01Oct2022
COVID-19 Big Hearts Policy Update Calling All Climate Champions To Apply
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Contacts

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Info@CommunitiesU.org

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FY2021

PPP Loans

PPP Loans

Some groups were overlooked when the CARES Act was first passed. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, followed and included additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Changes were made to guidelines to impact those with the greatest need. Then the PPP Extension Act of 2021 was passed, extending the deadline of the Paycheck Protection Program, or until funding was no longer available. Communities Unlimited (CU) made 290 PPP loans totaling over $4 million to childcare centers, water and sewer systems, small-scale farmers and small businesses in nine states.

Moma Keta’s Childcare is in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Makethia was determined to keep Moma Keta’s doors open. Makethia decided that the struggling parents that counted on her for childcare and the four employees that depended on her for a paycheck were more important. She chose not to take a salary, so she could pay her employees and keep the doors open. Communities Unlimited started reaching out to the Arkansas Childhood Association to help daycare owners in Arkansas. Makethia received $7,040 in a forgivable loan under the PPP program.

Cherry Tree Rural Water District (RWD) in Stilwell, Oklahoma, saw an approximately 40% reduction in revenues because of COVID-19. The revenue loss was primarily because of the early closing of schools in the middle of March 2020 and the loss of jobs, with 90% of the households served are members of the Cherokee Nation and the system already in a persistent poverty county. Cherry Tree RWD is working with limited staff, one full-time office clerk, and one full-time water operator. The office clerk has had regular video conferences with CU staff to determine the best course of action in unprecedented times. Cherry Tree RWD district learned from CU that they were eligible for the PPP Loan and applied and received $30,730 to aid them in continuing to provide safe, clean drinking water to their customers.

Calvin Head is the Director of Mileston Cooperative, a Black-owned farm cooperative in Tchula, Mississippi. An entity had advertised the PPP loan to the cooperative. They required the farmers, most of whom do not have computers or broadband, to upload their documents to a portal. There was no one to assist them and answer their questions. The farmers became frustrated and said, “forget about it.” CU stepped in and offered an alternative, a person rather than a portal. Someone to answer questions and assist in preparing documents.

Allison Bruning and her husband Delfin Espinosa started Academic Warriors, an online private school for children with learning disabilities and/or who are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD. Allison and Delfin had applied when the first and second rounds of PPP loans opened but were told they didn’t meet the requirements. Academic Warriors has experienced many difficulties since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They ended up having to let all of their teachers go. A representative from US Small Business Administration (SBA) emailed Allison letting her know that because of the changes to guidelines, Academic Warriors may now qualify for a PPP loan and gave Amanda the contact information for Communities Unlimited. She applied and was approved. The funds allowed Academic Warriors to pay teachers, replace equipment and help cover operating expenses.

FY2021

Sewer Service For All of Magnolia

The City of Magnolia, Mississippi, wanted to extend city sewer service to all its residents but did not have the financial resources to do so without outside funding. The homes in the area of North Street had always used septic systems. The septic systems were failing, and some residents had pipes that went directly into ditches. Residents were afraid their children would get sick from the raw sewage if they played in the yard. Magnolia needed a long-term solution.

They asked Communities Unlimited to assess the unserved area and determine what would be needed to connect all 30 homes in the area of North Street to city sewer. Communities Unlimited assessment assisted engineers in developing the most effective option for the Magnolia. It also aided the city in receiving the funding needed to cover the cost of connecting every home to city sewer.

Communities Unlimited’s part in the project was made possible by the Rural Community Development (RCD) program. RCD serves small communities in rural areas mainly comprised of low-income residents who do not have access to safe, clean water and sanitary wastewater disposal and often do not have indoor plumbing. The RCD program is one of six programs within the Office of Community Services (OCS) located within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) part of the US Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS).

FY2021

New Office, More Opportunities

Communities Unlimited believes one of the most effective ways to accomplish our mission is with partners. The Amarillo Area Foundation began asking community organizations what their community needed to thrive. Puff Niegos, local Philanthropist, Linda Crank, a vice president of Happy State Bank, and Clay Stribling, President and CEO, of the Amarillo Area Foundation, were instrumental in bringing Communities Unlimited to the area.

