Meet Liberty Farms – Wesley and Sherri Gerrin, a mother-son farming team! Liberty Farms sprang from the need for a source of extra income for the Gerrin family during these difficult economic times. The severe decrease in home construction, teacher furloughs, and a son heading into college required that the family look for other ways of creating needed income.
Liberty Farms, off New Liberty Road in Clarkesville, began in 2011 as a one acre stand of okra. Now, Liberty Farms produces a plethora of crops such as corn, beans, peppers, potatoes, melons, squash, tomatoes and onions on several acres. Most recently, Wesley and Sherri have been hauling trailers full of their Silver Queen sweet corn to the Clarkesville Farmers Market. They also sell their produce through Northeast Georgia Locally Grown. Northeast Georgia Locally Grown, an internet-based market which connects producers and consumers, is a unique way to make fresh, local and sustainable foods more accessible to citizens of Northeast Georgia.
Wesley, a UGA college student, comes home for the summers to work the fields of Liberty Farms and set up their booths at farmers markets in Toccoa and Clarkesville. When she is not farming, Sherrie is a teacher at Wilbanks Middle School in Demorest and is a strong advocate for the implementation of Farm to School in Habersham County. Liberty Farms will be growing Irish potatoes and tomatoes for Habersham students this school year. “As a farmer and educator, I am thrilled to be involved with Farm to School knowing that my own students in my own lunchroom will consume our fresh vegetables. “ says Sherri. “It makes me proud to be apart of a school system that cares and is proactive about the nutrition of our students.”
Farm to School is a nationwide movement that connects schools and local farms to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, and farm and gardening educational opportunities. Habersham County’s farm to school project will be a model for the rest of the state on how to incorporate food and nutrition education into the classroom, integrate gardens in the school environment, and bring local food into the cafeteria while working in partnership with our community and local farms. Northeast Georgia Food Bank and Georgia Organics who support Farm to School as part of their vision for all Georgians to eat good nutritious food and stimulate the local farming communities are funding the pilot program.
Farmer of the Month is a Farm to School program that applauds the local farmers who are growing fresh nutritious produce for students. Paige Holland, Nutrition Director for Habersham County Schools, says, “Our goal is to help students understand how their food travels from the farm to their finger tips. We strive to honor and celebrate local farmers and connect children with the people at the front line of their food supply. We hope that the students will encourage their families to take them to the farmers’ market, seek out the Farmers of the Month, and purchase fruits and vegetables during the peak of their season.”
Liberty Farms will be providing Irish Potatoes for our first Farm 2 School Student Taste Test of the new school year which will be held at Wilbanks Middle School on Monday, August 26 during student lunch time in the cafeteria. The students will be given the opportunity to taste a dish called ‘Greek Potatoes’ which will then be served in the school cafeteria at a later date.