The BattleField Farm story began in the Spring of 2018.
Pastor Chris Battle started a Community Garden on the property of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN. It was during this time that he learned about food disparity and food deserts. The USDA states that if 1/3 of your community is living at poverty level and more than a mile away from a grocery store or Farmers Market you were considered a “food desert.” These deserts usually affect communities of color. While fast food restaurants, Dollar Stores and the corner convenient store may flourish in these deserts, they offer no nutritional value to the diet, only providing processed foods. People in these deserts suffer from higher rates of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Why? Lack of access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. The church was 2 miles away from the nearest grocery store and there was no Market. Your zip code should not determine your access to fresh affordable vegetables.
Battle said our community garden wasn’t enough. He reached out to other pastors in the area who had empty plots and encouraged them to start community gardens. As a result, 4 churches started gardens on their properties. But for Battle, that still wasn’t enough. He reached out to Nourish Knoxville about starting a Farmers Market in the 37915 zip code. Nourish is a Knoxville based non-profit that cultivates healthy communities by supporting relationships between local farmers, producers and the public. It was at this meeting that he became aware of other organizations who were having the same concern: Women in Agriculture, SEEED, and 5 Points Up. These organizations got together and started the Eastside Sunday Market that is open every Sunday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm from June – September at Dr. Walter Hardy Park.
Abbey Field was a local 2 acre urban farm. When the farm operator left they needed someone to run it. Pastor Battle accepted the challenge. The farm was rebranded as BattleField Farm, a play on his name. But more importantly this space would be where the fight against food insecurity would take place. When that property sold, Battle purchased the property of their present location.
Shalom – the Hebrew term is usually translated as peace. But, it means much more than just the absence of war, violence and strife. It carries the idea of wholeness or completeness. It points to a harmony that extends far beyond nature but of political, social, personal and interpersonal relationships.
Agape – is the Greek term that speaks to the highest form of love. It’s the love, the unconditional love that the Creator has for the creation and all that’s in it.
Ubuntu– is an African concept that means “a person is a person through other people. It’s the idea that community is the basic building block of society. As one houseless couple wrote about the farm; “we often find ourselves at the farm…it’s one of the few places where we are not asked to leave.”
Andinka symbol for dilligence, hard work and entrepreneurship.
Want to partner with Battlefield Farms & Gardens to create a community garden?
Build a community garden in your area. It’s a great way to bring communities together, get healthy affordable food in your neighborhood, reduce hunger and obesity, increase nutrition, and lower healthcare costs.
Contact Chris Battle today.