Swing Into Spring At McDonald Farm Saturday

  • Tuesday, April 2, 2024

A future in question, a property taking up space in the minds of many - McDonald Farm has much to offer, starting with the Swing into Spring event this Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This event will not only be a good time, but it’s a place where you will have the chance to voice your opinion. What do you want to see McDonald Farm become? Members of the McDonald Farm advisory group will be there to take suggestions for the property moving forward. If you’re looking to help create a future for the property, the group will be there for further instructions on how you can make a difference. Your input is needed to create a thriving environment for residents and non-residents alike.

Here are a few of the popular ideas that have been circulated regarding the property's future:

1. A “Farm to Table” restaurant located along Highway 27. This would see a large portion of the property kept for agricultural use. It would highlight the growing need for agriculture in the state of Tennessee, providing jobs in the food and farm industries. All while bringing delicacies to the dinner table. This leads me to idea #2.

2. Agricultural Opportunities. Education in the farming industry is a growing concern our nation faces. With development now reaching an all-time high, our farmable acres are on a swift decline. This causes smaller crop yields and price hikes at the grocery store. Knowing how to maximize a yearly yield on smaller parcels can only be done through higher education. Using McDonald Farm to help ring in a new era of efficient farming.

3. Hiking is a popular activity among Tennessee residents and a leading factor in many out of state visits to the Volunteer State. Having a well-thought-out trail system for everyone to enjoy seems to be a crucial step forward for McDonald Farm. Trails for biking, hiking and equestrian strolls, featuring historic plaques, wildlife and native plant ecosystems for educational purposes. Inclusion into the Cumberland Trail systems could lead to a one-of-a-kind experience.

4. A Hamilton Heritage Center. Turning the historic home into a heritage center, with exhibits that tell the stories of the original settlers of East Tennessee, the Cherokee. Then watch as time progresses through the lens of De Soto, the first Europeans, Evan Shelby and Chief Dragging Canoe, Ulysses S. Grant, and then peeking into the reconstruction era as the industrial revolution hits East Tennessee.

5. Old McDonald Farm Honey, with a relatively small start up cost, beekeeping would be profitable to Hamilton County in more than just economic ways. It would build up the diminishing pollinator population. Give back to the community through educational classes and volunteer hours, while producing a wildly popular concoction of Tennessee River Valley Honey.

6. Drive-in movie theater. A very affordable, very safe, very profitable idea that would need little to no development, with little to no cost. Drive-in movies have long been romanticized by modern society as a simple yet fulfilling social event. Now add a food truck and some good company, that’s a time to be had.

Stop by and say hi this Saturday to enjoy live music, great food and seasonal festivities. Bring your kids for a memorable egg hunt, face paintings, and interactions with the barnyard locals. Remember to speak to the McDonald Farm advisory group, your voice matters.

Mason Montague Eslinger 

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