The Amarillo Area Foundation chose to invite Communities Unlimited to open our first office to offer all of our services to Amarillo and the 26 rural counties in the Texas Panhandle. Happy State Bank offered office space they had vacated because they built a full-service bank across the street. Linda compares Communities Unlimited to a drop of water in a pond that ripples outward. CU held a ribbon cutting with the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, inviting clients, area organizations and banks. Cocina On The Go catered the event, owned and operated by Anna Lisa Ramos, one of Communities Unlimited’s first small business clients in Amarillo. The six banks including Happy State Bank, that make up the Amarillo Area Foundation Panhandle Financial Collaborative (PFC) were part of a panel on obtaining capital for small businesses.

We have since announced our partnership with the T.L.L. Temple Foundation Rural Opportunity Catalyst for East Texas Initiative (ROC-ET). The foundation recognized that many people in East Texas could not access life-changing economic opportunities. The rural people in East Texas needed access to a CDFI and small business consulting services. They chose Communities Unlimited and a PeopleFund to fill the gap.

One of Communities Unlimited’s first partnerships was the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. (RCAP). We continue to add new partnerships every year including the Partners for Rural Transformation (PRT) and many others extending our services beyond our seven-state service to be part of building healthy communities, healthy businesses and healthy families.

FY2021

Sowing The Seeds

The CARES Act initially overlooked small-scale minority farmers. When the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan was announced, the guidelines were changed to impact those with the greatest need. Communities Unlimited called small-scale farmers in the Delta and offered assistance.

Calvin Head is the Director of Mileston Cooperative, a Black-owned farm cooperative in Tchula, MS. An entity had advertised the PPP loan to the cooperative. They required the farmers, most of whom do not have computers or broadband, to upload their documents to a portal. There was no one to assist them and answer their questions. The farmers became frustrated and said, “forget about it.” CU stepped in and offered an alternative a person rather than a portal. Someone to answer questions and assist in preparing documents.

Debra Lockard never even considered applying for a PPP loan because she didn’t think she knew how and wouldn’t be able to do it. CU told her not to worry. Someone would be with her every step of the way.

15 small-scale farmers in the Mississippi River Delta received PPP loans from Communities Unlimited. It may not be a big number, but the funds those farmers received meant they got to keep their land. They were able to get to plant and grow another season. They have the opportunity because of the funding to fill the gaps in a food system that has depended on transporting produce thousands of miles across the country or from other countries. It means creating jobs in communities where jobs were scarce before many businesses closed.

FY2021

Water Down The Road In The Texas Panhandle

Shamrock is a city in Wheeler County, Texas. The city is located in the eastern portion of the Texas Panhandle along Interstate 40 and U.S. Route 83. The name Shamrock was suggested by Irish immigrant sheep rancher George Nickel when he applied in 1890 to open a post office at his home. He suggested the name, Shamrock for good luck and fortune. The city became official in 1903 when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway arrived and officially named the town Shamrock. 

In August 2020, Shamrock’s Mayor Lynn Ramsey and City Secretary Annette Walden reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA, RD) about a rate study. They wondered if they could qualify for a grant to assist the city in updating their water system. Clyde Jenkins from USDA, RD, referred them to Communities Unlimited Community Environmental Management Specialist Kurt Grant.  

Kurt visited Shamrock in September of 2020, provided an overview of CU, and explained how CU could assist with loan/grants and rate studies. The City of Shamrock is looking to update the city’s water system with assistance from USDA, RD. Kurt worked with USDA, RD, and the city to start working on the project. 

Communities Unlimited has provided a rate analysis and assisted Shamrock in increasing their rates to repay loans received through USDA, RD. Shamrock will be able to adjust its rates to allow accurate billing. They are working to extend service to a new business located on the city’s outskirts. CUs and USDA, RDs assistance has provided the resources for the city to replace two ground storage tanks and the north transmission line of the new elevated storage tank. 

Communities Unlimited continues to work with the city of Shamrock as they continue working on completing their infrastructure upgrades. 

FY2021

Building The Future

Waldron is a city in Scott County, Arkansas, located near the Oklahoma border and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The City of Waldron, Arkansas, was selected to participate in the Community Sustainability Program with Communities Unlimited.  

