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A visit with Christopher Battle of BattleField Farm & Gardens

1. What is BattleField Farm & Gardens?

In short, it is an urban farm collective of community gardens fighting food insecurity in East Knoxville.

2. Can you describe BattleField Farm and the work that is done?

With the nearest grocery store located 2.6 miles away from a majority of East Knoxville residents, I along with a team of community leaders wanted to provide healthier food choices to the community through gardening, education, and the creation of the Eastside Sunday Market. Our goal is to teach people how to grow their own food, how to cook farm fresh foods for better health and wellness, and how to grow community through community gardening. The BattleFiled Farms and Gardens motto is “Fighting Food Disparity, Building Community”. And it is working, we’ve been creating community and fighting food disparity through our work at BattleField Farm & Gardens and Eastside Sunday Market.

3. Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you created BattleField Farm & Gardens:

I am a former Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Knoxville. I’ve been a pastor for more than 30 years. I love the church – I always have. My passion has always been introducing people that are far from God to his Kingdom on earth. In 2019, I had to face the reality that the way we have always “done” church is becoming a less and less effective way to do that. Research shows that only 20% of the people in Knox County attend church regularly – and for the purposes of this research, “regularly” was defined as once a month. That means fewer and fewer people are coming to church, no matter how good we do it. Something has got to change. That’s why we created the Knoxville Underground. The Underground is the church reimagined. It is a community of Christ followers actively cultivating shalom wherever we are. We are committed to inspiring, equipping, and mobilizing Christ followers to be the missionaries that God uniquely created them to be. Rather than being known for our building or our worship gatherings, we want to be known for our impact, demonstrated in changed lives and transformed neighborhoods. 

A large part of improving our neighborhood is BattleFiled Farm and Gardens and the East Side Sunday Market that a group of East Knoxville Community leaders created a few years back. The Eastside Sunday Market is now operated by Nourish Knoxville. If I can get one household in my neighborhood to cook one home-cooked meal a week, I will feel like I have done something.

4. How do readers connect with BattleField Farm & Gardens?

Battle Field Farm and Gardens are always looking for educators and community members to volunteer, and support the mission. To connect directly with BattleField Farm and Gardens, they can be found on Facebook @BattleFieldFarmAndGardens

Join Amy Campbell-Rochelson weekly at The Tennessee Farm Table Podcast & Broadcast for stories of Food, Farming, and Folklore. Listen on your schedule by podcast at or by radio Saturdays from 9:00-9:30, 89.9. WDVX, Knoxville, and 2:00-2:30 WUTC, Chattanooga.