Agriplex Holds Dinner and Silent Auction

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Chelsea Sparks/CullmanSense

CULLMAN – The North Alabama Agriplex is a magical place where children learn, play and grow as they explore their natural world. Farm Kid’s Club, Heritage Skills, Living Landscapes and the Heritage Homeschool Program are just a few of the classes taught at the Agriplex.

“It started as a vision,” Rachel Dawsey, coordinator for the Agriplex said. “A long time ago, two men were sitting at the Cullman County Fair, and they were chatting as Lion’s Club Members like to do. They were sitting in front of the produce and agriculture exhibits, and they said that Cullman really needs a museum for Cullman because Cullman is number one in agriculture in the state and because we have a great heritage that people need to know about.”

Dawsey​ went on to say that the two men of whom she was speaking was her grandfather, Chester Freeman, and James Hutchison who started to share their vision.

They began to look around at other museums that were similar to what they wanted to do.

After many committees and meetings later, the board of the North Alabama Agriplex was formed by legislation in the year 2000.

“The reason we are here tonight is to raise money for our programs,” Dawsey said. “Programs that recognize the benefits of agriculture in Cullman County. Our two founding members started right away after that, and started with Touring Farms for Kids, and this was in the year of 2001, making this our 15th anniversary.”

A full house showed up to the event to show their support for the programs and take part in the Agriplex community.

Many local shops and artisans donated items and gift certificates, garden supplies, paintings and baked goods, which were just a few of the items available. After the auction, a wonderful meal of homegrown foods was presented.

“I want to thank our sponsor tonight TriGreen Equipment who offset our costs and also our food donors,” Dawsey said.

“All of our greens for the salads came from Gratitude Farms and we have Cullman grown chicken donated by Ronnie Melton. Our pork BBQ was prepared by Freddie Day, with southern grown collards from Moe’s Original BBQ. Kress Farms donated our wonderful sweet potatoes, and the meal is topped off with a fresh apple cake from Steele Orchard.”

In addition to the many educational programs, the Agriplex works hard making a difference with their Food for Life program that allows for Americorp Vistas to serve.

“I am here through a grant the Agriplex got from the Americorps VISTA,” Kaitlyn Parks said.

“I am here for a year of service. I work on grant writing for the Agriplex through the Food for Life Program. That is our effort to provide supplementary science education in the community, feeding the hungry, and changing the food insecurity in the area through education.”

 

Since August of last year, the VISTA workers have collected and distributed approximately 14,000 pounds of food and 42,000 servings to those in need in the community. According to Dawsey, it is the organization’s hope to raise enough money through this fundraiser to keep the education and love of nature going.

More information on the North Alabama Agriplex and their programs can be found by visiting their Facebook at Facebook.com/NorthAlabamaAgriplex or on their website Agriplex.org.