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Barefoot Farmer Receives $100,000 Grant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, October 7, 2014


The Barefoot Farmer (Jeff Poppen) has been educating people for many years about growing their own food and the importance of eating locally thru his newspaper column in the Macon County Chronicle, books, TV shows, apprenticeships, lectures, tours and consulting. He applied for and received a FMPP (Farmers Market Promotion Program) 2014 grant for $100,000 thru the USDA, so a Farmer’s Market can be established in Red Boiling Springs and make local fresh produce more available to the public. The grant will also provide money for Poppen to continue his educational training  programs, so that other people can learn how to grow their own food and do it themselves and not have to rely on other people.

“We applied for the grant in the beginning of May after a friend called and said there was an announcement from the USDA about grant money to help set up Farmer’s Markets and educational training,” said Poppen. “The deadline was in June and we only had 5 or 6 weeks to get it done. Often times these announcements are money that Congress gives the USDA, because Congress feels like we need more locally grown food because it is good for the economy because people can make money by growing and selling produce. The USDA programs are a little different.”

The Barefoot Farmer says that if people were buying local grown food produce, the money would stay in Macon County. “People used to could live on a farm and making a living, and this is an effort to bring back the economic stability that was here back when we were kids.”

“The other part of the grant is the educational training where we came teach other people how to grow produce themselves,” said Poppen. “Macon County stands at a cross roads right now. There is a huge demand for local food and the possibility of having many economically viable farms is real in Macon County. This also leads to other things like people wanting to tour the farm and look at these gardens which were popularized by my TV show, “The Barefoot Farmer’.”

“This grant will allow us to do more community outreach, more than we are currently able to do,” continued Poppen. “The other possibility is we could become like Clay County and fill the county up with chicken houses. This is the cross roads that we are standing at, whether we are going to become a chicken house county or are we going to become a local garden farming economy. We have the choice right now, we can bring back the family farms that created the culture that makes Macon County such a great place to live.”

The Barefoot Farmer said there was $15 million in grants from the USDA and his farm (Long Hungry Creek Farm) was the only one in the State of Tennessee to receive a grant.

Poppen went on to say that Kristina Cimino, this year’s apprentice at the farm, wrote the grant with help from an intern 15 years ago, Coree Entwistle, and her father, who is a professional grant writer.

“My goals are to develop and expand a community Farmers Market in Red Boiling Springs,” said Poppen, “and have free classes at the Farmers Market, which we be advertised in the local media. There will be lessons for the people working on the farm, where we already have an apprentice program. I will be available for phone and e-mail consultations. There will be tours of the farm and lectures for people wanting to see it hands on.”

Poppen says he is going to organize conferences on his farm and other places and he will also be avilable in Nashville and other areas.

“I want to expand our agriculture library at the farm, particularly text books over 100 years old. We had to validate every dollar we were going to spend and I am asked many questions and sometimes I have to get the books out.”

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the support of the local community,” said Poppen. “Although I look different and despite my eccentricities, the community supported me and I want to thank everybody for the many years of positive feed back for what we do here. There were over 30 letters of support written from area folks telling the government this grant would be put to good use and I truly appreciate their confidence in the Barefoot Farmer.”

“I am looking forward to making the local farming community of Macon Counthy something we can all be proud of,” added Poppen. “Local farming creates jobs, it’s better for our health and it will be better for our environment than large-scale industrial agriculture. We are applying also for an EBT machine which will allow people to use their food stamps at the Farmer’s Market not only for our produce, but for anyone selling their locally grown produce at the community market.”

“I believe humans being are basically good and everything is going to be alright. But it’s important to grow our own food or get it from somebody who’s growing it nearby.”

For more information you can e-mail Jeff Poppen at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Wreck Claims One Life PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, September 30, 2014


On Sunday night, September 28, THP Trooper Justin Mote investigated a one vehicle wreck on New Harmony Road that claimed the life of 30-year-old Antonio Cruz Hernandez of Bethpage,Tennessee. Medical investigator Steve Jones was called to the scene and pronounced him dead at 7:59 p.m.

