessee. The LFPA Grant allows Second Harvest to get the highest quality food possible to our neighbors in need, and be a pillar of support to our community of farmers.