“You’re listening to the Tennessee Farm Table with your hostess Amy Campbell…”
Our family caught this line on WDVX’s 9 am radio show four years ago. We have tuned in ever since. Being farmers ourselves, the subject of East Tennessee’s Appalachian food and farming traditions was right up our alley and we loved this show! So, naturally, a few months back, I decided to write in to Amy Campbell and tell her how much we enjoyed listening and invited her to take a look at my blog.
She responded with the kindest email I’d ever read, and she was up to interview and visit with us the next week!
Amy is a genuine, loving person who is doing a great work here in our region. Let me tell you a little bit about her.
Amy was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She says she was raised in the city, but she was a country girl at heart. Like many of us from around these parts, her family roots were tied to farming. Even when she was a little girl, she loved spending time with her Grandpa on the farm.
Her mother was an art teacher, so Amy naturally developed a love and a talent for art. She became a portrait painter and folk artist—among many other titles!
She received her Bachelor’s in 1989 from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her first paying job was for Proffitt’s Department Store; as an Illustrator for their news print advertisements. Over the years, she earned her MFA in Graphic Design from UT, and has held several other creative jobs as a professional freelance artist, portrait painter, graphic designer, and even as a Professor of Fine Art at Carson Newman and Maryville College
Her portraits of regional food producers and historic figures from Blount County are on display in the Maryville Municipal Building, The Walnut Kitchen, and J.C. Holdway Restaurant in Knoxville.
The logo for the WDVX radio station was designed by Amy!
She has volunteered countless hours with the radio station since 1996 . She was with them from the beginning because she believed in getting good music to us here in East Tennessee. (Now it’s heard around the world.) She said she wanted to play music that folks around here would listen to sitting on their front porches. Well, I don’t know how many times we have loved listening to bluegrass especially on our front porch! Our family is thankful for that!
Amy has worked as a public relations representative for Knox County at the Knox County Farmers’ Market back in the mid 1990s which is now “New Harvest Farmers’ Market” with the intent to drive sales for local agriculture, and was a founding board member of the Maryville Farmer’s Market and Market Manager in the inaugural season. Here, she saw the hard work from farms and small businesses and wanted to help these farmers out. Before the farmer’s market was “cool”, she was out encouraging everyone to eat food sourced locally! Thankfully now society has caught up with that idea again!
She also worked at Blackberry Farm in the garden and loved learning all about heirloom seeds and other facets of working in the soil. (She was also an artist in residence at Blackberry Farm.) Her love for farming just kept growing and she saw a need to preserve this way of life.
Around ten years ago, she had a dream about developing a show featuring folks that were preserving and preparing Appalachian food. She had a desire to record these stories and to find the people that were keeping farming traditions alive…
In 2013, her show, The Tennessee Farm Table, aired from WDVX.
She has since interviewed unique places and small family farms like J&R Farms, Benton’s Bacon, The Love Kitchen…she has spoken with chefs, authors, gardeners, foodies, and wineries…the list could go on! She highlights topics that are unique to our Appalachian region like the paw-paw fruit and ramps.
Amy and I have the same philosophy: if it’s not shared now, who will remember the old ways? They need to be shared and taught!
She works so hard to bring attention to these timeless traditions and skills that are so rare today. Family farms are still the backbone of the community, and as a part of the community, we love to make a difference.
On every show, she mentions non-profit organizations that are helping folks in our cities and towns. One day, she hopes to be able to serve food directly to needy people from a mobile radio building! Because everyone deserves a chance to eat good, local food: This type of dreaming and thinking is why she’s making such an impact, here!
I’m thankful that Amy has a desire to record and tell our region’s stories of food and how we grow, prepare, and cook. We are both quite passionate about food…which may sound silly to some, because you may be thinking “what’s the big deal…can’t you just heat a microwave dinner up and fill your stomach and that’s all you need?” NO!
Sitting down at the family table with food that you-know-where-it-came-from is something special. It adds life to our days and it adds a ton of joy, too! (Not to mention nutrition!) You don’t have to grow it yourself. You can visit a farmer friend or a market and taste the freshest, realest food and just cherish it. Good local food is a gift, people! Amy believes that food “brings our often quarreling world together, and is a way for us to share our different cultures and beliefs through a shared experience.”
Amy is preserving the importance of our food traditions. I love it! Some of these things would be forgotten otherwise. “I like to share stories and capture the memories of regular people who have, or are doing important things for our community and world.” She wants her art and her radio work to reflect that desire. If we don’t have a way to remember these ordinary folks, their memories and way of life will fade away.
Our Saturday mornings wouldn’t be complete without listening in. As soon as Emi Sunshine starts singing the theme song, my boys start dancing around the room.
The shows airs by podcast from Amy’s website at: tennesseefarmtable.com and additionally broadcast Saturday mornings at 9 by radio from Knoxville at WDVX.com.
Go to tennesseefarmtable.com to see the contributors, sponsors, and info about the show.
Let’s help support each other in these endeavors of eating, supporting, and preserving LOCAL! Thank you, Amy, for all your hard work and diligence in capturing our stories through art and radio. What a unique place she has in our community and a very special one.
Check out Amy’s website and see her artistic talent, as well!