In the spring of 2020, CU held training for Waldron community leadership called WealthWorks. WealthWorks is a framework for doing economic development differently and is recognized around the country for a process that focuses on community assets, not deficiencies. After completing the training, the community facilitator had each team identify local assets. 

Through these processes, CU assisted Waldron in identifying the opportunities where they had the most challenges. They came up with three areas of focus, Business Compassion, Community Center and Housing. With CU’s guidance, Waldron developed a plan for the three areas.  

  1.  Business Compassion – They will work with the Chamber of Commerce on capacity development to make entrepreneurs and small business owners a high priority. The team identified several projects that, when implemented, will facilitate training for knowledge and skill-building, workforce development, networking and expansion of new business in the community.  
  2.  Community Center – Although Waldron already has a Boys and Girls Club, they want to explore the development of a Waldron Community Center. A community center would provide a wide variety of services. It could be structured to offer after-school, summer childcare, serve seniors, a food bank, adult learning services and much more.  
  3. Housing – Housing has been a recurring theme with the Waldron Community Leadership Team. Issues such as affordable housing, abandoned housing, low real estate inventory and low new build inventory have been discussed.  

The team agreed that they would like to address some aspects of these challenges with housing. A way to address housing was identified within the Waldron School District. Based on the Superintendent of Waldron Schools’ suggestions, the team envisioned a project that would address many of their housing issues. The program created incorporates skilled trades, workforce development, affordable housing development, youth leadership development, real estate inventory and rehabilitating abandoned housing. 

A great deal of important work has already been completed in Waldron. The progress made is a strong foundation for the local leadership team to build economic and community development in Waldron. The team is implementing strategies to identify solutions for other opportunities. The team will likely revisit early community discussions and bring additional community members into the process. As the work continues in Waldron, CU will focus on connecting working groups to resources. CU will continue to support them in accomplishing their goals to build sustainable programs that promote sustainable impact in the community. 

FY2021

Side-By-Side

The Indian Creek Youth Camp is located on the banks of Center Hill Lake, not far from Liberty, Tennessee. The Caney River feeds the lake. It is a popular recreational area in central Tennessee.  

Indian Creek can accommodate up to 350 people, and in the surrounding hills are permanent residences and vacation homes. Unlike similar locations, the camp does not close for the winter. The cabins are rented to vacationers and for retreats during the winter. The camp and surrounding area are large enough to have their own water system, which services the nearby residences. The camp is a surface water system that requires full treatment of the water it pulls from the Caney River.  

Herb White ran the system for more than 20 years. Herb’s duties were not limited to just the water system. He managed and performed maintenance all over the camp, so his time with the water system was often limited. 

The documentation for the water system became outdated along with the aging infrastructure. The Tennessee Department of Environment Commission (TDEC) regulates the system. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were written on a whiteboard. The system must sample its water, but those samples were not regularly taken. There was no set sampling schedule. Source water assessments weren’t performed. The water operator usually only visited the office once a month to complete paperwork and perform bacteriological sampling to monitor for the presence of coliform bacteria and pathogenic bacteria. The system fell out of compliance with state and federal regulations.  

In 2020, Herb decided he was ready to retire. He began working with his replacement, Ben Copely. Herb mentored Ben to take over all of his responsibilities, a place been has known since his childhood.  

“I came here as a camper years ago when I was a kid,” Ben said. “As a teen, I started working here with Herb White. I did maintenance one year, and one year I worked with the horses.”  

Before Herb called him about the job, Ben had moved across the country, from Florida to Idaho. By that time, Ben had a diverse background in construction and maintenance, so he was the top choice to replace Herb. Ben would need to become a certified water operator to take over all of Herb’s responsibilities.  

As the transition began, the water system received a state order. The system was out of compliance because of a lack of proper testing and documentation. The state order noted that the system was not sampling regularly. It was not performing tasks related to the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR) and Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR).  

Indian Creek was referred to Communities Unlimited for assistance in regaining compliance. Ben said he was skeptical that such an organization could provide so much for no cost to the water system. 

“I didn’t believe it was true that someone could help decipher everything,” he said. He checked with other nearby systems that had worked with CU and heard high praise from each one. Reassured, he was ready to meet with Annie.   

Annie Chiodo, Tennesse State Coordinator, took on the project. While discussing the issues with Herb White, Annie learned that Ben needed assistance in obtaining his water operator certification. 

