Need More Acres Farm
By Nicole Musgrave
On Saturday evening of the Bowling Green community intensive, RUX members made their way about 30 minutes south to Michelle and Nathan Howell's Scottsville farm, Need More Acres Farm. Michelle and Nathan are full-time farmers who work to connect consumers in South Central Kentucky to locally grown food. Michelle hosted us for the evening, sharing with us her Kentucky Food Story, giving us a tour of her farm, and treating us to a beautiful, delicious farm-fresh meal.
Michelle shared with us her journey to becoming a full-time farmer. She recalled that when she was a child, most of her meals came from the gas station down the street. Michelle's relationship to food began to shift when she started working at Jackson's Orchard in Bowling Green. She remembered watching people come to the orchard full of excitement over the season's first peaches or first apples. Michelle identifies a number of other life experiences as turning points for her relationship with food, including losing Nathan's mother to a preventable disease and watching her daughter recover from illness through the foods they fed her. Michelle began to more deeply consider our country's food system and where our food comes from, leading her towards full-time farming.
Michelle helped found the Community Farmer's Market (CFM) in Bowling Green. With a goal of making the market affordable and approachable to Bowling Green's diverse communities, Michelle helped set up a program to accept SNAP, WIC, and other vouchers at the market. Michelle and Nathan also offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to a number of families, and they work with Bowling Green schools to allow schoolchildren to try fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the Howell's have a certified kitchen in their house which they rent out to folks needing to prepare food that meet certain regulatory standards. They also use the kitchen for processing excess produce into convenient meals for HOTEL INC'S food pantry in Bowling Green. In all of these ways, Michelle and Nathan are working to provide Bowling Green residents with fresh produce, helping connect consumers and farmers to educate people on where their food comes from.
After the tour of the farm, we sat down to a farm fresh meal sponsored by Need More Acres Farm. The menu included thick slices of heirloom tomatoes; homemade ranch to dip shishito peppers, zucchini, and squash; concord grapes, berries, and yellow watermelon; fresh milk and cheeses and baked country bread with sweet honey, butter, and olive oil; a variety of juices from Zest Juice Co; as well as corn to shuck and eat straight from the cob. We also enjoyed some barbecue pork from the Smoke Shack which was provided to us by Western Kentucky University's Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology.
While we ate and enjoyed each others' company and exclaimed about how delicious everything tasted, the Dead Broke Barons out of Franklin, Kentucky delighted us with their original music and storytelling. After a day full of exploring Bowling Green, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city, it was a nice change of pace to spend the evening amongst the beautiful scenery of South Central Kentucky's rural farmland.