Thursday, February 9, 2017

Capital Campaign Deadline Extended!

Illustration of the Farm & Food Learning Center

 You may have heard our exciting news. If you didn't, here it is:

Our deadline for the $200,000 matching grant has been extended to May 1st!

This is great news for us! The last update from our bookkeeper shows that the total of the donations that have come in from the website, and checks mailed in to our office amounts to less than one-quarter of our goal and we urgently need to raise the rest.

This link will take you to a video on our page that tells our story and shows pictures of the fire that destroyed our previous building, but here's a synopsis:

Fire devoured our building in 2009.
In 2009, a lightening strike sparked a fire that devoured our previous building. It was devastating but also showed us the love and generosity of our community. From the volunteer firefighters who responded to battle the blaze, preserve other structures on the property and protect our animals, to volunteers who helped with clean-up, from C&C Millwright's donation of a small construction office trailer to give us a roof over our heads to the local churches who lend us their facilities for cooking classes and events, we have felt the kindness, concern and support from our community for our youth and our mission.

The office trailer donated by C & C Millwright
Since the fire, staff has worked out of the trailer and programs have been conducted in the farm's tobacco barn, outbuildings and a Pavilion donated earlier this year by the Rotary Club. There is no indoor plumbing on the property.

The staff persevered, continuing to conduct and develop programs, and then we received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to build the Farm & Food Learning Center. The center will house classrooms, a commercial kitchen and office space. The kitchen space will also be available to residents of Greene County and surrounding areas to help them establish food-based businesses. Construction on the building began last July.

“The teens in our Farm & Food Teen Training program will be able to prepare and preserve the food they grow on-site and be able to build sustainable farm- and food-related businesses,” says Sally Causey, Rural Resources' executive director. “Farm Day Campers won't have to use the outhouse anymore and students coming for field trips will have expanded offerings. There is no doubt that this facility will be a game-changer for hands-on learning opportunities for years to come.”

Progress on the
 Farm & Food Learning Center.
VWCA  Construction
 Funding for the current phase of construction was raised in 2014 but final costs were greater than originally estimated and additional funding is needed to finish construction and purchase the equipment for the commercial kitchen.

Fast forward to a second generous opportunity from the ARC.

In 2016 we received an offer of a second grant in the amount of $200,000. In order to qualify for the grant, Rural Resources must raise $200,000 to show that the building can be fully completed. We launched a capital campaign in December to raise the $200,000 we need by January 31st. That deadline has been extended and we now have just under three months to raise the remainder of the $200,000.

“Cash and pledges will count towards the match for the ARC funding for which we were recommended by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development,” says Causey. “We have a list of needed items and a variety of naming opportunities that can be found on our website for anyone who would like to make a specific element of building or a piece of equipment possible. We have learned from our previous fundraising efforts that every penny counts and we welcome all sizes of donations and the ability to speak to any individual or group. All who give will receive permanent recognition inside the building.”

Why are we asking people to give toward completing this project? Because we believe the children, the youth and our community are worth it and will benefit from the Farm & Food Learning Center for years to come.

Food Demo at the Greene County Fair
 “Since we began this program in 2008, at-risk and food-insecure teens have been learning how to fish, not just so they can feed themselves, but so they can share their 'fish' with others,” says Causey. “ It's built into the program that the kids give back to the community in a number of ways. They donate fresh produce from their garden to the local soup kitchen and do cooking and gardening demonstrations at the local farmer's markets and county fair.”

Teens in the Farm & Food Teen Training Program
The teens also cater a thanksgiving meal for the elderly, share their knowledge of growing food in their neighborhoods and some become the cooks and shoppers for their own families.

“Teens have gone on to do some impressive things and most importantly the vast majority have gone on to further their education or go directly into the workplace – in some cases immediately qualifying for management positions” says Sally. “The Farm & Food Learning Center will be key to beginning their own business ventures right on the farm. It will also provide much needed facilities for Farm Day Camp, our long running summer program for children along with a whole host of new learning opportunities for the entire community.”

Would you like to help us reach our goal to qualify for the ARC grant and touch lives for generations to come? There are several ways you can contribute.

Visit our page and donate there.

Visit our website,, and click on the support tab. From there, click on the Capital Campaign tab. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the donate button on the left.

Mail your donation to Rural Resources, 2870 Holly Creek Rd., Greeneville, TN 37745. If you bring it in person you can see the progress on the building.

Call our office at 423-636-8171.

We are grateful for any and all donations!

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