Independence Bank Hosts Annual Farm to Fork Dinner
originally posted in Madisonville Messenger
September 24, 2022
Independence Bank of Madisonville hosted its ever-popular Farm to Fork Dinner, at Mahr Park in Madisonville.
The dinner featured a five course meal, which was prepared using locally grown produce, raised by employees at the Independence Bank Green Acre in Mahr Park, as well as items from other local farmers.
“With your help, over the last five years, we’ve been able to raise over $48,000,” said Kent Mills Independence Bank’s Hopkins County President. “Funds raised each year help to support the FFA & 4H clubs in Hopkins County. We’re also able to award two scholarships each year in memory of Danny Peyton to students pursuing an AG degree.”
The Green Acre was established in 2015 as idea of one of our local employees that had seen a video of an NFL player planting potatoes to help feed the hungry.
“Independence Bank is one of the largest Agriculture lenders in the State of Kentucky and our group felt strongly that we could show our agriculture that we serve that we know and feel their blood, sweat and tears that they pour into their farm operations by planting, taking care and harvesting a community garden in Mahr Park. We also viewed the garden as a way to fulfill a basic need in our community and donating all of the produce to various food banks in our community, mainly the Hopkins County Christian Food Bank,” said Mills.
According to Mills, planning begins in February. The vegetables that are grown start out as seedlings at the high schools greenhouses. The students care for those until members are ready to plant in April or May.
“Our employees volunteer their time in the mornings before work and after work to tend to the garden by weeding, watering, harvesting (ie picking sweet corn) and delivering the produce to the food bank. We normally produce an acre of sweet corn and do plant beds for tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans, and this year we added flower beds that were picked and delivered to teachers, health care providers, nursing homes and local businesses just to brighten their day.”
Since Independence Bank is agriculture focused, the team members wanted an event to draw awareness, promote and show appreciation to our local farmers and youth that want to study agriculture as their profession, thus the Farm to Fork Dinner was established.
The dinner in the first year was originally going to be on Main Street in front of the old court house but with the logistics and limited time that they could close the road prohibited them from doing so.
“It was held at the Ballard Center for five years and this year we are changing it up some and it will be held outside at Mahr Park. The F2F dinner is a fundraising event for local AG youth to support Future Farmers of America and 4 H programs in Hopkins County and fund improvement programs to their greenhouses, labs and other projects.
According to Mills, nearly 200 people attended last year’s event and they are hoping for the same, if not more, that evening.