Polking Up All Over

A Polk County nonprofit dedicated to nourishing family farms is growing its annual tasting event to a full-fledged festival.

A Polk County nonprofit dedicated to nourishing family farms is growing its annual tasting event to a full-fledged festival.

Last August, Bold Life ran a feature story about Grow Rural Opportunities, a Polk County nonprofit whose aim is to help young farmers get established, diversifying both the age demographic and crop range of the traditionally agricultural region. Since then, the group, led by executive director Patrick McLendon, has acquired and fitted up Western North Carolina’s first mobile farmers’ market (that’s in addition to its many other initiatives, including Polk Beekeepers and programs such as “Farmer & Consumer Relationships”).

This month, they’ll host the first annual Gro Fest, a day devoted to “local music, local food, and local libations” held at one of Polk County’s oldest and largest farms, scenic Harmons Dairy. (Hackensaw Boys are the headliner.)

McLendon says Gro Fest was inspired by his experience last year at Farm Aid in Virginia — one of the first major benefit music festivals of the modern era, begun in 1985. “I thought that while so many of those in attendance might love their local farmers, more people in our area do,” he says. “We wanted to bring the excitement of a music festival to Polk County and to celebrate the upcoming growing season — and all the long, hard hours that our Polk farmers put into creating amazing food.”

Saturday, April 15, 5-11pm at Harmons Dairy (335 Harmon Dairy Lane in Columbus). $25-$65. For more information, call 828-436-0040 or see growrural.org.

 

 

 

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