About

About Crabtree Farms

At Crabtree Farms of Chattanooga, we are passionate about sustainable agriculture, and the power of locally grown food. Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Clifton Hills neighborhood, just outside of downtown Chattanooga, this 22-acre urban farm has been a beacon of sustainable farming practices and a hub for community development since its inception.

Crabtree’s unique approach to urban farming and community building was seeded in 1998 through an innovative partnership between local visionaries and the City of Chattanooga. Over the years, the farm has evolved and expanded, but the core values have remained steadfast. Today, Crabtree Farms is a thriving, multifaceted organization that encompasses not only sustainable agriculture but also educational programs, community outreach, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Our Mission

Our mission is to expand access to locally grown food, provide farm based educational opportunities, and cultivate community.

Land Acknowledgment

The land that Crabtree Farms is on has been in agricultural use for over 200 years and was originally stewarded by Native Americans, most recently the Cherokee Nation, who were forcefully removed through colonization.

In the early 1800’s, a plantation named Oakland was established where enslaved people were forced to work. The impending civil war forced the assumed owner to flee and sell the property to Arthur P. Watkins, who later left the house to his family. Near the time of WWI, a large portion of the original plantation was sold for development and the resulting neighborhood was annexed to the city in 1925.

Several decades later, John Crabtree purchased a portion of land along Chattanooga Creek and began to farm the property. 50 years later, the property belonged to Mike McGauley who donated it to the city of Chattanooga with the stipulation that it remain in agricultural use. After being connected with Will Bailey, a local visionary who wanted to start a community farm, Crabtree Farms was born in November of 1998.

It is so incredibly important that we acknowledge the whole history of this land and honor all of the hands that have shaped it into what it is today. To those who came before us and especially those who did not have a choice to stay or leave, we honor and thank you.

We believe that acknowledgement is but a first step in beginning to heal the wounds of our past. Moving forward means that we must be intentional in our efforts as a community organization to help grow a healthier, stronger, and more equitable Chattanooga. Working towards food justice for all, especially those disproportionately affected by systemic oppression, colonization, and racism, must be a guiding force in carrying out our mission.

Commitment to Equity

At Crabtree Farms of Chattanooga, we are dedicated to equity, inclusivity, and justice within the realm of food production and distribution. We recognize that access to healthy and sustainably grown food is a fundamental human right, and we are committed to ensuring that this right is realized by all, irrespective of their background, socioeconomic status, race, or citizenship.

Our commitment to equity is guided by several key principles:

  • Accessible Food for All

We pledge to continue our work until everyone who desires it can experience the transformative power of being directly connected to the source of their own food. We believe that the benefits of fresh, locally grown produce should be within reach for every individual and family in our community.

  • Eliminating Disparities

We are dedicated to identifying and addressing disparities in food access within our region. We recognize that systemic issues often create unequal access to nutritious food, and we will actively work to eliminate these barriers.

  • Inclusivity in Our Programs

We will create inclusive and welcoming spaces where people from all backgrounds feel valued and heard. Our educational programs, events, and outreach efforts will prioritize diversity and inclusion.

  • Supporting Underserved Communities

We will collaborate with underserved and marginalized communities to better understand their unique needs and challenges. Through partnerships and outreach, we will tailor our efforts to support these communities in their journey toward food security and sustainability.

  • Fair Employment Practices

Within our organization, we are committed to maintaining fair and equitable employment practices. We will provide opportunities for growth and development to all our staff and ensure a workplace that values diversity.

  • Sustainable and Equitable Farming

We will continue to prioritize sustainable farming practices that protect our environment and promote social and economic equity among farmers and workers in the agriculture sector.

  • Advocacy and Education

We will use our platform to advocate for policies and initiatives that advance food justice, equity, and sustainability. We will also engage in educational efforts to raise awareness about these critical issues in our community.

At Crabtree Farms, our commitment to equity is not just a statement but a daily practice. We believe that a just and equitable food system is not only possible but essential for the well-being of our community and the planet. We will continue to learn, grow, and adapt our efforts to ensure that healthy, life-sustaining food is accessible to all who call our region home. Together, we can build a future where food is a source of nourishment, connection, and empowerment for everyone.

Meet Our Staff

Tegan Alspaugh

Farm Educator and Production Coordinator

talspaugh@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Lena Banks

Director of Development & Communications

lbanks@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Chloe Dente

Youth Education Coordinator

cdente@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Annemarie Gero

Greenhouse Manager

agero@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Christiana Key

Volunteer & Adult Education Coordinator

ckey@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Meghan Lewis

Administrative & Events Coordinator

mlewis@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Melonie Lusk

Executive Director

mlusk@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Lauren Russek

Farm Facilities and Land Stewardship Coordinator

lrussek@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Jocelyn Zapata Ruiz

Community Food & Land Access Coordinator

jzapataruiz@crabtreefarms.org
423-493-9155

Board of Directors

Jill Allen
Second Story

Kenyatta Ashford
Neutral Ground

Richard Beeland
City of Chattanooga

Bo Bentley
TT Wilson Co.

Cole Webster
Barn Nursery

Kristy Graves
Stroll Black Creek

John Hetzler

Joel Houser
Open Space Institute

Jazmine LeBlanc
ELLA Library

Papae Litchfield
Chattanooga Tourism Co.

Viridiana Marin
TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights

Lily Sanchez
La Paz Chattanooga

Amanda Stofan
Farinash & Stofan

Emeritus

Will Bailey

McNair Bailey

Mary Navarre Moore