“I took the test the first time and failed it,” Ben explained. “So I started again with her. Annie was very supportive, and she’d ask me questions and answered questions when I had them.” 

Annie began tutoring Ben and offered basic training to prepare him for his water operator certification class. Once he completed the required water operator course, Ben planned to retake the certification exam in May of 2020.  

Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the exam. The exam is only offered twice a year, so his next opportunity to take the exam would not be until November 2020.  

“It was really disheartening to have that taken away,” Ben said. Annie worked with Ben to keep his knowledge fresh and prepared for the next exam. Ben said he continued to study hard, even spending most of a family vacation studying. Ben knew the stakes. 

“It’s super important that I pass the test and that I deal with the state and not forget anything or mess up something that could cost us,” Ben said. “If I make a mistake, it could cost us.”  

The exam was held in November as scheduled, and Ben could take the test. He informed Annie that he had passed and was now a certified water operator. The certification paved the way for him to take over the water system and Herb to retire in 2021. 

After management and patience of Indian Creek fully transitioned to Ben, there was still a lot of work to get the water system back into compliance.  

One of the issues to be addressed was monitoring the water source. When Annie requested the plan from Indian Creek, she received a single page with the sample plan, maps of the system and collection points. 

The system lacked a cross-connection control plan and a Watershed or Source Water Protection Plan to outline how to alleviate existing and future threats to the water supply.  

As COVID-19 swept the country, Annie provided personal protection equipment (PPE) to the camp’s personnel through the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). 

“Annie made sure we had PPE,” Ben said. “She got us some masks when no one else had them.” 

Herb officially retired on January 1, 2021, and Ben became the official certified water operator for Indian Creek Youth Camp.  

Annie worked with Ben to develop a Corrective Action Plan to satisfy the state regulators. Annie guided him in creating a Cross-Connection Control Plan, a Sampling Plan, a Watershed or Source Water Protection Plan, Monthly Operational Report (MOR) and approval from TDEC. The system prepared proper documentation of SOPs. The previous instructions for the water system did not address all of the system’s needs.  

Ben praised the assistance Indian Creek has received from Annie and Communities Unlimited.  

“What I love about Annie is she’s always there to encourage you and keep you on track,” he said. “For me, it’s fantastic to have Annie looking over my shoulder and Communities Unlimited. My biggest fear is that Annie retires.”  

Annie continues to mentor Ben as he navigates issues that arise with the system and assist in finding solutions that fit the needs of the camp.  

FY2021

Breaking The Cycle

Doshon and Latisha Johnson decided early on that being from the wrong side of the tracks would not stop them from fulfilling their dreams and helping others in the process. They were both born into generational poverty, and both had the drive needed to make things better for themselves and the north side of Amarillo, Texas.  

The Johnson’s grew up on the city’s north side, and both still have family and friends there. It was important to them to reinvest in their community where they still have strong ties. There are only a few Black-owned businesses in Amarillo. 

The Johnson’s wanted to build affordable housing so they started a nonprofit. They tried to bring other investors and business owners together to make their dream a reality. They had a commitment from the mayor, the city manager, and the president of Amarillo Community Development, but the money just wasn’t there. Then COVID-19 hit, and the project didn’t take shape. When plans fell through, one of the business partners told Doshon that he needed to build the dream, one piece at a time. The Johnson’s had the pieces together for the project. Still, the business partner explained that the Johnson’s had the capacity within themselves to get things done. 

They had the power needed to be the builder and develop the next plan. They may have good resources, but if they didn’t have the drive and a plan, then there could be issues. Doshon started thinking, only he and Latisha could decide what was next for them. The Johnson’s decided to take a step back and gain momentum. They decided to break it down and figure out how to create more revenue to grow and mold themselves into a business. They wanted to keep themselves going so that he would not lose the momentum of becoming a developer someday. The couple took the advice and decided to start small to see where their ambition and drive could take them. They bought a dump truck, and things took off for them. At this point, they decided to start their own business and create opportunities to change lives by providing a way for others out of generational poverty. This time, the Johnson’s did it without a business partner. What better way to prove that they could do it, than show that they could do it on their own. 

