Welcome to the summer edition of Local Table Magazine!

Spring seemed such a long time coming, but summer has taken no time at all to show her face! The April and May rains have caused an explosion in the garden, and the first tomatoes will soon appear on the vine.

Just like the move from spring into summer, our Middle Tennessee food scene has dramatically changed over the past five years. Chefs are moving to Nashville to be a part of one of the countryâ€TMs most vibrant food communities in the country. Young and second-career farmers are moving here to have their own little piece of “paradise” in the Tennessee countryside. On a recent trip out of town, I was surprised to see how the prevailing attitude had changed about Nashville. Everyone I met wanted to know about the restaurants, music scene, and surrounding countryside.

Itâ€TMs great to realize how far our community has grown when it comes to its awareness of healthy, local food and the artisan food producers who create such delectable products. Letâ€TMs not forget, though, that there is still a long way to go to make sure everyone in our community has access to fresh fruit produce and healthy meat and dairy products. There are several new farmersâ€TM markets this season expanding into formerly underserved neighborhoods, and thatâ€TMs a great step to fortifying our local food system.

In addition to new farmers, chefs, and food artisans, many wonderful non-profits have also stepped up to the plate to help in creating a sustainable food system in our area. Many of them will also be at the farmersâ€TM markets, and itâ€TMs worth your time to discover where you may be able to help energize and strengthen our community.

In the news briefs section this issue, we look at three non-profits who are helping to make a difference: the Tennessee Literary Coalition, Henry Horton State Parkâ€TMs community garden, and the Tennessee Organic Growers Association. Our local hero this issue is chef Martha Stamps—she not only is an inventive and wonderful chef, but she also works hard to educate the community with her weekly series “At the Table.”

Make a difference in your neighborhood and have a great summer!