Athens Heritage & Urban Agriculture Festival was held on November 2, 2013
The festival paid homage to Athens’ African-American heritage, with special emphasis on West Broad School, including its pioneering role in urban gardening and agriculture. The event was sponsored by the Athens Land Trust’s West Broad Market Garden, in collaboration with the Heritage Committee and the Athens Area Black History Committee.
In addition to historic recognitions, the event will include agricultural exhibits, artifacts and demonstrations—including healthy-eating and healthy-cooking demonstrations. Special invited guests include author/historian Michael Thurmond and USDA state director Quinton Robinson.
6th Annual Harvest Moon Dinner – October 19, 2013.
The sixth annual Harvest Moon Dinner to benefit the Athens Land Trust was held on Saturday, October 19, 2013. The Harvest Moon Dinner was created as an intimate dinner among friends celebrating the landscapes of our community with great food and wine. This year’s event featured Chef Peter Dale of The National and Dean Neff, formerly of Five and Ten, on the Bennett Family Farm in Walton County. Russell Bennett is a longtime ALT supporter and raises grass fed beef and pastured hens on his 110-acre farm.
The farm, which is half pasture and half wooded has two springs that flow directly into the Appalachee River. The grassfed beef and pastured eggs have been served in restaurants in Atlanta and Athens including Empire State South, Bacchanalia, Farm 255, Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch and Local Three. This grassfed beef will be a part of the menu for this year’s Harvest Moon Dinner.
The farm house on the property dates back to 1817 and was originally called Evans Quarter. It was a stagecoach stop and tavern. The barn is from the early 1900s and was recently renovated into a loft apartment and entertainment area. Most of the materials used in the barn renovation are original to the barn including heart pine lumber, cedar tree posts, and fence posts.
OPEN HOUSE – Sunday, October 13, 2013
These homes are EarthCraft certified!
Sustainable Agriculture Conference for New and Beginning Farmers – October 3, 2013
This conference targeted new and beginning farmers who are interested in sustainable farming practices. Conference topics included USDA program information, Georgia Organics, marketing, farm to school, composting, meat goat production, cottage foods, meat processing, integrated pest management, as well as a panel discussion concerning different sales opportunities for small farmers. The conference concluded with the option for additional training concerning record keeping & GATE; on the farm food safety certification; or beekeeping.
Guest Agencies Include:
USDA NRCS, FSA
Athens Land Trust
Ruth St. Workday with GSPA – September 22, 2013
During one of our first somewhat cool days of September, a gracious group of folks from the GSPA, Graduate Students for Public Administration of UGA joined us at our Williams Family Farm on Ruth Street for a round of fence clearing and other projects. We thank the GSPA for their time, savvy, and enthusiasm.
2013 Annual Meeting & Tour- September 22, 2013
ALT’s 2013 Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, September 22 and featured a tour of some of ALT’s current projects. The tour highlighted the West Broad Market Garden, ALT’s new Williams Farm and the Cottages at Cannontown.
WBMG Produce Stand at the University Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center – August 24, 2013
The humidity of the week had lifted on Saturday, 24 August 2013, when Ethel Collins and Stephanie Bergamo joined the University Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center for a day of outdoor doings. Miss Ethel and Stephanie set up a produce stand of vegetables from our West Broad Market Garden alongside a troupe of motorcyclists and classic car/truck owners with their hot dog and hamburger grill.
The cyclists and classic auto folks paraded their vehicles around for all to admire, then settled down to grilling reasonably priced picnic fare. Miss Ethel and Stephanie sold an assortment of produce, including novel sweet potato greens, to visitors, staff, and a resident or two. ALT has been invited to return with more produce sometime during a work week, whereby the Monday through Friday staff will have the opportunity to purchase fresh garden produce as well.
Ground Breaking at the Williams Family Farm – August 22, 2013
The Athens Land Trust celebrated a Ground Breaking Ceremony at the Williams Family Farm on August 22, 2013. Established in the 1920’s by the Williams Family, this in town farm has been a treasure of east Athens for generations. Athens Land Trust plans to continue the family tradition by employing neighborhood residents, providing educational opportunities and cultivating fresh fruits and produce.
Congratulations to ALT’s newest homeowner Jennifer Yearby!
Jennifer has purchased 125 Stanelle Drive with a mortgage from Athens First Bank/Synovus Mortgage. Jennifer is employed by the UGA Physical Plant and works in the Odum School of Ecology. Pictured at the closing are (left to right) Molly Talley of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard, and Ashley, Nathan Shannon of ALT, Jennifer, and Jeff Bishop of Athens First.
