ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — New life is coming to a community farm in Antioch — a place where people desperately wanted a garden — in part thanks to a popular brand of vodka.
“It’s the neighborhood in Davidson County with the highest concentration of non-native born families,” said Teri Sloan.
According to Sloan — who is the chief operating officer for the Nashville Food Project — farming is the only way of life many immigrants in that area know.
“Agriculture is an important part of their own cultural traditions, and then when they move to a place in a small apartment with little access to green space of their own, they’re disconnected from that significant part of their cultural tradition,” she explained.
Therefore, when Metro Parks obtained the 600 acres of land to create Mill Ridge Park, officials listened to the community and reached out to the Nashville Food Project to help launch a community farm.
“The Antioch neighborhood had among the worst health outcomes in the city and, in no surprise, had the least access to large scale green space,” said Sloan.
The Community Farm at Mill Ridge launched in 2019. More than a dozen families use this space to grow their own food, Sloan said.
However, after two years of talks, Tito’s Handmade Vodka gathered volunteers together on Friday, Nov. 18 to help revitalize the farm through its Block to Block program.
“This garden is going to be beautiful,” said Jennifer Alexander.
Alexander is one of more than 40 volunteers from Lipman Brothers, a Middle Tennessee company that distributes wines, spirts, and vodka like Tito’s.
The volunteers came out to Antioch to plant blueberries and perennials, as well as build a new children’s play area and educational space for the farm.
“It’s really nice to be able to see your efforts after everything happens, and to know that there are people that are going to benefit from this,” Alexander said.
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This project is not just about farming and food, but also creating a space where community members can get to know each other using farming and food.
“Helping give people the opportunity to reconnect and connect with their new neighbors is such an important part of it all,” said Sloan.
According to Sloan, the Nashville Food Project recently secured a five-year license to continue expanding farming at the site.
To learn more about this community garden or others the Nashville Food Project helps operate, follow this link.