Cullman Farm-City Committee honored with 3 awards by Alabama Farmers Federation

Picture are: (front row, sitting, left to right): Taylor May, Doris Patterson, Pat Floyd and Cherrie Haney; (second row, solid blue shirts, left to right): Ava Claire Floyd, Emma Hankey, Audrey Floyd and Nancy Bryant; (third row, grey shirts with blue sleeves, left to right): Lynda Hankey, Rhonda Lawler, Shannon Bridges, Luanne Reid and Tonja Grace; and (very back): David Bennefield​. (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Since 1955, Farm-City Committees around Alabama have worked to deepen the understanding of the relationship between rural farmers and urban workers. These committees work on a variety of projects and programs throughout the year to do that – banquets, farm tours, school field trips, competitions and countless other special events. To encourage individual county committees, the Alabama Farmers Federation holds the annual Farm-City Awards and recognizes the committees that go the extra mile for their programs.

During this year’s virtual awards ceremony, which took place Tuesday, the Alabama Farmers Federation announced that Cullman won three awards:

  • Innovative Idea Award: Awarded for the POP-Up Farmers Market held with the aid of the Cullman Electric Cooperative last year, where Co-op employees were given $5 each to spend at the market and could purchase tomato sandwich sack lunches as part of a fundraiser for the committee.
  • Best Civic Club Program: Awarded for “reaching a very good mixture of groups with their different civic club activities” because of its work with the Lions Club, the North Alabama Agriplex, the Cullman County Fair committee and others.
  • Best Farm-City Committee Runner-Up, Division 1

Cullman County also had a representative in the poster contests as Maggie Phillips from Good Hope Primary was announced as an honorable mention. Her poster will be featured in next year’s Farm-City calendar.

Prior to the ceremony, Cullman Farm-City Committee Co-Chairs Doris Patterson and Pat Floyd said the past year was somewhat rough on the committee, but they were confident that Cullman would pull through with a good number of awards for the committee’s report of the previous year’s activities.

When asked what Farm-City means to them, Patterson and another committee member, Lynda Hankey, said it is all about the community effort to keep residents fed.

“You know, obviously without the farmers we’d be in trouble, but also we need the grocery stores for people who don’t live near farmers or can’t make time for a trip to the Farmers Market,” said Hankey. “We like to involve the farms, the schools, we get the kids involved because we’re passing the torch on to them, and just have the whole community work together to find the best way to support everyone.”

The Alabama Farmers Federation divides counties into two divisions based on population for the awards: Division 1 (greater than 35,600) and Division 2 (less than 35,600). In previous years, the Best Farm-City Committee award was given to one committee overall, but this year the award was given to the top committee in each division, so as to give smaller counties a fairer shot at winning. Cullman falls into Division 1.

From 2013-2019, the Cullman Farm-City Committee was named the Overall Best Farm-City Committee, and while its seven-year winning streak was broken, members said they weren’t disappointed with the way things turned out. Speaking all at one time, multiple people expressed how excited they were to have received the awards that they did and having managed to place second out of at least 30 counties in the division.

Floyd smiled, “We’re not at all upset to receive that award. It’s not first place, but it’s still an honor. We just as easily could’ve gotten nothing.”

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Heather Mann