published Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Signal Mountain going green


by Emily Bregel
Audio clip

Gene Baur

A town council resolution supporting local foods and sustainable farming practices has put Signal Mountain on the map for New York-based environmentalists who have been pushing for the passage of such resolutions across the country.

This fall, Signal Mountain became the first town in the nation to pass a "green foods resolution" based on language suggested by the Farm Sanctuary, an advocacy group in New York that promotes sustainable farming and animal welfare.

"I didn't realize this was a big national effort," said Dr. Paul Hendricks, the Signal Mountain town councilman who introduced the resolution. "It just sounded like the kind of concept that I thought people on our council would be supportive of."

Dr. Hendricks said he suggested the resolution after he read a story by a local columnist about the resolutions.

"I honestly hadn't heard of Farm Sanctuary before," he said.

The resolution doesn't mandate any specific action, but it marks a formal commitment to environmentally friendly ideas such as farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture, in which residents pay money to a local farm at the start of a farming season in exchange for shares of the harvest.

New York City and Chicago now have green food resolutions pending but, in October, Signal Mountain became the first town to pass one, said Gene Baur, president and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary.

The resolution's passage "speaks to the impact and ability for people in smaller towns to really step up and make something happen," he said.

Farm Sanctuary has publicized Signal Mountain's action through news releases over the past few months, leading some bloggers and reporters from across the country to contact Dr. Hendricks.

"I don't mind that at all. I was just a little surprised," he said.

The resolution fits well with other environmentally friendly efforts in Signal Mountain, Dr. Hendricks said. The city's leaders have discussed starting a farmers' market and installing community gardens in the area to give residents greater access to local produce and to support local farmers, he said.

"We're trying to do things that are truly practical and reasonable, and decreasing our impact on the world," he said. "We are trying to really set the standard for what a small town can do on an environmental level."

about Emily Bregel...

Health care reporter Emily Bregel has worked at the Chattanooga Times Free Press since July 2006. She previously covered banking and wrote for the Life section. Emily, a native of Baltimore, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University. She received a first-place award for feature writing from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ Golden Press Card Contest for a 2009 article about a boy with a congenital heart defect. She ...

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sideviews said...

Signal Mountain's spirit may be commendable, but how about local jobs, walking to work, living in smaller, more energy-efficient homes, driving energy efficient vehicles? Most people I know on Signal Mountain live in above-average-sized homes that require more heating and cooling; they drive two, three or four SUVs; and they drive off the mountain every day to work and shop. This is the town that gets a front page story about going green and a headline suggesting this town is some kind of national leader for adopting a non-binding resolution? In the town of Signal Mountain, I'm not aware of any local farming going on. I don't get it.

December 24, 2009 at 8:44 a.m.
yeoman said...

Signal Mountain has been a leader in the local food movement for years, starting back with the first area CSA farm and continuing to support the CSA model and local farms. There is in fact a great farms on signal mountain, called Signal Mountain Farm. Lets support this effort.

December 24, 2009 at 11:38 a.m.
sideviews said...

Is Signal Mountain Farm, in fact, in the city of Signal Mountain?

December 24, 2009 at 12:05 p.m.
rolando said...

Signal Hill is loaded with liberals and we all know how greenie-minded they are...for other people.

Forcing local farmers to grow WHAT they want and HOW they want it [NOT the farmers], is typical and a forecast of things to come.

December 24, 2009 at 2:12 p.m.
yeoman said...

Farming and the small family farm is one of the more conservative ideologies preached in the green movement, how dare you claim that farms are being manipulated by liberal mindedness and forced to grow what the rich want, farms struggle to sell their products. Farming is a dying profession that needs all our support, lest we turn our nutrition security over to big business and big government

December 24, 2009 at 5:37 p.m.
jacko said...

Wake up this is not New York! Where is everyone going to live in this town? Maybe we can all squeeze into "The North Shore"

January 14, 2010 at 3:11 p.m.
dl said...

Signal Mtn. needs free curbside pick-up. The amount of material NOT recycled there because people do not want to drive somewhere to recycle is sizable.

January 14, 2010 at 3:35 p.m.
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