Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group          |          May 2017
Photo by Wise Acres Organic Farm
Ripe for the Pickin'

Wise Acres Organic Farm  is located in Indian Trail about 30 minutes outside Charlotte. The USDA-certified organic farm is entering peak strawberry season right now, making this the perfect time to check it out if you've never been. But save room for the best part of visiting Wise Acres--their wood-fired pizza. 

Just across from the barn is Wise Pie, a rustic outdoor pizza kitchen with a wood-fired oven. Pizza is new to Wise Acres this year and it's in high demand so be prepared for a line and a possible sell out before you get to the front. They share pizza availability on  Facebook  and  Instagram  so be sure to follow for updates.

Re-thinking Food and Farming in Mississippi

By David Pannell,  Daily Journal

Last Saturday was a good day for Will Reed of Native Son Farm in Tupelo. About 500 people showed up at his Lumpkin Avenue berry patch to pick strawberries and eat pancakes served fresh in the field. By noon, the pancakes were gobbled up and the berries were picked clean.

Native Son Farm fleshes out the dream that began taking shape while Reed was studying cultural anthropology at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Reed said he was trying to figure out how to make the world a better place, or at very least, to do no harm. While in school, he met and married his wife Amanda, who grew up on an off-the-grid farm in Vermont where self-sufficiency was the norm. Together, they moved back to Tupelo, and in 2010 broke ground on their first garden, which blossomed into Native Son Farm. In 2011, Native Son became a certified Naturally Grown farm, and now comprises 20 acres on two sites.

Photo courtesy of Inglewood Farm
Sharecropping to Sustainability: 
Inglewood Farms

Since its founding in 1836, Inglewood's six feet of topsoil have supported high yielding cotton, corn and soybeans. At the turn of the twentieth century, Inglewood was one of the first farms in Central Louisiana to transition from sharecropping to professional farming. Since that time, it has been a model producer of milk, beef, pork and crops.

The Keller family believes in developing farming professionals, and they put an emphasis on learning. They run an "open book" company where all employees are encouraged to understand the farming techniques and financial accounting behind their enterprise.

Read More
Four Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System

By Leah Penniman, YES Magazine

"Our food system is built on stolen land and exploited labor. 
Racism is built into the DNA of the United States' food system. It began with the genocidal theft of land from First Nations people, and continued with the kidnapping of my ancestors from the shores of West Africa. Under the brutality of the whip and the devastation of broken families, enslaved Africans cultivated the tobacco and cotton that made America wealthy ." This article outlines what we can do it fix it.

Read More
A Poem
The frame of this poem is borrowed from "The Glory of the Garden" by Kipling. Kris Hubbard, from Wild Wood Farms in Artemus, Kentucky, modified it to fit his memories and life. He read this at his grandfather's funeral.
Our home is but a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and chickens strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the log fence wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.
And there you'll see the gardeners, the man ;) and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise! ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.
And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows! ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth ALL who come.
Our home is but a garden, and such gardens are not made...
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade!
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job, that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth EVERYONE.
Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
jeanmillsJ ean Mills' Big News

It is with deep sadness that Southern SAWG announces the resignation of Jean Mills as of May 31, 2017. As many of you may know, Jean has been one of the constant faces of the organization for almost as long as Southern SAWG has existed.  Jean has been a pioneer and champion for sustainable agriculture both at her own farm in Alabama and with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. She has been involved in just about every facet of Southern SAWG's work. She organized the last 23 of Southern SAWG's 26 annual conferences. She developed our Natural Farming Systems in the South virtual farm tour video series (11 videos!), and our Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South CD. She initiated the successful Experienced Organic Growers Network and was one of the key players in fine tuning the "Veggie Compass" tool for tracking farm profitability on diversified vegetable farms. Jean and her partner Carol Eichelberger began the first CSA in Alabama back in 1990, in the very early stages of the CSA movement. Their farm was one of the first organic farms in the state. Her leadership has been instrumental in the growth of the sustainable agriculture movement over the past quarter century.   

Now Jean is looking forward to less time at a desk and spending more time with Carol exploring the natural beauty of this country. We will greatly miss Jean's knowledge and understanding of sustainable ag, crazy organizational and planning abilities, huge passion for our work, humor and "git er done" attitude!   

Thank you, Jean Mills, for your dedication, courage and vision for the sustainable agriculture movement! 
PCAN Conference Call 

Our  next Policy Collaborative Action Network call is July 18, 2017. We'd like to hear from you on agenda topics. Have a burning concern you would like to share? Want to know what others are doing to meet their local officials? Want to share what you are doing in your community? We want to hear from you! Please submit your thoughts, ideas and concerns on or before June 15, 2017, by emailing We will do our best to have someone on the call who can help address your issue. Look for a final agenda and call registration information in early July! Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.
Our Mission

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's mission is to empower and inspire farmers, individuals, and communities in the South to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, and humane. Because sustainable solutions depend on the involvement of the entire community, Southern SAWG is committed to including all persons in the South without bias.
Do you have something you would like to share  in Seeds of Sustainability?
If so, please send it to