Doshon shares that deciding to make that change came easy. Still, establishing Urban Heights Investments, LLC., was a challenge and much harder than they anticipated.. The business currently transports construction materials via a bright yellow dump truck. He and Latisha purchased the dump truck on their own and then started reaching out to banks for a small business loan. After going from bank to bank, they decided to reach out to Communities Unlimited. Doshon explains that CU understood him as an individual and provided him and his wife the opportunity to grow themselves, whereas other banks just said no. “CU not only provided the funding for the business but also taught us the knowledge that goes along with owning a company. They taught us how to put a business model together and how to make sure our books are in order.” Doshon shared what he said in a conversation with CU’s, Entrepreneurship Management Consultant, Katy Parrish, “Everything that CU provided, we would have otherwise gone without, in a traditional loan.” 

Doshon said that he and Latisha can now give back to their community by teaching them how to add value to their lives. Doshon shared that many people in Amarillo’s north side look to the Johnson’s to be a success for the community. He wants Urban Heights, LLC., to be that success. Doshon says that everything requires a team at home. Anything significant that anyone sees in him is the added value of having Latisha and the rest of the people who genuinely support him in his corner. Doshon said that he is the face of the company, but Latisha runs the office. They are a team. 

The Johnsons are learning a lot during their journey. They want their friends and family to understand that no matter where you came from or where you start, it does not have to be where you end up. You have to work and put up a fight. Although the journey is not always easy, Doshon and Latisha have a vision for Urban Heights, LLC. They want to leave a legacy to their children and show them how to be present and accountable, create success, and how hard work and dedication can pay off in the long run. They want to grow Urban Heights, LLC into a strong brand that shows their community that things can improve no matter how bad your circumstances. 

Urban Heights, LLC has been in business for a year now. Doshon and Latisha are excited about where they came from and what is ahead for them and their business and look forward to being a catalyst for their community as they continue to grow. They recently received a small business loan from Communities Unlimited funded by a grant from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. The Johnson’s are purchasing a second truck to expand their business and create more opportunities in Amarillo.

FY2021

A Sign of Hope

When Amanda and Melvin Khanga decided to attend an event with family and friends to honor Veteran’s Day, she had no idea just how much the event would change their lives. 

Amanda said she has always believed things happen for a reason. On Veteran’s Day 2020, Amanda discovered a new goal for her and her husband. She wandered around the event, looking at all the flags and listening to all the speeches. Something and someone caught her eye. She watched as a gentleman set up a display booth for Card My Yard, Northwest Arkansas. Amanda was familiar with the idea where individuals hire a company that puts sign displays in people’s yards and in front of businesses for a day to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, weddings and other milestones. She was intrigued and decided to talk to the man. The man explained that he was setting it up for his wife, who owns the business. They spoke, and the man told Amanda that his wife was trying to sell off part of the area she served.  

The COVID-19 pandemic boosted the popularity of the business, and the orders had increased. The man’s wife was extremely busy running the business. Her territory consisted of a large portion of Northwest Arkansas, from Fayetteville to Bella Vista, to the Oklahoma state line. Since the business was doing so well, his wife wanted to expand. So, she was trying to sell off part of her service area.  

Amanda’s mind started racing. Firecrackers went off inside her head. She called her husband, Melvin, over to listen to the story. As they left the display and enjoyed the rest of the day with family, Amanda could not get Card My Yard out of her head. She thought this might be something for her and Melvin to explore. 

Amanda and Melvin both have good jobs, but they don’t have money saved for the future. Amanda is known for getting ideas in her head and running them by Melvin. He always supported her from the side, but this was different. This time Melvin was equally on-board. They decided to go to lunch and talk about the idea of becoming business owners. Amanda and Melvin prayed about this opportunity, and a week later, they shared the news with family. Amanda got in touch with the Card My Yard’s owner, and pieces started falling into place. 

Amanda and Melvin started the small business loan process by going to their local bank. Amanda was optimistic about the financing portion. They planned to use their house as collateral, but they ran into a snag. The couple had not owned their home long enough, and there was not enough equity in it. They needed more money than the bank was willing to loan them. However, someone who worked at the bank had assisted customers who had worked with Communities Unlimited in the past. The bank recommended that Amanda and Melvin reach out to CU. They called Communities Unlimited and started visiting with Loan Officer Debra Williams. After beginning the paperwork with CU, Amanda and Melvin began training with Card My Yard.  

