St. Clair, Franklin Counties Build Bridges With Farm-City Activities
Figurative bridge builders from Franklin and St. Clair counties took top honors at the Alabama Farm-City Awards Program and Luncheon April 7 in Birmingham for their work to cultivate understanding between farmers and their urban neighbors.
Alabama Farm-City Committee Chair Jeff Helms said the theme, “Down To Earth: Agriculture Sustains Alabama,” was a rallying cry for county educational activities.
“Down to Earth highlights our shared responsibility for protecting the environment,” Helms said. “It reminds all Farm-City participants of their connection to Earth. Most importantly, Down to Earth provides a forum to understand the importance of sustaining farms and forestland for future generations.”
Farm-City Week was conceived in 1955 and is observed each year the week before Thanksgiving. Alabama’s 2021 observance was the primer for a yearlong Down to Earth educational campaign developed by the Alabama Farmers Federation and other agricultural organizations.
County Farm-City activities were judged in two divisions. St. Clair County won the overall award among larger counties — population over 35,600 — while Franklin County took top honors among smaller counties. Alabama Farm Credit sponsored county awards for the second year, providing $300 for each division winner, $200 for runners-up and $100 for division awards.
St. Clair County earned the Target Award for incorporating the Down to Earth theme into a series of virtual farm tours; civic club presentations; the annual Farm-City banquet; and Tomato Sandwich Day at the farmers market. The county’s Barn Quilt Trail won Division 1’s Innovative Idea Award. It encouraged residents to paint traditional quilt designs on wooden panels for display during November.
Cullman County was runner-up in Division 1 and won category awards for Best Farm-City Tour and Scrapbook.
Franklin County wowed judges for its comprehensive Farm-City program. Activities included a Farm Day for 170 third graders; banquet with 190 guests; civic club programs; media coverage; agriculture-themed Christmas tree at the courthouse featuring student-made ornaments; Down to Earth billboards; nursing home cotton sock donation; Farm-City poster displays; and distributing educational materials to schools. County volunteers thoroughly documented their work, earning Franklin County the Scrapbook Award.
Division 2 runner-up was Pike County, which also was honored for Best Civic Club Activities.
In addition to group honors, the Farm-City Awards Program and Luncheon, held in conjunction with the Federation’s Women’s Leadership Conference, recognized two exceptional county Farm-City committee members.
Jackie Culpepper of Houston County was named Volunteer of the Year for perennial contributions. Culpepper works with local officials to secure proclamations for Farm-City Week and is instrumental in coordinating tours and media coverage.
Abby Peters of Pike County earned the Farm-City Service Award for going above and beyond the call of duty as county Extension coordinator. Peters organized a touch-a-tractor event for students, coordinated virtual activities and delivered cookies to Troy Regional Medical Center as part of a Farm-City project.