Waters Farm: A Vision
By Allison Fox

Putnam County has a new and thriving organic food source! Randy and Nathan Dodson, a visionary father-son team, are working to evolve the areaâ€TMs local food economy with their 75-acre farm in Baxter, Tennessee. Waters Farm, once the site of Tennessee Tech Universityâ€TMs agricultural research, is now a community-focused family business. This growing farm prides itself on harvesting fresh, organic produce from its rich soil. The Dodsons aspire to share their food as well as their knowledge, in hopes of promoting sustainable farming and living.

Nathan is a history- graduate-turned- farm- manager, and Randy is currently the organic research farm manager at TTUâ€TMs Nursery Research and Service Center. The two are enthusiastic about the future of Waters Farm, and there isnâ€TMt much they arenâ€TMt interested in growing! The farm has produced everything from broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and sweet potatoes to various salad greens and shiitake mushrooms. Their happy pastured hens produce organic eggs, and last fall the farm achieved its first sorghum production.

Specializing in season extension, Waters Farm provided customers with winter strawberries during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons last year. They also plan to extend the season of winter greens, offering them into the warmer summer months. Using high and low-tunnel greenhouses, they are working to increase the availability of a variety of crops year -round.

In addition to offering organic produce, Waters Farm plans to host a series of hands-on workshops. They want to share techniques such as composting, season extension, alternative energy, and pastured poultry. Gary Waters, who owns the farm and has given the Dodsons a lifelong lease of the land, envisioned it as a teaching farm. According to Randy, “We want to continue the vision of being a teaching farm by helping growers and gardeners learn more about organic and sustainable farming methods. We want to inform the community about the benefits of supporting local growers and eating locally grown foods, and promote the idea of the family farm as one of the foundational supports to a strong and secure community.,”

Waters Farm produce will be available beginning in April at the Cookeville Farmersâ€TM Market. The farm offers four 12 week CSA memberships during the year; the next one begins in April. The CSA boxes can be picked up at the Cookeville Farmersâ€TM Market. Keep up with happenings at the farm via their Facebook page at -www.facebook.com/TheWatersFar