Coming Up Polk

A just-harvested nonprofit will focus on local food in Polk County.

The lushly biodiverse Green River runs through Polk County, informing the area’s environmental culture and providing a scenic playground for whitewater sports. Now a new nonprofit, Growing Rural Opportunities, aims to celebrate another outdoor part of Polk. It’s all about farmer training and consumer education — tapping and diversifying the county’s fertile agricultural potential.

On the harvest end, this will mean more locally sourced food and beverages. This week, though, on the cusp of the planting season, GRO is recognizing new beginnings with a kickoff party Saturday, April 9, at Leap Farm. Formerly “Farm to Fork,” the new event will feature bluegrass from the Bald Mountain Boys, local food prepared by the head chef of Bright’s Creek Club, games, bonfires, and local libations.

GRO, an offshoot of the Mills Spring Agricultural Development Center, has been incubating for the past five years; plans include an incubator farm to train rising farmers and sustain the initiative for future seasons.

“Increasing the relationship between farmers and consumers will be at the heart of each of our activities,” says executive director Patrick McLendon.

GRO Launch Party, April 9, 4-7pm. Leap Farm, 1835 Palmer Road, Mill Spring. For more information, visit or e-mail Patrick McLendon at

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