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Jeff Winkler, right, receives the Farm Family of the Year Award from Watauga County Cooperative Extension Agent Brian Chatham. Photo by Anna Oakes

Originally published: 2012-11-10 22:13:23
Last modified: 2012-11-10 22:13:23

Farm and city come together

by Anna Oakes

Farmers and community groups were honored at the 57th annual Farm City Banquet, held at Boone United Methodist Church Thursday.

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President Dan Meyer emceed the sold-out event, which also featured remarks by Denise Cerreta, founder of the One World Everybody Eats movement, the inspiration behind Boone’s F.A.R.M. Café.

Cerreta discussed the growth of the pay-what-you-can restaurant model and her work with Renee Boughman, who spearheaded the effort to open F.A.R.M. Café on King Street in downtown Boone.

“When I think of Boone … I think of a visionary like Renee Boughman,” Cerreta said. F.A.R.M. Café received the Spirit of Farm City Award at the banquet.

After more than 200 attendees enjoyed a meal catered by Bandana’s, a number of awards were given to individuals recognized for their contributions and support of the local agricultural economy.

Jeff Winkler of Winkler Farms on Pine Run Road was honored with the Farm Family of the Year Award. At one time a dairy, the farm now raises beef cattle.

Joey Clawson of Panoramic Tree Farm was named Christmas Tree Farmer of the Year, while Doug Jones was named the Cattleman of the Year. Mark Hurst was praised for his willingness to teach new beekeepers in being named Beekeeper of the Year.

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture received the Agri-tourism Award for its coordination of the annual High Country Farm Tour.

“This year the event drew over 500 visitors — most of whom come from other parts of North Carolina — to 22 farms in the region. This event has built momentum over the last several years, and we hope it continues to draw attention to our local farms,” said Meyer.

Boone Area Cyclists received the Chamber of Commerce’s L.E. Tuckwiller Award for their partnership with Watauga County in donating thousands of hours of volunteer labor to build Rocky Knob Park, a system of mountain biking trails.

The award for Woman in Agriculture went to Amy Fiedler of Springhouse Farm in Vilas, which grows vegetables, flowers and herbs, as well as produces honey, with a dedication to sustainable growing practices.

For the second year, the Watauga County Arts Council presented the Agriculture in Arts Award, which went to Leda Winebarger.

“This year’s competition was an opportunity for local photographers to share their photographic images of local scenery that exemplifies the theme of the Watauga County Farm City Banquet,” said Cherry Johnson, executive director of the Arts Council.

Amy Hudnall of Horse Helpers of the High Country received the Community Volunteer Award.
“They rescue abused, neglected or abandoned equines; provide them with care and rehabilitation; and finally find them a compatible, loving home,” said Lee Rankin, the award presenter.

Watauga County Cooperative Extension Director Jim Hamilton presented the Youth in Agriculture Award to MacKenzie Norris.

“She is passionate about her horses, dogs, chickens and other farm animals and hopes to pursue a career in veterinary medicine,” Hamilton said.

The Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day organizing committee received the Friend of Agriculture Award for its coordination of the Heritage Day for more than 10 years.

The banquet recognized Robert Shipley, who turned 100 this year, for attending all 57 Farm City Banquets. In Shipley’s honor, the Farm City Committee donated $157 to the Robert G. and Agnes D. Shipley Agricultural Endowment.