State officials from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Agriculture, along with local civic leaders, farmers and park supporters, kicked off a “Farm to Table” Pilot Program at Paris Landing State Park.
The Tennessee State Park System, which is part of TDEC, continues to look for ways to increase the amount of locally grown food served at State Parks restaurants. Procuring locally-grown food products is both environmentally sustainable and economically supportive of communities that produce the products.
“Local foods benefit the environment and wildlife. Well managed farms provide ecosystems that conserve the soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The patchwork of fields and ponds provide habitat for wildlife,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “These partnerships are a win for all, and we are beyond thrilled with how the event turned out today.”
Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Market Development partnered with Tennessee State Parks to locate, visit and evaluate farmers around Paris Landing State Park that can produce enough quantity to support the restaurant operations at a price that is economically feasible for customers.
“Our State Park system is truly a gem and an important draw for visitors. It just makes sense to enhance that experience by connecting them with local producers and processors,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “I want to thank Commissioner Martineau and his team at TDEC for leading this effort and for supporting the local agricultural economy through our Pick Tennessee Products program.”
Tennessee State Park restaurants offer southern cooking served buffet style, menu service, catering and, conference banquets. There are six resort inns and all include a food service operation, serving three meals daily. All restaurants also offer catering on-site for picnics, meetings, conferences and other special events.