Tag Archives: Florida

Ms. Gretchen Goes to Orlando

As the only farmer Georgia delegate to the Democratic National Convention, No Farms No Food and the only delegate from Lowndes County and one of the few from rural Georgia, Gretchen Quarterman is off to the Democratic Platform Committee meeting in Orlando today and tomorrow, Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th 2016.

Remember: No Farms, No Food.

She already knows a bit more about the process than Jimmy Stewart in 1939’s Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Hm, I’d forgotten that movie was about Continue reading

Happy Serenity Acres Farm

Julia Shewchuk will present How to make Basic Goat Milk Soap at South Georgia Growing Local in February.

Gretchen Hein, New Leaf Market Co-op, Jan/Feb/Mar 2016, Local Spotlight—Serenity Acres Farm,

“Happy Soaps by Happy Goats,” is the tagline of the Serenity Acres Farm Goat Soap home page and “happy” describes many things about Serenity Acres Farm. Yes, even how it feels to be lathered by the suds of their goat milk soap.

Owned by Julia and Wayne, Serenity Acres Farm is located in nearby Madison County, Florida. It’s a small farm with a big goal of producing locally grown and farm-raised products free of major pesticides, hormones and genetically modified components. All their animals are Animal Welfare Approved certified and pasture based.

Originally, Julia and Wayne were looking for…. Continue reading

Raising goats. Is it a hobby or a business? –Bobbie Golden @ SOGALO15 2015-01-24

South Georgia Growing Local is also for North Florida, where these goats live.

  • Breeds that are most likely to live in our environment
  • How to market and get some return on your investment

Bobbie’s business is Golden Acres Ranch, between Monticello Florida, and Thomasville, Georgia. Come hear Bobbie talk about her goats at South Georgia Growing Local 2015, this Saturday, January 24th, at Pine Grove Middle School, in Lowndes County, Georgia.


Location, Location, Location –Christine Hagen from the Hagen Homestead

Christine Hagen will speak about her family’s CSA at South Georgia Growing Local 2014:

We started out going to a weekly organic farmer’s market over in Thomasville but transitioned to a CSA after 2 years. We will explain why and show you how our gardens have taken shape over these past few years. We are still a small operation after 4 years choosing to grow our business slowly. However, we have learned a great deal during these growing years. Plus we have gleaned much from other folks which we will be implementing over the next few years. We are grooming the farm as a business venture for our son, who does most of the labor.

Hagen Homestead’s website. Christine Hagen’s conference bio: Continue reading

Gretchen on the radio about South Georgia Growing Local 2014

We will be on the radio twice on Monday. First on the Chris Beckham show at 7:30 and then on a Jasper station at 11:30. Listen in and invite your friends.

Here’s a facebook event about the Black Crow Media 105.9 FM radio show, 7:30-7:45 AM. You can listen to it online with Streema.com or any of several other apps. Or over the air!

And remember to register for the conference.


French mulberry, or dwarf mulberry, becomes beautyberry

Due to discussion on facebook with Rihard Sexton after the previous post, I dug around a bit, and discovered that beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is also known as dwarf mulberry, French mulberry, and Spanish mulberry, sow berry, and sour berry. That last is especially a misnomer, because its berries are not sour, they taste like flowers. And it turns out that beautyberry was mentioned in books before 1800, it was just mentioned as dwarf mulberry:

Further, William Bartram did mention it in his Travels of 1791, as French mulberry. Curiously, even though Google books does have Bartram’s book, ngrams doesn’t seem to show French mulberry for that date, but does show American mulberry. Even more curious, William Bartram’s father, John Bartram, corresponded with Linnaeus, the founder of modern botanical terminology.

The currently most popular name is beautyberry, which turns out to be related to the scientific genus name, Callicarpa: Greek kalli means beautiful, and Karpos means fruit.

