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Posts Tagged ‘knoxville’

I love my job(s).

a. Farmers Market Second Liutenant (Real title still in limbo)

b. Mountain Meadows Farm- tomater sorter, CSA organizer, veggie planter, apple analyzer and anything else Shannon may deem important

c. La Costa- tender of the bar and server of zee cuisine

d. Market Gnome

I’m guessing the positive words relating to careers are rarely uttered by my fellow countryman these days, especially by the sprightly 20-somethings who are still searching for the best beer deals in town, something financially and socially beneficial but with less long-term gratification than being happy with your career choice. Reaching the point of satisfaction required hours and years of self-exploration and refinement, not forgetting the unnecessary mentionables–physics, engineering calculus, and volunteering in the sterilized white-washed depressing Jackson-Madison County Hospital. I mean really, could you imagine me as Dr. Pettigrew…boring, I prefer Kimberly.

Ive always had a hard time making concrete decisions, so the fact that I’ve settled into a job genre is surprising to me…but I guess since I do work a trio of jobs that’s not exactly choosing one thing . What is your favorite food/color/song/movie? Impossible! What would you like to major in? Impossible to pick one field of study and consider it a complete education. Im really not complicated, I just will never fit my dreams into a tiny nutshell. My current non-rotting in an office between the hours of 9 to 5 job(s) combine the following: education, outreach, nutrition, physical labor, conferences, philanthropy, multi-media, food, farmers, wine and people. Im able to shape and influence the direction that Knoxville takes in regards to the local food system in the next few years and decades. What more could a gal want? (besides the obvious money to make this all happen)

My job is malleable, and this enables me to fluidly grow with the needs and wants of the community. Charlotte, market mama and friend, and I can generally be found with a cup of Counter culture coffee at Old City Java or perched up at the Farmers’ Market Info booth or more recently swingin on her porch, talking about our dreams to bring local food to all and to educate the public about what’s around them–lesser known veggies and fruits (heirloom tomatoes, fennel, herbs), preservation (canning, drying), cooking, nutrition,etc. Charlotte got the wheels turning by introducing the use of food stamps at farmers’ markets in TN. Her ability to turn visions into realities is the main reason I decided to axe my grad school dreams and give my soul to local food. I have dreams of community kitchens, cooking classes, mobile markets, food sheds, and community gardens. These things will happen here and I will be a part of them. It tugs my heart and makes my eyes slightly misty and my throat a bit lumpy to think of all the possibilities–how far we have come, how daunting a task these things are to accomplish, but how fortunate I am that Knoxville is ready to stop being stagnate.  Knoxville isn’t so different from other places that linger somewhere between a big town and small city. We’ve got a blend of SUV-drivin, strip-mall suburbia to a riveting pedestrian friendly downtown. But what we do have is the people and support to make this happen. We may not be as financially stable as Nashville or Chattanooga, but damn our lack of money is made up with willpower and determination. Here we come world.

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I’m not sure what it is about coffee shops paired with rainy days… maybe the melancholy clouds and grey skies paired with the ominous drizzle stirs frantic emotions within my soul, but it seems every time I drink a latte, I try to figure out life and more specifically, what the heck I’m supposed to do with myself.

My parents value goal-setting–mapping out a five-year plan for the future. It’s all about stability and future financial security. I had all the dots of my future connected. I had a foolproof plan in which I told destiny what she would bring me.

1. Stay in Knoxville- intern and the farmers’ market, attend culinary school, learn Italian

2. Go to Italy for graduate school in gastonomy–eat and drink wine for two years

3. Get a real job in a far away country and avoid the  United States of America for as long as possible

But alas, someone up above took my overly-detailed plans and turned them upside down, making me question the whole purpose of planning. What is the true benefit of planning your path regulating your thoughts to a box with no windows of opportunity or doors to the unknown. Doesn’t it make more sense to let destiny take you where she pleases. Aren’t you more likely to miss the details and the sights if you just set your eye on the final destination?

Realizing these things are like being born again or knowing a secret that the rest of the world will probably never catch onto. The thought of living a plan-less life leaves me anxiously giddy, my heart beats faster and I feel lighter. I no longer carry the weight of my future on my shoulders., I know everything works for a reason- in some mysterious way nonetheless. I don’t know who or what to attribute it to- God, fate, myself or mother nature…but I like it.  I like how giving up control on my life has shown me feelings, people, and opportunities I may have bypassed.

So, here’s my big self-realization and announcement to the world- I’m staying in Knoxville. I’m not sure why or exactly how long I’ll be here, but it feels right and my heart belongs to this progressive city. My love of artisan agriculture will thrive here. I’m surrounded by people like Charlotte Tolley, John Craig, Kristen Faerber, Shaun and Meg Parrish, Sarah and Katie Ries who are the best heroic figures I could ask for and they are right here in Knoxville, takin’ names and killing corporate america. I’ve fought my ties to this Eastern TN city ever since my dad made apply here for college. It was a last minute decision to come here. I loved it but was ready to leave it. Then I stayed post-graduation. And here I am smitten with the hidden jewels of the greater good I’ve found here.

Thank you Old City Java, for the double-shot latte that helped me stop pondering my destiny and start living in the moment.

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