On Saturday I had the chance to attend the 5th Annual Great Tomato Festival, which is a collaboration between the Cooperative Extension of Guilford County and NC A&T University. Extension master gardener volunteers plant, tend, harvest and prepare the tomatoes for the event. NC A&T provides land for growing the tomatoes and the venue for the event: the University’s farm.
The NC 10% campaign, Got to Be NC Agriulture, the 4-H Club and the Cooperative Extension all set up tables to offer resources and information. There were cooking demonstrations, garden tours, and of course, tons of tomatoes to taste (almost 40 different kinds). Everyone got to be a food critic for the day, ranking each tomato by taste, texture, and appearance. I tried varieties I had never even heard of, and they were delicious. I have always loved tomatoes, but I have never seen so many people enjoying themselves and celebrating this healthy summer fruit together. It really was an exciting and fun way to experience local food.
If your faith community is not yet connected to the cooperative extension near you, you can find out where yours is here.There are always great programs going on and so much to learn from your NC Agricultural Extension Agents. And as for the Great Tomato Tasting, I can’t wait for next year! Until then, here’s one way to get a glimpse of the event for yourself: The Great Tomato Festival.
Encouraging churches to connect with their local extension services is a great idea. It’s great to see faith communities increasingly engaging with the food movement!