The plant has all sorts of uses: Continue reading

The Art of Managing Longleaf

The surprising thing is so few people have heard of Leon Neel. Here’s a very interesting biography of this very influential pioneer in southeastern forestry and agriculture, including many interesting stories of south Georgia and north Florida life and politics:
The Art of Managing Longleaf:
A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach,
by Leon Neel, with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way.
Leon Neel was a atudent, apprentice, and successor of Herbert Stoddard, who was originally hired by quail plantation owners around Thomasville to figure out why their quail populations were decreasing. The answer included a need to thin and especially to burn their longleaf pine tree forests. Stoddard and Neel studied and practiced for almost a century between them on how to preserve and increase the amount of standing timber and species diversity while also selectively harvesting trees to pay for the whole thing. Their Stoddard-Neel Approach is written up in textbooks. In this book we learn how it came about, and how it is basically different from the clearcut-thin-thin-clearcut “efficient” timbering cycle that is the current fad among pine tree growers in the southeast.

It starts back in the old days of Leon Neel’s youth when his daddy taught him to hunt quail: Continue reading

County Commission Votes Tonight: Save Our Canopy Road

In a front page story in the Valdosta Daily Times, Matt Flumerfelt writes:
VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners will vote today concerning the proposed paving of Quarterman Road, located off Hambrick Tree Farm Road.

The road is already partially paved, but some community members are concerned about the trees that line a section of the road that will have to be removed in order to complete the paving project.

There’s more. He ends with:
The commission will meet tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the County Commission Building on Savannah Avenue.
If you’re heading south down Patterson Street, turn right just before the overpass. That’s Savannah Avenue. Several blocks down you’ll see the water tower, and the commission office is on the left just before you get to the tower. If the parking lot is full, you can park across the street in the county fire station lot.

We’ll see if the county will consider the idea of treating canopy roads throughout the canopy as the benefit they are to the environment, beauty, and tourism.

Open Letter to Commisioner Lee

To: Richard C. Lee, District 2
Cc: Rodney N. Casey, Chairman
Cc: J. Edgar Roberts, District 1
Cc: G. Robert Carter, District 3
Cc: Jason Davenport, County Planner
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners
325 West Savannah Avenue
Valdosta, GA 31601


From: John S. Quarterman
residence 6565 Quarterman Road
3338 Country Club Rd. #L336
Valdosta, GA 31605
10 November 2008

Commissioner Lee,

Thank you for meeting with us Friday. That was a good beginning to a conversation, much like I had hoped we would have after you attended our neighborhood meeting of June 5 in which we requested further options and my letter of August 7 in which I also requested further options regarding Quarterman Road. Now we’re talking!

Quarterman Road Frontage Owned by Opponents of Clearing and PavingI understand that there has been some confusion as to who wants to do what with Quarterman Road. This is why we have clarified neighborhood opinion with the petition of 26 October showing that a majority of households on the road and the owners of a majority of the road frontage do not want the road paved, at least not using the current plan the county is pursuing of clearing a 60 foot right of way and tearing down the tree canopy.

Apparently there has also been some confusion as to what the state requires the county to do. I hear that some time in the past the county was planning to use state money to improve Quarterman Road. If so, I see how that money could have come with requirements from the state. That would explain why the current county paving plan, which was originally drawn up many years ago, looks more like a state highway than a rural local county road. However, as I am sure you are aware, SPLOST VI is a local tax, not state money, so there are no such requirements along with it. I confirmed this with the District Engineer with GDOT. He tells me that the state makes no requirements on the county as to what to do with Quarterman Road, which the state classifies as functional class 9, a rural local road. Continue reading

Play SOCR Like Florida: Save Our Canopy Road

Yesterday some of us finally got to talk to one of the paving proponents inside the county government to try to persuade him to Save Our Canopy Road In response we hear Safety! Professional engineer’s opinion! AASHTO standards! Highest and best use!

Why the county should determine highest and best use is different from what 60% of the households on the road have said in a petition is mysterious to me; more on that below.

They claim they have to have a 60 foot right of way, that they can’t have trees close to the roadbed, they have to have wide sloping ditches, paving just like Hambrick Road, and a 45 MPH speed limit.

Yet just across the state line, Leon County, Florida advertises their canopy roads as tourist attractions, and both dirt and paved they have trees just as close to the roadbed as our canopy does now. Pictured on the right is Old Bainbridge Road, Leon Co., Fla. Does it remind you of anything?

Tallahassee is well known for its canopy roads. Valued by citizens, the roads offer a peaceful alternative to the typical city view of asphalt, cement, signs and visual clutter.
They have canopy road regulations in the county code, plus a tree inventory, a management schedule, an interactive tour, and a printable 11 page brochure.