Congratulations to the Shelnutts on their farm conservation easement!
Congratulations to the Shelnutts on their permanent farm conservation easement made possible by funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Oconee County SPLOST program, and a donation from the Shelnutt family. The easement protects 42-acre Oconee County farm that has been in the Shelnutt family since 1892. Pictured at the closing are (left to right) ALT’s Conservation Director Laura Hall, NRCS Conservation Easement Specialist Sharon Holbrooks, landowners Kathy and William Shelnutt.
Athens Land Trust – ECO Focus Film Festival 2013
We would like to thank CINÉ BAR-CAFÉ-CINÉMA, Justin Rogers & Travis Ward!
Terrapin Sustainability Movement – June 29, 2013!
A Rainbow of a Day
by S. Bergamo
The Athens Land Trust participated in the Terrapin Beer Company’s 1st Annual Sustainability Movement, an outdoor function held at Terrapin on Saturday, June 29th.
Terrapin’s goal for the event, “to simplify the term ‘sustainability’ and present it to the public in a way that is easy to follow”, including interactive information on how to live in an environmentally-friendly way, certainly coincided with our Mission Statement and our many missions!
We joined over 20 other groups and individuals committed to community and environmental well-being, and we enjoyed sharing what we do with the multitude of Terrapin guests who attended the occasion.
During the latter part of the event, a brief rain brought a bit of cool to the venue, and a rainbow. What a coincidence, perhaps we were all receiving a thumb’s-up from the natural world.
Farmer Outreach Workshop – June 29, 2013
ALT presented several awards at the 2013 GreenFest Awards Ceremony on April 19th.
ALT Vice-President Lara Mathes (left) presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to Helen Kuykendall, a Master Gardener and Landscape Architect who volunteered more than 90 hours last year with the Junior Master Gardener Program at Pinewood North Mobile Home Park. The 46 young gardeners ranged in age from pre-school to middle school. Helen used her expertise to design the garden based on the children’s drawings of what they wanted. She helped with the curriculum, conducted a field trip to the Hill First Baptist Garden, and showed the children how to garden. The young gardeners named themselves the Pinewood Green Rangers, and we are grateful for the impact of Helen’s dedication and enthusiasm.
A second Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Shannon Mikus, or Miko, who has a Masters in Landscape Architecture, Miko interned with ALT last summer for 3 months and helped with both the Land Conservation Program and several Community Gardens. Miko was a very dedicated and committed volunteer.
The 2012 Garden of the Year Award was given to Athena Gardens Community Garden. Lara presented the golden pitchfork to one of the resident gardeners Ray, and Deborah Colella, Property Manager. In March 2012, a garden with 14 raised beds was established at Athena Gardens Retirement Community. The residents and staff cooperatively share responsibility for maintaining their community garden. Produce from their harvests are regularly enjoyed through communal meals that Athena folks prepare in the facility’s kitchen.
Virginia and Carrol Beavers received the Conservation Easement Donor of the Year Award. They have donated a perpetual conservation easement protecting 49 acres in Athens-Clarke County (behind the Boulevard Neighborhood). The property includes streams that flow into the North Oconee River and an informal network of bike trails. They are generously allowing Athens Land Trust to provide public access for the community with walking and biking trails and an urban farm. Lara Mathes presented them with a framed rendering of the Master Plan for the property that was created by Kevan Williams and Zach Richardson, who are in the Landscape Architecture Department.
The Alec Little Award honored the Community Garden movement in Athens by recognizing the Hill First Baptist Church Garden Team and UGA professor David Berle. A very successful community garden was started about five years ago on Pope Street by members of Hill First Baptist Church and community volunteers. The workers cleared a kudzu- and trash-choked ravine and turned the area into a lush garden that provides produce for community residents. Work on the Pope Street community garden began in 2008 under the leadership of Karen Witten, a retired doctor who had moved to the neighborhood the previous year, and Tommy Lewis Chester, a homeless man in the neighborhood. Neighborhood volunteers cleared the ravine, and built a garden that has become a showpiece and produces a bounty of vegetables for residents. Supported by the Hill First Baptist Church Garden Team, with permission to garden granted by land owners Faisal Anwar, Miss Carey Wise and the church, the garden includes a composting site and a “museum” of old objects unearthed by the work. Pictured above are church member Jewell Barnett (left) and Mayor Nancy Denson.
