By Vivian Shipe
KNOXVILLE, TN — To get to Pastor Chris Battles church, Tabernacle Baptist, you have to drive by multiple check cashing sites, liquor stores, and small markets that sell beer and
cigarettes. The one place you will not pass is a grocery store selling fresh vegetables. In fact, there is no opportunity to buy fresh veggies within over 2 miles of his church building. Those with no transportation to get to grocery stores are forced to eat what is available around them.
Battle calls it a food apartheid. “People are dying by what they are eating. People eat what is available and your zip code should not determine whether you have good food” Battle said. Last summer he started a small community garden behind his church. That garden fed over 1000 people and included a gleaning fence for the poor. Fast forward to this coming planting season and he has new soldiers in the field. He asked for Pastors with properties to join him in planting . The
Pastors of Bethel AME Zion, Logan Temple, Payne Avenue, 7th Day Adventist, and First AME Zion have stepped up and have joined in to defeat the communities biggest enemy: lack of good nutritious fresh food.
They are making headway. So much so, they are now in need of farmers, extra tools and more seeds. The next plan is to train the community on what and when to plant, how to harvest, even the art of canning.
Those wishing to help with supplies, and seeds may contact Pastor Battle at Battlefieldfarm1@gmail.com or 865-441-4377.