Old Magnolia Road, Leon County, FloridaSome of their canopy roads are dirt, such as old Magnolia Road (middle of page 6):

“…one of our most scenic dirt roads. Because of slow driving along Magnolia Road, this detour will add about 40 minutes. Magnolia Road can be slick in rainy weather.”

“Historic Magnolia Road is one of the most Picturesque in Leon County. …Remember to wave at those you pass — it’s southern tradition on dirt roads.”

Others were paved carefully to protect the canopy:

“Drive slowly and enjoy the majesty of this beautiful road with its lush vegetation. This first portion of Miccosukee Road was paved in the 1980s. Care was taken to preserve the rural character of the road; it is narrow and weaves to protect the canopy.”

Leon County is far from alone in Florida in having canopy roads.

Sarasota County has 61 canopy roads, and a “Canopy Road Ordinance (Art. IV, §98-92)”.

Here are pictures of canopy roads all over Florida. Some are dirt, some are paved. Most have trees just as close to the roadbed as on Quarterman Road.

And Florida is far from alone. Here’s one near Buffalo, NY.

Here’s a writeup by the town of Mount Pleasant on Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant, SC, citing a state scenic roads program. Georgia has one of those, too.

What about Savannah? Surely everyone has driven along Victory Drive.

Or US 17 near Eulonia in McIntosh Co. on the way to Darien.

If all that is not enough to address the safety issue, here’s a canopy road that GDOT admits is 20% safer than other roads of its class: Forest Hill Road, Bibb County, Georgia.

AASHTO standards are guidelines, not requirements. Obviously other places have managed not only to keep canopy roads with safety, they have turned them into tourist assets. That seems like a higher and better use than tearing them down.

Quarterman Road Classification Previously we were also told by the county that Quarterman Road had been redesignated by the state as a collector. I checked Thursday, and GDOT says Quarterman Road, Lowndes County Road 160, is functional class 9, rural local road. GDOT tells me that this means the state does not tell the county what to do with this road: the state does not require a 60 foot right of way, and the county could improve or pave the road in any number of other ways. If the county took state money, the state might make requirements, but SPLOST VI is not state money: it’s a local tax.

There are paved roads in Lowndes County right now that are not 60 feet wide, such as Rusk Road, and if I’m not mistaken Chapelle Road.

It’s clear that Quarterman Road does not have to have a 60 foot right of way cleared, even if it is paved.

Lowndes County government proponents of paving have not responded to requests for other options. We asked when they attended a neighborhood meeting on June 5. I asked in a letter of August 7. Others called and asked. Nobody ever responded. The way we discovered the county was moving ahead with paving was when I saw a truck creeping along and asked what they were doing:

Looking to see what it will take to tear down all the trees along the right of way! It’s going up for bids Monday!
Since then the county has put the road out for bids and they selected the low bid Monday Nov 3rd. Unless the commission stops it Tuesday Nov 11th, clearing starts Wednesday Nov 12th.

We finally got a meeting with our county commissioner Friday Nov 7th (yesterday).

How does Leon County do it? They treat it as a community planning project. They have a canopy roads committee with four members from the county and four members from the city that recommends roads to designate as canopy roads. They have workshops on:

“how to manage, protect and plan for the future of the canopy roads and canopy corridors in Tallahassee, Leon County.”

We can only assume that Lowndes County is unaware of these many examples of canopy roads in other counties. I’m sure there are people on Quarterman Road who would be happy to find out more about how other counties do it.

The first thing to be done is to stop the clearing of Quarterman Road, and we ask the county commission to stop that Tuesday.

We also ask the county to establish a citizens’ committee to evaluate canopy roads in the county and how to preserve them. How many county roads are there in the county? How are they being protected? What guidelines can we develop to preserve them? How do other counties maintain their canopies with safety for residents?

This is a planning and zoning issue, not just an engineering issue. It is also a citizens’ issue, not just a county government issue.

The Lowndes County Commission meeting of Tuesday 11 November is public. The county government likes citizen participation. Help us preserve the rural character of our canopy road, and of Lowndes County. Y’all come!