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Beloved Farmer and Friend, The Late Charles Church Honored at 58th Annual Farm-City Banquet Nov. 7

by Madison V. Fisler

Nov. 7, 2013. Beloved farmer and friend, the late Charles Church, will be honored with the Tuckwiller Award for Community Development at the 58th annual Farm City Banquet held on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Boone United Methodist Church. 

fcThe banquet, which will be held promptly at 6 p.m., will feature a supper made up of various local foods for guests to enjoy before the rest of the scheduled events. The theme of this year’s event is “A Heritage of Innovation.”

After the local-food supper, there will be an awards ceremony where various awards will be given out to people who were nominated by the public for having a positive impact on the community, youth and agriculture in the area. The purpose of the awards is to recognize individuals for their contributions to our community and agriculture in Watauga County, according to the Cooperative Extension.

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the 2013 Tuckwiller Award for Community Development will be presented in honor of Charles Church. 

“We are breaking the tradition of surprise and letting people know beforehand so as many people as possible can come and honor someone who truly exemplified the spirit of Farm City,” said Chamber president Dan Meyer. “Charles was a farmer and a businessman who understood the interdependency of farm and city.” 

From a press release:

Charles was a major catalyst in developing and growing the local organic farming community and the formation of a local food network. Both of these new thriving communities would be far less developed but for Charles’ vision and energy. The inscription on the award reads: The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is honored to present the 2013 L.E. Tuckwiller Award in honor of Charles Church, a champion of change and innovation, a selfless mentor to the notice and experienced, who valued cooperation above competition, was a dedicated advocate of the farming life, incurably optimistic, kind and generous. 

Charles Church, a well known and well loved farmer in Valle Crucis, passed away in April at the age of 67. 

“I always attribute so much of what I know to the time I spent with him, the time he so selflessly gave to me and to the rest of the farming community,” Amy Fiedler of Springhouse Farms said of Church in April. 

Church was crucial in the formation of New River Organic Growers and was one of the first farmers in Watauga County to receive organic certification.

“Not only was he an outstanding farmer, he was a true innovator and the theme for this year is heritage of innovation,” said Jim Hamilton, county extension director.

“Charles was known throughout the region as being an innovator in agriculture, he was the first to try large scale broccoli farming. The best thing about Charles was that he would talk to anyone who was willing to listen. He served as a mentor to lost of young farmers. It takes a lot for someone to step up and try something new and take that risk as any kind of agriculture is risky.”

This is the first time that this award has been awarded posthumously. 

“This award is usually given to a business or organization, but he deserves it because of his huge impact on local agriculture,” Hamilton said. 

“This banquet provides a formal recognition and acknowledgement of unsung heros in the community.” 

At 6:30 p.m., awards will be given out to worthy recipients for the following additional categories:

  • Friend of Agriculture
  • Woman in Agriculture
  • Youth in Agriculture
  • Agri-Tourism Award
  • Community Volunteer Award
  • Charles Church Farm and Food Steward Award
  • Agriculture in Arts Award
  • Spirit of Farm City Award

Tickets for this event are no longer being sold 

When you come, please bring a canned food item to be donated to a local food bank. 

For more information about this event, click here