The LFPA update, spring plant sales and a marathon scandal.

When is six miles only four?

The LFPA update, spring plant sales and a marathon scandal.
Succulents, Hixson High greenhouse, Hixson, Tenn.

"It is a connective tissue between us."

Good morning, Food as a Verb. Spring officially began this week, which means we're about one month away from our last frost date of the year.

It's a most wonderful, buzzy, green time of year. Over the last week, I've seen a Noah's ark of springtime: the first butterfly, bumblebee, honeybee, tick and lady bug of 2024. The birds are warming up their orchestra. Spinach, lettuce, arugula and snap peas are growing in our backyard beds, along with the first stalks of asparagus. On the farm, I've sown oats and lentils – probably too early – and kale that the rabbits will enjoy before I ever can. If you haven't put your spring seeds in the ground, now's the time.

Before we report on an emerging story called "The Six-Mile Scandal" – a few announcement and updates:

  • This Sunday, we'll continue our reporting into the lost grant funding from the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture, which missed multiple federal deadlines to secure $7.2 million for state farmers and food banks. If you missed the story, you can read it here or here.

Whatever you're doing, keep doing it. There's movement in the legislature to restore funding. How much? That's the big question. Our representatives are paying attention, thanks in part to your emails, letters and calls.

Earlier this week, an appropriations request was submitted; the final vote – yet to be scheduled – should come soon.

We'll know more Sunday.

Brian McDonald, Mac's Kitchen & Bar, Rossville, Ga.
  • This Saturday, Mac's Kitchen & Bar hosts its one-year anniversary party. Called "Farm & Fire" and held at the McFarland Ave. restaurant, the evening promises to be quintessential Mac's: deeply intentional and beautifully local. Brian McDonald and Jess Revels are creating a really special experience around food, tables and community.

"It is a connective tissue between us," he says.

Tickets can be purchased here.

It's the time of year for plant sales.

Lee Friedlander and students, Hixson High greenhouse, Hixson, Tenn.
  • Hixson High holds its annual plant sale on April 6, from 10 am to 4 pm at Hixson High.

We love these Hixson students and their remarkable teacher, Lee Friedlander. They're showing us a model of 21st-century education that is transformative and empowering.

"There will be over 18,000 annuals, perennials, food bearing, and/or medicinal plants that have been carefully selected to promote successful cultivation and encourage an ecosystem of native, non-invasive species for your home gardens," Crabtree announced.

On Friday and Saturday, along with plant sales, there are local vendors, live music, food trucks and activities for kids and families.

  • On April 27, our friends Katie Braswell and Hannah Wright are hosting a Restore and Revive Retreat at Rising Fawn Gardens.

Six other women will co-lead the retreat, which begins at 9 am and focuses on Optimizing Women's Health in Modern Times.

More info can be found here.

  • A while back, we traveled to Fort Payne, Ala. to feature Teddy Gentry – country music legend and pioneering cattle farmer. Some of his South Poll cattle are being raised by our friend Bob Gray in Walden, Tenn.
South Poll cattle, Bent Tree Farms, Fort Payne, Ala.

Currently, Bob's selling beef shares of Black Angus cows. Born on his Bluebird Mountain Farm, they are grass-fed, pasture-raised and well-loved. He's offering three half-shares; for more info, email

  • We are over-the-moon thrilled to announce our participation in the upcoming 57th annual Chattanooga Chase road race. The Memorial Day 8k race is hands-down the most fun road race I've ever experienced. There's National Anthem somberness, followed by a gorgeous course through Riverview, maybe a hill or two, ending with an everyone-welcome block party.

This year, it's the Fast Break Athletics/Food as a Verb block party.

The race, which benefits Siskin Children's Institute, is the oldest active road race in Tennessee. Your grandparents were running this race back in '68. At the block party, local restaurants – Pizzeria Cortile, Clever Alehouse, our good friend Ian "Sully" Sullivan's Oatmeal Experience – serve up alongside Chattanooga Brewing, Dynamo Brewing and Chattanooga Whiskey.

Fast Break Athletics owner Alan Outlaw has transformed this race into one of the most popular on the calendar; he throws one hell of a party.

Sign up here.

"If you don't have fun, I'll come wash your car," he said. (Well, maybe he didn't actually say that ... )

Now, onto the Six-Mile Scandal:

Earlier this month, Food as a Verb formed its first-ever race team, entering the Chattanooga Marathon as a relay team. This is fancy language for: a handful of us paid money to run together.

Four of us each signed up to run a six or seven mile leg of the 26.2 mile race.