In December 2020, just a few weeks after attending the Veteran’s Day event, Amanda and Melvin were deep in the loan process with Communities Unlimited. They interviewed with Card My Yard and signed the franchise disclosure paperwork at the end of January 2021. 

Amanda shared that she and Melvin were so grateful that Communities Unlimited was there, and she is glad that they did not go with a traditional bank. Amanda said working with CU was easy, and the lending team was excellent. “They were all caps, bright colors, friendly, and offered reassurance and plenty of guidance along the way,” Amanda said, “They asked questions that made me think. They gave us a realistic viewpoint and guided us with making a plan during the whole process.”  

Communities Unlimited was able to offer the loan to the Khanga’s in part because of support from the Walton Family Foundation to create a revolving loan fund specifically for the underserved entrepreneurs we serve in Northwest Arkansas.

Amanda said that the big picture that she had in mind didn’t work out the way she expected. There were a lot of steps to tackle, including creating the LLC, getting insurance, gathering all of the paperwork, making phone calls, all while working full time. Amanda and Melvin got in mid-March 2021. 

They have already made so many clients happy. Amanda is so excited about what the future holds for their small business. Her belief that everything happens for a reason has already come full circle. Amanda shared one of her clients is a repeat customer, and clients are starting to refer her to their friends, family and colleagues. 

Amanda enjoys interacting with the clients and focusing on all the details of their stories. Amanda and Melvin are grateful for the loan they received from Communities Unlimited. They have already changed so many lives in a short time, including building wealth for their future. 

FY2021

NWTN Local Food Network – Serving As A Catalyst

Samantha Goyret was introduced to the natural food world at a very young age. As a child, Samantha’s family had a garden, and she enjoyed tasting all the veggies (mainly green beans) that she could find. As she grew older, she realized that her passion wasn’t just to snack from the family’s garden. It was much more. Her love for locally grown food became her lifestyle. 

Before moving to Tennessee, Samantha coordinated various food insecurity projects with the United Way throughout Upstate New York. She currently serves on the Tennessee Environmental Council Board of Directors. Samantha volunteers for an after-school program that teaches children how to grow, harvest and prepare food. She enjoys teaching the children how to cook and share with their family and friends. 

In 2013, after she moved to Northwest Tennessee, she started venturing out to local farmer’s markets. She soon discovered there were not as many local farmers in the area and no local food system. Samantha and a friend worked together with the City of Martin to create a local food guide. They were able to talk to a few farmers and discovered the need for small-scale farmers. 

In 2018, Samantha received her non-profit status and applied for a farm-to-school farming grant. Samantha got involved with a panel discussion to connect local farmers and their products with schools. Communities Unlimited Healthy Foods Coordinator Brenda Williams was part of this panel. Samantha and Brenda discovered that they shared the same passion. 

Brenda and Samantha worked together and discussed ideas. The day that everyone had planned to get together for a panel discussion just happened to be the day that COVID-19 shut down schools and in-person meetings. The meetings moved online. Although plans changed, the virtual meeting had good attendance and great discussions. Brenda led the group, and they brainstormed about solving fundamental issues and getting local food into schools and restaurants. 

Once Samantha started working with Brenda, Brenda told her that Communities Unlimited was a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lender. CU was able to provide some financial relief from the effects of COVID-19. Samantha is so excited about all the connections she has gained just by getting involved with CU. 

Samantha’s stubbornness and determination led her down the path to start her non-profit, the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network (NWTNLFN). Whose mission is to bring about a thriving and equitable local food system accessible to all. 

The NWTNLFN is a small organization with a big heart and has three tiers of programming, which includes: 

  • Educating the farmer 
  • Educating the public 
  • Educating in between farm and school (K-12) 

Samantha wants every kid to have the opportunity to learn where food comes from and educate them about all the work that goes into farming. As they develop taste at a young age, she wants children to know the difference between a tomato from California compared to a tomato that was grown in their backyard. 

Samantha understands that not every child will grow up to be a farmer. Still, if they are given the knowledge and resources at a young age, maybe just one person can make an impact. 

Samantha loves what she does and hopes through the spread of education, more and more people will eat well and eat local. She wants to continue her journey for the long haul.