Locally Grown’s Online Hub Cultivates Quality and Community

by | Sep 2023

IN ATHENS, Georgia, a passionate advocate for local farmers dared to dream big. Fueling this dream was the creation of innovative software that revolutionized how people connected with nearby farmers. This concept came to life through an online platform known as Locally Grown. This digital market has emerged as a beacon of hope for farmers and customers alike, combining the convenience of online shopping with the joy of supporting local agriculture. 

Meanwhile, here in Manchester, an unexpected encounter changed the course of Linda Reed’s life. As a dedicated bookstore owner, Reed yearned for a solution to address her grocery needs while accommodating her hectic schedule. And then she stumbled upon Locally Grown. 

With their weekly delivery service in nearby Tullahoma, Reed realized that her bookstore could become a pickup location along the route, allowing farmers to drop off orders. It was an idea too good to pass up, and Reed’s decision marked the humble beginnings of a remarkable collaborative effort. 

Initially, Reed’s leap into offering pickup services at her bookstore was driven by her desire for convenience. Little did she know that her spontaneous decision would blossom into a flourishing platform benefiting farmers and customers. As more farmers joined the Locally Grown market, they discovered its unique advantages. 

“Customers don’t know about these little farmers. So it’s exposing the small farmers to the customers, so they know what’s available out there,” she explained. 

Though not a farmer, Reed found her unique way to contribute to the market’s success. Her shady yard prevented her from growing vegetables, but it didn’t hinder her from offering a captivating array of perennial flowers, hanging baskets, plants, and seasonal decorations. Her plants thrived better than those found in larger retail stores, like Walmart or Home Depot, and she took great pride in the exceptional quality she provided. 

Locally Grown’s role as a vibrant hub for small-scale farmers and producers in the community provides diverse offerings, from luscious goat’s milk and delectable dog treats to beautiful garden plants. 

At the heart of the Locally Grown market lay an unwavering commitment to supporting local farmers within a 30-mile radius of Manchester. This dedication to locality set it apart from the supermarket chains that often waved “locally grown” labels while sourcing produce from distant regions. Customers cherished the market’s transparency and authenticity, recognizing the immense value of supporting nearby farmers and reducing their ecological footprint. 

As the market expanded its reach, it began to captivate the attention and curiosity of the local community. Many were astounded by its existence and the remarkable range of products available. 

Determined to shed light on the market’s impact, Reed took it upon herself to emphasize the dedication of these small-scale farmers and the unrivaled freshness and variety of their offerings. By raising awareness, she aimed to inspire more people to embrace the local market and savor its abundant benefits. 

While the primary focus of Locally Grown remained serving the Manchester community, its influence occasionally reached neighboring areas. The spirit of Southern hospitality and the dedication of these farmers extended beyond boundaries, creating ripples of positive change wherever they ventured. 

Carter Smith with CS3 Farms in Beechgrove said, “We are based in Beechgrove, so there isn’t much of an opportunity for a farm stand. We like the online market format because it ensures we can get seriously fresh vegetables to our customers instead of trying to read their minds and pick a whole lot of vegetables, drag them to market before the sun comes up, and then figure out what to do with any unsold vegetables afterward.” 

Based in Beechgrove, Carter and Sharmyn Smith sell fresh medicinal herbs, seeds, tinctures, and vegetables at Manchester Locally Grown Market, the Stones River online Market in Murfreesboro, and Harvest Local Foods on Manchester Square. 

Locally Grown has become more than just an online marketplace. It is a celebration of the South’s rich agricultural heritage and a testament to the enduring spirit of community. Through their unwavering commitment to quality, sustainability, and supporting local farmers, the market has become a place where food, connection, and shared values intertwine to create an atmosphere akin to our grandmother’s garden and the childhood farm our parents grew up on. 

“They’re serving the community and bringing something to the community that you could probably find at Walmart. But it’s better quality and fresher because everything on our market is produced within 30 miles of Manchester. We can offer delivery within Coffee County if needed,” Reed said. 

“It’s convenient. It’s fresh. It’s varied. We have a lot more varied offerings than anybody would imagine.” 

As the crisp autumn breeze rustles through the colorful leaves, it’s time to embrace the abundant harvest and join the celebration at the South Cumberland Farmers Market. Experience the heartwarming connection between food, community, and shared values. Shop local, support local, and let the bountiful treasures of our land nourish your soul. GN 

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