David Berle, a UGA faculty member since 1999, involves his students in helping the Athens community by making service learning an integral component of his teaching program. He envisioned the Community Garden Network and helped Athens Land Trust obtain federal funding for a Community Garden Network that provides seeds, plants, tools and instruction for gardens. He and his students have provided about 10,000 hours of volunteer labor at local schools and at the 15 community gardens in a mobile home park, at the Athens Area Council on Aging and in low-income neighborhoods. He also started Project FOCUS, a partnership between UGA and the Clarke County School District, to teach children about gardening and nutrition and has established a farm on the campus of Clarke Middle School.
The Alec Little Environmental Award was established in 1991 as the first major prize that recognizes individuals and organizations for environmental responsibility in the Athens area. The award is named for the late John A. (Alec) Little, who worked closely with many environmental organizations in Georgia. Thirty-two people and 14 groups have received the award since it was first presented in 1992. ALT, along with Skipper Stipe Maas, Nancy Stangle, and Laura Hall, received the Award in 2002.
Alfie Vick, Associate Professor at UGA’s School of Environment and Design and also ALT Treasurer, received an award for Outstanding Faculty Member from the UGA Office of Sustainability for his many contributions.
3rd Annual Riding for a Reason
Athens Land Trust Riding for a Reason was held on Saturday, May 18th and was a beautiful day for a bike ride. The Athens Land Trust would like to thank the riders and sponsors for another great Riding for a Reason!
The Rackley Family & Chris Nichols
Tallassee Forest Celebration
Taylor Glover and the Riverview Foundation were honored for their roles in the conservation of the Tallassee Forest, 542 acres of beautiful and ecologically important land along the Middle Oconee River, at a celebration hosted by Athens Land Trust on April 26.
A portion of the property, 310 acres, is now owned by Athens-Clarke County, purchased with funding from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Greenspace Acquisition Program and a grant from the Riverview Foundation. It is protected with a conservation easement held by the Oconee River Land Trust.
The remaining 242 acres were purchased by an individual and are protected with a conservation easement held by Athens Land Trust. The easements ensure that the land will remain in a natural state and continue to provide valuable ecological services into the future. The transaction, which took two years and the efforts of many individuals and organizations, was completed in November 2012.
Speaking at the celebration, Athens-Clarke Commissioner Mike Hamby, who along with Commissioner Andy Herod championed the project, applauded the honorees for their commitment to land conservation and acknowledged the collaboration of local and national environmental advocates and County officials that resulted in the property’s permanent protection.
Taylor Glover, the property’s former landowner, recognized its significant conservation values. He offered it to Athens-Clarke County for purchase at a below-market price through the SPLOST Greenspace Acquisition Program, which was approved by voters in 2005. To supplement the available SPLOST funding, Athens Land Trust located a conservation buyer for a portion of the property and contacted The Conservation Fund about the rest.
The Conservation Fund, a national organization that has worked with local communities to protect more than 7 million acres of land in the U.S., in turn secured the support of the Riverview Foundation, which made a grant to Athens-Clarke County to complete the protection of the property. The Riverview Foundation, a new foundation whose primary mission is land conservation in the North Georgia region, is an offshoot of the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga. It was established by the Fontaine family—George Sr., Celia, George Jr., Cartter, and Ryan—and is led by Executive Director Bruz Clark.
2nd Annual Upcountry Oyster Roast
The 2nd annual Upcountry Oyster Roast was held on April 7, 2013 to celebrated the collaborations that protected more than 5,000 acres in ten Georgia Counties during 2012! By working with the landowners to protect their properties, ALT is helping to create healthy ecosystems that are necessary for oyster, shrimp and other seafoods.
Thank you to Charlie Phillips of Sapelo Sea Farms for providing the delicious oysters!
ALT celebrates our newest homeowner, Vitina McKinney and two new Earthcraft homes!
ALT is very excited to introduce our newest homeowner, Vitina McKinney, who recently purchased 300 Old Winterville Road. Vitina works at Athens Regional in medical records.Her home and the one next door at 310 Old Winterville were built by ALT with federal funding that was allocated to ALT by Athens-Clarke County’s Department of Human and Economic Development and construction financing from Athens First Bank and Trust. The home at 310 Old Winterville was designed by Chris Evans of e+e architecture, who donated his expertise. Contractor Chesser-Kennedy built the homes which are of Universal design, so that the residents can stay in their homes as they age and the homes are visitable by people with disabilities. Both homes are also EarthCraft certified, which ensures that they are energy-efficient and healthy to live in. ALT held a ribbon cutting for Vitina and an open house of both homes on February 7th.
