Thank you, Chain Breakers + Food as a Verb community

"God bless the 423 Chain Breakers who are doing the work of Love."

Thank you, Chain Breakers + Food as a Verb community
David Cook + Correy Craddock, Westside, Tenn.

Our Sunday feature on the 423 Chain Breakers and Taco Tuesday really hit home.

"The work of the Chain Breakers and Miss V is so important," one reader said, "and I for one wanted to say a big thank you for giving it a spotlight."

"I cried," said another.

Another wrote what she called a "Sabbath prayer."

God bless the 423 Chain Breakers who are doing the work of Love.

Bless all who support them and every individual young man whose life they touch.

Please open our eyes and minds as a community to the power of Love to transform lives ...

For us as photographers, writers and designers, the story held such power. We wanted to uplift and honor these men, so often overlooked, for their unending work, all rooted, as the prayer said, in Love.

Dylan Bryant, Chain Breaker, Chattanooga, Tenn.

I've known, loved and trusted Troy Rogers – the city's director of public safety who oversees the program – for years, met many of the Chain Breakers in 2023, some earlier than that.

We laugh an awful lot. It is strangely ironic; in the midst of such painful, exacting work, the heart is also somehow uplifted so high, so fully.

Jamichael Caldwell, Troy Rogers, Nate Carter, Dylan Bryant, Correy Craddock

Many of you have generously asked: how can we help?

That's a question for them, not me.

I will say this: the Chain Breakers spoke at my English classes at McCallie School this past fall, and without question, the hour was one of the most powerful in my entire career.

Their stories, the ways they engage, the truth-telling matched with invitation to service — it all carried such urgency and love.

Your church, book club, community group, foundation retreat –- if you invite them to come speak, I promise: you will walk away changed.

Food as a Verb thanks Niedlov's Bakery & Cafe, our sustaining partner, for its generous support.

Niedlov's Bakery & Cafe, a Main St. anchor, has elevated our city's bakery experience to beautiful levels while strengthening community in immeasurable ways.

Partnerships? Additional funding? How to volunteer?

Those are questions for Rogers ( or Chris Sands ( or 423.393.3363).

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.

Sands is the Director of Community Safety and Gun Violence Prevention for City Hall. Also an old friend, Sands, too, is a man among men, vastly generous, wise and loving.

"I'm grateful for the work Troy Rogers and Chain Breakers are making in our community," he said. "We are gearing up to really impact the lives of Chattanoogans from Avondale, downtown, Westside, East Lake and Southside."

A little context and history: under former mayor Ron Littlefield and prosecutor (and current judge) Boyd Patterson, a gang task force was created to respond to the city's growing gang violence.

In 2013, Andy Berke was elected, then introduced the Violence Reduction Initiative based on the work of John Jay College criminologist David Kennedy.

Part of that work included intervention specialists, similar to violence interrupters, a term + model used in anti-violence work across the nation.

The 423 Chain Breakers are a form of violence interruptors. In 2022, Tim Kelly's administration introduced a new "roadmap" to reducing shootings and violence; wisely, Kelly created an Office of Community Health, and equally wise, asked Sands and Dr. Geeta Maharaj to serve there.

Sands oversees Rogers and the Chain Breakers.

"I'm thankful that we have a mayor and administrator that trust the vision and direction we are going in to be one Chattanooga," Sands said.

Jamichael Caldwell, Westside, Tenn.

Bird Fork Farm's tart cherries are delicious.

Circle S Farms still has some kale, arugula and lettuce, not to mention daikon radishes and red and golden beets. (We are thrilled about our upcoming Circle S feature.)

Hernandez Farms has garlic scapes and fava beans – a first for me. Never had fava beans until last week. They are scrumptious. (Also, is it just me, or is the fava bean reputation forever stained by Hannibal Lecter?)

Have a beautiful week, everyone.

Daniel Hernandez, Brian McDonald, Main St. Farmers' Market, Chatt., Tenn.

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' Markets

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)