Farm-City program returns to Chilton County

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County is jumping back into the Alabama Farm-City program after 10 years since the program was last active.

Chilton County Probate Judge Jason Calhoun signed a proclamation on Oct. 18 declaring the week of Nov. 13-17 as Farm-City Week in Chilton County. Calhoun was joined by members of the Chilton County Farm-City Committee at Corner Park in downtown Clanton where the proclamation was read and signed.

“In Chilton County, we are proud of our agricultural heritage. I grew up on a farm, and those of us blessed to have that childhood know how special agriculture is,” committee member Abby Burnett said during the proclamation signing. “Agritourism is not only about economic gain. It is also seeing a kid’s face light up with excitement when they drive by pastures full of horses or cattle, or seeing a child awestruck at the sight of a combine or tractor gliding across fields of cotton and hay.”

Each year the program has a different theme for the program, and this year’s theme in Alabama is “Agritourism: Connect Alabama Farms and Communities.” Agritourism, which is tourism based in agriculture, fulfills the original mission of the Farm-City program that was established in 1955 where the goal was to connect rural and urban people.

The Farm-City program has not been active in Chilton County for 10 years, but became involved with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System once the program stopped holding events. Now, Co-Chairs of the Chilton County Farm-City Committee Rianna Green and Lucy Edwards are bringing back the program.

“It was something that when Lucy came to the Extension office, me and her got together and we were super passionate about bringing the community of city and farm together. Without the two, you cannot cooperate,” Green said.

Other board members include Abby Burnett, Jason Calhoun, Brandy Clackley, Lynn Harrison, David Heflin, Sandra Heflin, Rachel Martin, Tammie McGriff and Debbie Street.

Committee members in attendance for the proclamation commented that this was the perfect year to start the program back up in the county with the theme of Agritourism. Chilton County relies heavily on agritourism by the farmers producing the fruits that are the main reason thousands of people flock to the county for the Peach Festival, the Strawberry Festival and other celebrations.

Green said the county’s Farm-City Committee has some events planned that will involve the Peach Jam each summer, and each event held will push the recognition of the growers in Chilton County.

“It makes you feel really good when businesses start supporting the farmers that produce the produce this county is known for,” Green said. “It is exciting to just see the community come together.”

Other Farm-City activities include student poster, essay and video contests in the Chilton County schools. Other ways for residents to participate in Farm-City week is visiting local farm tours and farmers markets and stands.

The Chilton County Farm-City Week kickoff event is on Nov. 16 at Petals From The Past (16034 County Road 29, Jemison). Tickets for the event can be purchased from a Farm-City Committee member, by calling 205-280-6238 or emailing lee0003@aces.edu.