In 2016, our garden program grew from three garden sites to five, and we became more intentional about the way we use these sites to grow both nourishing food and community.
In the spring, we partnered with the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee to launch the Growing Together market garden program, supporting nine refugee farmers in growing and selling produce through a booth at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, wholesale sales to restaurants and through an online food hub. In the fall, we fully integrated this program and the Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program’s two community gardens into our existing operations.
Through this expansion, we’ve also grown our garden-based adult education program, offering weekly and monthly training opportunities to diverse groups of adults who participate in community and market gardens.
We began thinking about the program as an urban agriculture program with three distinct types of gardens: production gardens, community gardens and a market garden.
Our staffing reflected growing program needs in 2016. We welcomed Lauren Bailey, previously Director of Agriculture Program at CRIT, as Growing Together (market garden) Manager. Former Garden Coordinator Kia Brown has transitioned into the role of Community Garden Manager to support TNFP’s four community garden sites. Former Garden Manager Christina Bentrup has transitioned to Garden Director to provide long-term leadership of the program. We are currently hiring a Production Garden Manager to provide technical assistance to all gardens and care for ecosystem components.