Swindle is advocating for agriculture
Published 4:18 pm Friday, May 6, 2022
By ELISABETH ALTAMIRANO-SMITH | Community Columnist
Clanton resident Madeline Swindle is representing as 2023 Chilton County Elite Ms. United States Agriculture. Swindle, 58, will spend 2022 getting to know local farmers, encouraging women in agriculture and educating others about the importance of agriculture, specifically within Chilton County. She will compete in 2023 for state and national pageant titles. Swindle said that her love for agriculture began during childhood and has continued to grow as she got older.
“When I was a child, we lived in New York,” said Swindle. “We moved to Alabama when I was 10 years old. It was a big culture shock! My mother brought five children to my grandfather’s house. We had goats, chickens and hogs, and that’s how we ate. Later in life, I have always had something in the (kitchen) pot that was fresh from the garden or farm.”
Swindle’s pageant history began during her high school years, winning 1982 Miss CCHS Beauty Night. Her daughters also have a strong pageant history, both participating in Beauty Night and the Chilton County Miss Peach. Both daughters placed in the Peach Pageant; her oldest daughter, Jessica being crowned Miss Peach in 2010. Swindle became interested in participating in the agricultural pageant when she learned of its mission.
“My youngest daughter, Savannah, was also very involved in agriculture growing up,” said Swindle. “We went to goat shows and chicken shows. I knew that this was the right pageant for me because of our history with agriculture and how it has been such a big part of my life. I am a big advocate of ‘Eat Local, Eat Fresh.’ Not only is it supporting local farmers, but it is healthier to eat something that was just picked from the vine today or yesterday. It’s fresher. It tastes better than something that has been sitting on a truck for days traveling across country.”
Swindle currently raises a variety of chickens and has a garden with her husband Dwight.
She recently wrote a children’s book, entitled “There’s a Bug in my Garden” which poses the question from a child’s perspective, “There’s a big in my garden, what shall I do? Should I hit it with a stick or stomp it with my shoe?” The storyline continues to explain the importance of specific bugs such as honey bees, and how they help the garden.
“One of my main interests and something that I want to focus on as Chilton County Elite Ms. United States Agriculture is container gardening,” said Swindle. “Many people say that they don’t have the resources or yard to grown a big garden. Using containers to plant herbs or have a few plants is something that everyone can easily do, even if you don’t have the space for a garden. However, there are only certain kinds of plastic containers that you can safely use without the plastic particles getting into your food source. You can’t use just any kind of plastic.”
So far in 2022, Swindle has visited Chilton County High School Agriculture Department, Thorsby’s Strawberry Festival, Peach Nutrition and some of the local farms. She hopes to visit more farmers, the local stockyard and learn about soil management.
“Chilton County is such a wonderful place for agriculture,” said Swindle. “We are known for our peaches here, which have wonderful nutritional and medicinal properties but the agricultural amenities are endless.”
Swindle graduated from Concordia College of Selma with a degree in Early Childhood Development. She currently teaches Early Childhood Development at Alabama State University. Her other interests include sewing, writing, face-painting and participating as a member of the World’s Church of the Living God in Clanton. She enjoys gardening with her husband, Dwight and is the mother of children: Jessica, Savannah and Josiah.
Swindle encourages women of all ages to participate in the 2023 United States Agriculture Pageant and to join her in advocating for local agriculture and education. For more information on how to sign up for the pageant or to schedule Swindle for speaking engagements at local schools, events and organizations contact her on Facebook.