Kinston, NC Ag Director Wins Pinnacle Award

By Kevin Litwin on October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm EST
Tammy Kelly in Kinston, NC

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto

All hail, Tammy Kelly.

The director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Lenoir County Center is also the 2011 winner of the Pinnacle of Achievement, an award presented by the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce. The annual award recognizes a top woman business professional in the community.

“When I got the email telling me I was chosen, I said, 'What? Why me?'” Kelly says. “It was very nice to be recognized.”

Among the many reasons why Kelly was honored was her role in helping to revitalize the Lenoir County Farmer's Market. The market has been around since 1979 but had reached a level of disinterest in recent times, so in 2010 Kelly formed an advisory board of farmers and community members to plan ways to make the market vital again.

“The market is right across the street from Chef & the Farmer, the farm-to-fork restaurant whose owner Ben Knight was on the advisory board,” Kelly says. “Ben really encouraged vendors to return to the market once again, and things began to snowball from there.”

900 Visitors

Today, Lenoir County Farmer's Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday, with 18-20 vendors in attendance.

“We counted 900 people visiting the market one Saturday in June 2011, compared to a typical attendance of 75 or so during the slower years,” Kelly says. “We also have a full-time market manager now on site – Pat Jenkins – who takes care of any issues that pop up.”

Meanwhile, Kelly wants to point out that the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension is also involved with a Lenoir County Children's Garden, which is managed by Coop Extension horticulturalist Peg Dodwin along with a community group called Master Gardeners. Children plant and harvest on a small plot of county-owned land on East Lincoln Street in Kinston as part of an agricultural learning experience.

“As for myself, I'm still involved in a lot of activities, many of which are connected to Lenoir County agriculture,” Kelly says. “Agriculture accounts for 26 percent of the Lenoir County economy, so it's a big part of what this community is all about.”

Learn more on the Kinston, NC area agriculture.

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