Six or seven miles can be tough, but at least we didn't have to worry about the course or directions. Right? I mean, 100s of people were running this. Plus, there were arrows, signs, volunteers, other runners, fans cheering along side the race. The course was marked everywhere.

I huffed-and-puffed through the first six miles, handing the baton (really, a computer chip wrapped in foam) to a much-faster Chris Greenwood, who roared through the next leg, before tagging Adam Webb – we'll get to him momentarily – with Nelson Eiselstein dropping the hammer: sub-6-minute miles over the last seven miles.

Some 2 hours and 45 minutes after the race began, Eiselstein crossed the finish line. We won the relay event, kinda literally, by a mile.

Food as a Verb race team, moments before disgrace. Photo not by Sarah Unger.

"Did you run in pants?" a friend asked.

(No. I was the first leg. Got a little chilly waiting for everyone to finish.)

We smiled, posed, high-fived, drank post-race Ultras. We traded stories. Added up our pace. Kept looking over our shoulders for the trophy.

At some point, Adam, though, turned quiet. Looking at his watch – it's the kind that satellite-calculates each mile's split – he kept pressing some buttons, looking back up at us. Back down at his watch, back up at us.

Bud? Everything ok?

Turns out, there's a good reason why our team ran 26 miles so damn quickly.

Adam ran his leg of the race in a startling 28 minutes.

Six miles? In 28 minutes?

That's impossible.


Food as a Verb thanks Tucker Build, our sustaining partner, for its generous support.

Tucker Build offers Chattanooga a commercial construction firm made up of design-build experts specializing in the planning, building and managing process.

Anybody out there know Adam Webb? Many of you should. He's home grown in Ooltewah. (Valedictorian, no less.) Taught at St. Nicholas School, led the youth at St. Paul's Episcopal, now serves as Day Admissions Director at McCallie.

He's as kind, witty and honest as the day is long. Being friends with him is like this ongoing good-time. Genuine goodness that won't stop.

But he's not just my friend. He's my brother-in-law, which makes what I'm about to do really, really deliciously fun.

Food as a Verb community, Adam was supposed to run six miles.

And he only ran four.

"Uhh, guys," he began, "I'm not sure what happened."

Along the way, as 100s of other runners stayed on course, running exactly where they were supposed to, Adam, somehow, turned left when he should have turned right. His six mile leg ended up being only four.

So, our inaugural victory has turned into a scandal, as six miles turned into four.

The hard-time jokes started immediately.

Folks began texting: hey Adam, stuck in traffic. Got a shortcut route for me?

Others started calling him "Rosie."

CBC Sports

This is the delicious part. To know Adam is to love him. And to love him is to give him a hard time.

Again, this Sunday, we'll report on the LFPA Plus funding update. Food as a Verb was the first media outlet to break this story; we're providing news you won't find anywhere else. Thank you, friends and readers, for embracing our work.

We're still writing the story, but it will probably run around 1500 words and should take about 10 minutes to read.

Unless you're Adam, who will somehow read it in five.

Food as a Verb race team, inappropriately confident. Photo not by Sarah Unger.

All photography by Sarah Unger (

All design by Alex DeHart

All words by David Cook (

Story ideas, questions, feedback? Interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities? Email us: and

This story is 100% human generated; no AI chatbot was used in the creation of this content.

Food as a Verb thanks our sustaining partners for their generous support.

Regional Farmers' Marekts

Regional Farmers' Markets

  • Main St. Farmers' Market

Corner of W. 20th and Chestnut St., near Finley Stadium

Wednesday, 4 - 6pm

  • Brainerd Farmers' Market

Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave, Chattanooga, TN 

Saturday, 10am - noon

  • Chattanooga Market

1820 Carter Street, Sunday, 11am - 4pm

  • Fresh Mess Market

Harton Park, Monteagle, TN. (Rain location: Monteagle Fire Hall.) 

Every Thursday, 3pm - 6pm, beg. June 6 - Oct. 3

  • Ooltewah Farmers' Market

The Ooltewah Nursery, Thursday, 3 - 6pm 

Pre-order online for Thursday pick-up between 4 - 6pm at Bachman Community Center

  • South Cumberland Farmers’ Market

Sewanee Community Center (behind the Sewanee Market on Ball Park Rd.) Tuesdays from 4:15 to 6:00 p.m. (central.) Order online by Monday 10 am (central.) 

  • St. Albans Farmers' Market

7514 Hixson Pike, Saturday, 9.30am - 12.30pm with a free pancake breakfast every third Saturday  

  • Walker County Farmers' Market

Wednesday, 2 - 5 pm, Rock Spring Ag. Center 

Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm, downtown Lafayette, Georgia

To include your farmers market, email

Dig in. (It's free)