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Celebrating a local legacy – Annual Shade Tobacco Growers Reunion held in Havana

The Gadsden County Farm Bureau held its annual Shade Tobacco Growers Reunion at the Havana History and Heritage Museum on Tuesday, November 22 at 11 a.m. 

The event served both as a fundraiser for the Shade Tobacco Museum, with the Gadsden County Farm Bureau pledging to match all donations made during the reunion, and to celebrate the bond between farmers and the people who benefit from their labor.

Members of the local community who were involved in all aspects of the growth and production of Shade Tobacco gathered in the museum’s main exhibition room to hear a presentation by Lawson Taylor, President of the Board of Directors for Gadsden County Farm Bureau.

Taylor explained that one purpose of the event is to help recognize the relationship between farmers and the end user. 

After sharing experiences working in the local Shade Tobacco industry, attendees of the annual Shade Tobacco Growers Reunion enjoy a complimentary meal of fried fish in front of the Havana 

“It’s a way of connecting agriculture with urban life,” said Taylor. “We’ve gotten so far removed from an agrarian society now that people are three, four, five generations off the farm now. Kids now don’t have a clue, other than it comes from Wal-Mart, where their food comes from. We need to know where our food comes from.”

Taylor also stressed that one of his organization’s goals is to keep local growers competitive on the world market.

Following the presentation, Taylor went around the room, recognizing each attendee and inviting them to share brief recollections about working in the industry.

Once everyone had a chance to share their memories, the crowd moved to the large barn in front of the museum, where rows of tables and chairs were set up for a meal of fried fish.

 Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service