Jeff Poppen’s Op-ed for the 2015 TN Local Food Summit

Tennessee’s 5th annual Local Food Summit again celebrates Nashville’s farmers and chefs and their supporters, who are committed to good agricultural practices, eating better, and stimulating the local economy. Although we can grow almost all of the crops we consume, only a small fraction of one percent comes from Tennessee. Industrial agriculture, from corn and soy to CAFO’s, demonstrates the rural landscape that once fed Nashville from small family farms. 
 
We will be meeting in the old dairy barn of a 450 acre Nashville farm that helped supply Tennessee State University with high quality local food for many decades. Although TSU and my own opinions may differ, we both see the need to increase local food production and consumption now. 
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We both understand the detrimental effects of a fossil fuel dominated agriculture and how to grow healthy food with combing proper animal husbandry and diversified crop production. I feel this is a momentous occasion to set aside differences and work together to promote healthy local food, provide jobs, and improve the care of Tennessee’s land, water and people. 
 
“Humans are coming full circle”, says Professor Roy Bullock, State Agriculture program leader. “We started out growing food along river banks, then got into big ag. monoculture crops, and are now heading towards growing our own food along river banks again”. 
 
The only way we are really going to survive is to get back to basics with small farms and urban gardeners. We are honored to be inviting you to another special Tennessee Local Food Summit on TSU’s farm and campus with good, rich bottom land beneath our feet. 
 
December 4-6, more information at tnlocalfood.com
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