“Forming bonds with your neighbors”

I really enjoyed writing this article because of the interview Eleanor and I had outside on a bench in downtown Jonesborough.

Intern working to bring farmers to film

Published Aug. 5, 2014 in the Herald & Tribune

The Town of Jonesborough will be featured in a film highlighting farmers, thanks to the work of an intern who arrived in town in June.

Eleanor Goodrich, a Marion, Va., resident, arrived in Jonesborough at the end of June to work as a media intern volunteer until the end of August. Goodrich, a Volunteers in Service to America volunteer was hired by Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development for the summer position.

Goodrich and Veronica Limeberry, an AmeriCorps Vista member, are providing assistance for Jonesborough Locally Grown. Limeberry is a community development coordinator with the Appalachian Coal Country Team, which is in partnership with ARC&D and Jonesborough Locally Grown.

Eleanor Goodrich

Eleanor Goodrich

After graduating from William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., two years ago with a degree in social justice, media and environmental studies, the task of finding a job was difficult for Goodrich. She worked on her family farm in Marion for some time before she was hired by the nonprofit.Her family purchased the farm seven years ago and found themselves in the middle of a farming community. Their farm produces beef, lamb, pork, goat, veal, eggs and honey. They also have a garden that supplies produce and ginger to local markets.

“Local farmers know each other in the Appalachians,” she explained. “There’s a sense of helping each other out.”

Goodrich’s love of the farm only intensified her passion for helping other farmers.

“I can’t think of a way I can get more connected with the land,” she said.

Goodrich said when she is working to make food to feed the people in the mountains, it is one of the few things she can do with her time that is clearly good.

Her love of the farming community shines through her work with ARC&D.

Goodrich said the organization works with conserving the resources and the community, while building the economy locally. This summer, ARC&D’s focus is on local farming, food and the importance agriculture has for the economy.

“We are trying to connect farmers to resources, farmers to markets and locals to the markets,” she said.

The ultimate goal is getting the food from the farms to the locals to help with the demand. She said they are trying to encourage individuals to look for foods that are grown by their neighbors.

As a media intern, Goodrich is working on making a short film by documenting the work of farmers. She hopes to showcase six farms in the film, which includes the White’s Farm and Dusty Saylor’s farm, both of Jonesborough.

“It’s been really fun visiting the farms,” she said. “It helps remind me why I am doing this.”

Goodrich said the film will contain interviews of why they are farming. She said she has found that most farmers are passionate about selling locally. The film will also track what the farmers are doing and how the community can support them.

In Jonesborough, the community supports its farmers through the Saturday farmers market and soon to be store, Boone Street Market.

She said the farmers market provides a place to allow farmers to stay in the area and have income.

“It’s a real way to connect and build on our community and keep the tradition our grandparents started,” she said. “You are forming bonds with your neighbors that we haven’t had for a while. It’s a return to our traditions and back to our roots.”

After arriving in Jonesborough, Goodrich said she was very impressed to find a market that thrives in a small town, especially since it runs on volunteer efforts and focuses on local growers.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of that and work for them,” she said of the market. “They have such great visions for the farm store and I think it’s going to be wonderful.”

Goodrich said she hopes the film will tell everyone what is going on in the town of Jonesborough because there is so much good happening.

Although a film screening will be shown at the end of August, the location is yet to be determined. Goodrich said the film will be included on the website, http://www.arcd.org.

In addition to the film, Goodrich and Limeberry are working on a series of resource flyers to help inform farmers of what resources are available to them. The flyers will include conferences and events, as well as organizations farmers can go to for such assistance as grants.

“A new farmer or a farmer that is not super involved in the community can tap into those resources,” Goodrich explained.

A quarterly newsletter is also in the process of being put together by the two women, which is expected to launch at the end of August.

Those interested in receiving that newsletter can email veronica@arcd.org to be placed on the mailing list.


“Arguably stand the test of time”

Murals highlight Jonesborough events

Published in Herald & Tribune June 3, 2014 issue

A splash of color has been added to the wrought iron fence behind Boone Street Market bringing additional character to downtown Jonesborough through the images of murals.

McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons said an unveiling of the murals took place May 23 in conjunction with The Farmers Market open house.

“The plaza has been redone for a couple of years now,” she said. “The original idea was to have the murals there. It really makes the plaza look fantastic.”

Bill Bledsoe, who designed the four murals, said the Town of Jonesborough had asked him if he had any ideas for the metal dividers that are a part of the accent wall. He said over the years he and his wife have walked past the buildings and dividers more than 100 times, as ideas have formulated in his mind of what could be done.

Since there are so many events that take place in Jonesborough that are related to seasons, he thought each panel could represent winter, spring, summer and fall.

“I created an illustration that references the Garden Gala, the Jonesborough Days, storytelling and the Progressive Dinners,” Bledsoe said.

The first series of murals was created as miniature drawings. He said those original pieces were enlarged and received very well.

In an effort to involve students from both the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts and Providence Academy, Bledsoe drew out the schematic of the image in thick black marker. He said the idea was to have the youngsters paint between the lines in any color they chose.

Thirty students from the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts at the McKinney Center contributed to one of the murals, while Bledsoe’s students from Providence Academy left their artistic touches on the remaining three.

“We had students this semester that were taking basic drawing, studio art, hand building clay and mosaic classes,” Hammons said.

She said the McKinney Center hosted a student art exhibition reception on May 8, which also included the opportunity for the students to paint some color onto the mural.

“All of those students came that evening and helped paint the murals,” Hammons said. “We had refreshments and drinks, and then they painted.”

Bledsoe also worked with his secondary students at Providence throughout the week so they could be included in the process. He said his students were intimately involved in the process as they watched him work on the mural, as well as having a personal hand in the creation.

“They watched me compose it and do it as a blind contour and refine it and develop the line drawing,” Bledsoe said.

The students used the primary colors of red, yellow and blue paints for the murals.

“When you look at all those oranges, greens and purples, they were all made from red, yellow and blue,” he said.

Once the colors, drawings and sayings were completed on the murals, Bledsoe painted a glaze on top.

“I had to go back on top of them and work on them,” he said. “I did layers, so the writing and colors could be seen when you get up close to it.”

Bledsoe said he was very happy with how the murals turned out, especially the Jonesborough Days mural, which was his favorite.

“It is so powerful when you look at it from a distance,” he said. “When you get up to it, you see the colors.”

The murals, Bledsoe said are pieces of artwork that can arguably stand the test of time and mean something to the people of Jonesborough for years to come.

Karen Childress, executive director of Boone Street Market, said in conjunction with the unveiling of the artwork and the celebration of the beautification of the plaza, Jonesborough Locally Grown announced that the renovation and expansion of the Boone Street Market will begin in June.

“The reason we are at the jumping off point (and) able to start renovation, is that Jonesborough Locally Grown has had a successful fundraising campaign, raising close to $80,000 earmarked for the building renovation through the support of individuals, civic clubs, organizations, businesses and the county commission,” she said.

Those who attended the store “before” open house also had an opportunity to see the building before renovations began, as well as an opportunity to preview the project’s floor plan.

Childress said they are turning the garage area into the sales and display floor for the grocery store area, which will have an assortment of food products produced within 100 miles of Jonesborough. The floor plan also showed the current restroom area being gutted and turned into kitchen space.

“The current entry door will be an itsy bitsy cafe area as you go into the store,” Childress said.

The building will also have the addition of new restrooms and storage areas.

“The whole store idea is not a replacement of the Saturday market, it’s an expansion of it,” she said. “It will compliment the Saturday market.”

An announcement also was made regarding the Friends of Locally Grown during the “before” open house. Memberships are $50 annually and are available at the Saturday market or online at http://www.jonesborough.locallygrown.net.

Childress said the memberships will support the start up and ongoing operating costs of the store and Jonesborough Locally Grown. All members will receive a 5 percent discount on store purchases once the store opens.

The market is tentatively scheduled to open sometime in July, and a job description for a full-time manager to staff the store will be publicized in June.