Beardsley Community Farm teaches Knoxville about food safety, gardening, and justice.

Beardsley Community Farm is an urban, non-profit city dedicated to food security and sustainable agriculture in Knoxville. Photo taken Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Beardsley Community Farm aims to combat malnutrition and provide community gardening education.

Beardsley Farm, founded in 1998 by Public Malcolm Martin Park in 1741 Reynolds St. Supported by Knox County and Gifts. The farm has about 30 gardens on its main site, most of which are used by refugee families. They also serve the community around 17 locations around Knoxville.

Education Coordinator Sarah Heissrot talks about Beardsley Farms’s main purpose of providing a community garden.

“Our mission is to promote food security through product donation,” Heinzrot said. “We also provide gardening education and land and resources.”

Charlotte Rodina, co-director of Bardesley Farms, talks about gardening and herding.

“We also provide a lot of land and resources for gardening and we make this look like an on-site or off-site garden,” Rodina said. “Also, give plants, so tomato plants, basil plants የተለያዩ different things for people to grow at home or here and then give them different seeds.

They produce about five tons of produce for many companies. Some of these organizations include a mobile food kitchen, several women’s shelters, food storage and an after-school enrichment program. A map of the rooms and gardens to be used is available on their website.

“We’re growing up to 10,000 10,000. The produce in this park, and all the produce we produce, has been helped by our volunteers,” Heatherrot said.

The farm has three full-time employees, one part-time employee and four AmeriCorps members. Heisonrot started as a volunteer at AmeriCorps before becoming a partner in the field.

People can volunteer to serve on a farm. They had to limit their volunteers last year due to the Covide-19 epidemic, but since then they have been able to raise volunteers at the same time. Their website has directions to volunteer service on the farm.

“Certainly the numbers have increased a lot this year, and we are getting good volunteers,” Heinstein said.

Along with gardening and produce, Beardsley Farms teaches food, cooking and gardening for all ages. They work in schools and offer older classes.

“We offer a variety of classes for all ages,” he said. “We host field trips with children, usually after school groups, or after school groups, or with summer camps. We have partnered with Ijmas to provide fun workshops for adults.

On December 5, they will hold a wreath section for adults, as well as a section on natural nutrition in January. They also plan to hold a snow day fundraising event in February, bringing together several restaurants for a soup competition. These events can be found on their event calendar.

“We also build independent community units, such as cooking rooms,” he said. “We guide Head Start preschool students through nutrition lessons. So we do different things.

Another educational program they started was Beardsley Bookworms. They offer their books at bookstores such as The Bottom to provide free books, recipes, and resources for students at Dougwood Primary and South Knox Elementary.

With these educational programs, the farm works to raise awareness of various causes and issues of justice, mostly related to malnutrition. Works with a number of black-owned businesses and organizations, food equity services and Indigenous rights organizations.

Beardsley Farm

Beardsley Community Farm Fields, a nonprofit community dedicated to food security and sustainable agriculture in Noxville, demonstrates its ‘one-spot’ initiative. Photo taken Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

“We are expanding food security, so it is a matter of social justice for people to have fresh and healthy produce, so what we are doing is primarily doing it,” he said. But we try to buy locally and support the community and encourage people to vote and participate in the growing community.

With a high level of food supply, Heizenrot hopes the Berssley Farm will continue to serve the community as they become more self-reliant.

“My hope is that more and more community farms and places that we reach will have more energy and be used less by us, because they can provide food and produce food on their own,” he said. It is our goal to make people learn and apply these skills.

Rodina talks about expanding and covering the farm, especially in educational programs and where their products go.

Rodina: “We were thinking about expanding our curriculum recently. “So next year, we will continue to serve the community by providing additional school gardening programs at South Knox Primary, Dougwood Primary and then the Western Heights Boys and Girls Club.”

“We also look forward to changing some of our products in a way that is more meaningful and beneficial to our customers. So, as a whole, we offer a large product as a Western Heights Baptist Center… and this is a good model for what we can afford to do. But we were thinking more about enrolling individuals for stocks, creating a healthier lifestyle and working closely with customers and families to include more fresh produce in their diet, ”said Rodina.

Beardsley Community Farm continues to serve the community by providing Knoxville Community Gardening, Education and Awareness Resources. They have reached people from all over the city, and they continue to receive large amounts of volunteer assistance.

“I think our biggest impact is just to be a truly hospitable place for people to learn about gardening and cooking,” she said.


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