The Athens Land Trust would like to express our appreciation to all the volunteers that helped install the landscapes for 300 & 310 Old Winterville Road.
We are grateful to Keep Athens – Clarke County Beautiful for their generous donation of plants, including Star Magnolia, St. John’s Wort, Yellow Flag Iris, Hibiscus, Sedum and Daylily. We are looking forward to Spring!
Housed within the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department / Recycling Division, the mission of KACCB is to educate and empower citizens and businesses with the resources to take action as environmental stewards of litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. KACCB is a local affiliate of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Keep Georgia Beautiful program and the national Keep America Beautiful program.
West Broad Market Garden – Preparing the Garden
As part of the MLK Day of Service, an annual event organized by ALT partner Community Connections of Northeast Georgia, 29 passed through the gates of the West Broad Market Garden on January 21st. Starting at 9 a.m. volunteers were greeted by 70’s-era funk careening from the borrowed PA system which had been set up for the day. To the tunes of legends volunteers built two 4‘ x 20’ raised bed garden boxes, recovered the West Broad hoop house with greenhouse plastic, and cleared the early Spring field of weeds and Fall crop residues.
ALT staffers Fenwick Broyard and Dana Blanton led the volunteer group in the completion of their respective projects, with volunteers ranging in age from a 2 year old girl to a 79 year old man. Irrespective of age or ability, all reported enjoying the day and the work that was accomplished; and, several of those present committed to becoming regular volunteers at the site.
Hill Chapel Baptist Church – Building Forest Trails
Thank you to the fantastic group of volunteers from Zeta Phi Beta and Hill Chapel Baptist Church for their help building forest trails for urban children. The urban forest and trails are located on the property owned by the Hill Chapel Baptist Church, where they reach out to many urban children by offering environmental education and opportunities to participate in the community garden located near the forest.
Thank you to Chris McDowell and the University of Georgia (UGA) for carpentry skills, coordination and material donation through the Material Reuse Program.
This program was developed by Chris as a grad student in 2011 to salvage C+D waste (construction and demolition) and reuse it on student and community-based design/construction projects. Since then they have saved more than 100 tons of materials from being landfilled and returned that valuable product back to the community. The program is now officially a part of UGA’s College of Environment + Design, it has proved to be an effective device for teaching students real sustainable construction techniques as well as promoting community service and engagement.
2013 Annual Meeting
ALT’s 2012 Annual Meeting was held in the garden of the Athens Community Council on Aging. We enjoyed a lovely fall evening and want to thank everyone for their participation, the Annual Meeting was well attended. Thank you to all those who provided food and drinks.
5th Annual Harvest Moon Dinner
The fifth annual Harvest Moon Dinner to benefit the Athens Land Trust was held on October 26th. The event was created as an intimate dinner among friends celebrating the landscapes of our community with great food and wine. This year Chef Damien Schaefer, a creator of The FourCoursemen and Public Domain Dinners, collaborated with Five and Ten’s Dean Neff and Matt Downes on site at Woodland Gardens organic farm in Winterville to create a true farm-to-table dining experience. Once again guests enjoyed delicious food and wine in a beautiful setting. Many thanks to the chefs, our sponsors, our host Woodland Gardens, attendees, volunteers and especially Lara Mathes and Tony Eubanks, the event organizers.
- Epting Events
- Public Domain Dinners
- Aurum Studios
- Dogwood Hill Realty
- Carson Advisory
- Northeast Sale & Distributing, Inc.
- William & Associates
- Better Georgia Schools.com
- Woodland Gardens
- Dev & Gene Weeks
- The Winthrop Foundation
4th Annual Harvest Moon Dinner
The fourth annual Harvest Moon Dinner was once again an evening to remember. The dinner was held on September 16th and Peter Dale, of the National, prepared a delicious menu of local foods. Thank you again to the Eptings for hosting the event! Having such a picturesque setting makes Harvest Moon so memorable. We could not have made this possible without all of our wonderful sponsors:
- Epting Events
- Athens First Bank & Trust
- Aurum Studios
- The National
- Carson Advisory
- Great Fish Company
- Northeast Sales & Distributing, Inc.
We also owe a big thank you to Luna Bakery, Always Always Flowers, Terrapin Brewery, Tony Eubanks, Lara Mathes, and all of our fabulous volunteers who came together to support a great cause!