Trooper Mote stated that Hernandez was driving a blue 2002 Chevy Cavalier north on New Harmony Road sometime after 7:00 p.m. on Sunday night when he failed to maintain the proper lane of travel. “He crossed the center line, went off the southbound side of the roadway, struck a tree on the passenger’s side and the vehicle rolled onto that side,” said Trooper Mote. “He was partially ejected out the passenger’s side and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.”

Those responding to the scene were the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Macon County Sheriffs Office, Macon County EMS, Medical investigator Steve Jones, and the Macon County Chronicle.

Funeral services for Antonio Cruz Hernandez will be conducted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, at 10 a.m. from the chapel of Alexander Funeral Home with Brother Nick Baskerville officiating.

He is survied by daughter, Belva; friends, Bobby Sullivan and wife Reba, Jack Roek and wife Kim and many other family and friends.

 Alexander Funeral Home, in Lafayette, directors.

1.000 Marijuana Plants Found in Macon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jessie Williams   
Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Approximately 1,000 marijuana plants were discovered by aerial surveillance on Monday, September 22, during a joint operation between the Macon County Sheriffs Department and the Tennessee Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication.

A helicopter crew flew over Macon County and located the large marijuana crop, while a ground unit was en route to the location.

The plants were harvested and destroyed following the all-day investigation. 

It’s estimated that the harvested plants have a street value of well over $10,000.

This investigation is ongoing, and Sheriff Mark Gammons urges anyone with information involving illegal drug activity in Macon County to call the Macon County Sheriff’s Department. Callers can remain anonymous. 

Stolen Vehicle, Gun Found in Kentucky PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jessie Williams   
Tuesday, September 23, 2014


An investigation that began in Macon County, recently led to the confiscation of 29 guns in Allen County, Kentucky, and a stolen vehicle and weapon from Macon County.

According to Chief Deputy Bryon Satterfield, the Macon County Sheriff’s Department began investigating a stolen vehicle during the summer on the west end of the county.

The stolen vehicle belonged to a member of the military, who was serving in Afghanistan.

“While investigating the vehicle theft, it was discovered that a 30-30 rifle was stolen by the same suspect in the case,” Satterfield stated.

After investigating several leads, conducting interviews and gathering evidence the Macon County Sheriff’s Department was able to locate the vehicle in Allen County, Kentucky. 

Following a joint investigation with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Task Force and the ATF, detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence where the stolen weapon was located.

Upon a search of the residence, a total of 29 weapons were recovered and approximately four ounces of methamphetamine was found. The vehicle was also discovered at a second location in Allen County. The Allen County suspect was arrested by authorities on drug related charges.

The victim of the vehicle theft was notified and it was discovered that he also had a .22 pistol stolen. That weapon was found to be sold to a Macon County resident and was recovered the same day.

 The Macon County suspect who allegedly sold stolen items to the suspect in Allen County is currently incarcerated at the Macon County Jail on other charges. Additional charges are pending in this case.

Saturday Fire Levels Dry Branch Home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Members of the Lafayette Fire Department responded to a structure fire that leveled a home at 2969 Dry Branch Road, off Highway 10 South, on Saturday afternoon, September 20th.

When firefighters arrived at the site of the 3:00 p.m. fire they found the one-story wood frame structure already on the ground.

The home was owned by Wendell Ray Walker, who was the occupant.

A passerby is believed to have spotted the fire and the origin was undetermined, according to Lafayette Fire Chief Keith Scruggs. “We sent the new tanker, Engine #2 and five firefighters to the site on Dry Branch,” said Scruggs, “and fireman Steve Dellaquila was in charge of the scene.”

Tri County Electric was called because of active power lines.The Lafayette Fire Department reported returning to the station at 5:30 p.m.

 First Responders were the Macon County Sheriffs Office, Lafayette Fire Department, Macon County EMS, and the Macon County Chronicle. 

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