Harvest to Home: Agriplex reveals new facility plans at annual dinner

Plans are for a new administration and community hub to be located at the Agriplex campus. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex Board and Foundation hosted its seventh annual Harvest to Home Local Foods Dinner and Silent Auction fundraiser Thursday night at the Wallace State Community College Conference Center. Doors opened at 5:30, allowing guests to peruse the silent auction. The theme this year was “Harvest to Home: “It’s Good to Be Back Home,” celebrating the gathering of the Agriplex community for the first time since the pandemic.

Agriplex Board Chairman Mike Roden revealed the plans for a new facility at the Agriplex.

“This year, in order to house our current services and expand and continue our mission, the board has determined that the Agriplex needs a new space. Tonight, I’m happy to announce that we are kicking off a new ‘Home to Harvest,’ which is our 2023 capital campaign.”

The campaign seeks to raise funds in the next year for the new administrative and community hub that will be located on the Cullman Agriplex campus.

It will be home to Agriplex and Cullman County Extension administrative offices and feature a demonstration/training kitchen to house current services and allow for a space to hold job training courses, including ServSafe.

The new facility will help to expand programs including the farm technical assistance program led by Tony Glover. It will be a place where local farmers can meet, gather and share resources.

Roden said that the facility will enable the Agriplex community to expand work in food insecurity and nutrition education. It will help the organization continue its gleaning programs and further the ability to teach the community to grow and prepare its own food.

“This is really going to be a great enhancement for Cullman and the surrounding area. I was asked how much is this going to cost? Well, if one of you wants to write a check for $2.2 million, we’ll name it after you,” joked Roden.

Alabama Farm Credit was the event sponsor, with Cullman Internal Medicine sponsoring the entertainment and Wallace State providing the venue. The Cullman Farm-City Committee and Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) students served at the event. Alabama Web Press was the print sponsor, and Elise Thomason Print Studio was the artwork sponsor. Local bluegrass band Cotton Pickin’ Kids, featuring six siblings, provided the musical entertainment for the evening.

Alabama Farm Credit Branch Manager Chuck Roberts said, “At Alabama Farm Credit we feel it’s important to partner with organizations that offer hands-on learning experiences revolving around agriculture to the community and schools. That’s exactly the mission of the Agriplex…We find it most prevalent when talking with young adults that agriculture isn’t something that they are very aware of. Cullman County is lucky to have an organization that offers these opportunities to their community.”

The dinner, prepared by Chef Aaron Nichols and the Wallace State Culinary Pride featured fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The entrée was preserved peach airline chicken from Cullman County with creamed southern peas with bacon, tarragon-toasted, red wine-marinated pears and crispy rosemary sweet potato.

Donations to support the Agriplex can be made at www.agriplex.org/WPtest.

The Cotton Pickin Kids perform at Harvest to Home Silent Auction and Dinner Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

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