For 20 years CAC Beardsley Community Farm has been feeding people most in need of fresh food in Knoxville. Most of the farm's visible work happens when it is warm but maintaining the farm takes a year round effort.
Planting and harvesting and donating food is what you see at the farm spring through fall.
"We are here to increase access to food for people who need it most," Khann Chov said. She is the Urban Agriculture Director
Alex Bonner is an AmeriCorp Member.
He said, "So growing produce and donating it to local food pantries, churches, kitchens, like KARM of Mobile Meals. Another big part of our mission is to also educate people about food health and sustainability."
AmericCorp members like Alex join forces with a small staff to run Beardsley Community Farm. They donate everything they produce - 10,000 pounds of food -- from veggies to eggs.
Winter is slow. But the chickens need care all year. There are leeks to plant and carrots to harvest and it's prime time for pruning.
"Maintaining our tools. We are going to be sanitizing them and sharpening them making sure the electronics and motors don't freeze. But our big things are going to be fundraising,"Alex said.
Khann said, "All of our work requires funds to make it happen whether it is repairing our truck that needs a new transmission or keeping the lights on."
She joined Beardsley Farm eight years ago. She's proud of the positive influence of the community farm and 20 satellite gardens.
For the past 10 years, Snow Day has been the main money making event to keep the mission growing.
"The Snow Day event includes live music, a soup-off between about a dozen restaurants. They are each making 15 gallons of a vegan or vegetarian soup that includes a local ingredient with Flower Head bakery bread. And then we also have a very large silent auction," she said.
After the event, the workers will turn their attention back to maintaining the farm and looking forward to spring with help from the community.
"We always appreciate volunteers coming in. We appreciate people being interested and our doors are almost always open if people have questions or just want to come and see the farm," Alex said.
And maybe even see a kitchen and participate in cooking classes. That's the next big project planned at Beardsley.
Snow Day is Friday January 26 from 7:00 to midnight at The Mill and Mine. Tickets at the door are $15 plus $5 to sample soup.