Downtown on The Farm returns with the soul of food

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The 4th annual Downtown on the Farm, presented by Locally Owned Murfreesboro, is set for Sunday, Sept. 19 at Oaklands Mansion.

“Because we are being hosted by Oaklands Mansion this year, we wanted to focus on the contributions of African Americans to the food culture of the South,” explained Michelle Willard, vice president of Locally Owned Murfreesboro. “Oaklands’ history as a plantation is often overlooked. We would like to acknowledge that history and help tell the story of the enslaved in Murfreesboro.”

Oaklands Mansion is currently working with the African American Heritage Society of Rutherford County to erect a monument for section “M” in Evergreen Cemetery. Originally called Oaklands Cemetery, oral tradition indicates that this is the burial ground of the enslaved workers of the former plantation. Oaklands is currently fundraising to erect the monument. To learn more, visit Oaklands’ website.

This farm-to-table fundraising dinner, featuring items sourced from local farms, will be transformed into a culinary adventure by local chefs. The evening will start at 4:30 p.m. with signature cocktails featuring Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. Dinner will follow promptly at 5:30 p.m.

But this isn’t just a farm-to-table dinner.

Money raised at the event will be used to fund LOM’s annual scholarships for students from Rutherford County in the Entrepreneurship Program in MTSU’s Jones College of Business to help create the next generation of independent business owners in Middle Tennessee.

The inaugural event, held on the Public Square in 2018, raised $4,000 for LOM’s scholarship. In 2019, the event moved to Cannonsburgh Village and raised $5,000 in scholarship dollars. The third annual event became a to-go event due to weather and was another successful year, raising another $5,000. The funds were awarded to MTSU students who graduated from a Rutherford County high school and are majoring or minoring in entrepreneurship. The annual donations make LOM the largest donor to the Entrepreneurship Program in the Jones College of Business.

“Our passion is building a community to help local businesses thrive. What better way to do that than to invest in our Rutherford County students and help them pursue their dream of entrepreneurship?” LOM President and event co-chair Missy Lay said.

The meal will be prepared by some of Murfreesboro’s finest culinary minds: The Butchareon family from Bangkok Thai Cuisine, Shawn & Christy Hackinson from The Alley on Main, Chantell Kennedy-Shehan and Matthew Joseph from Simply Pure Sweets, Mitchell Murphree from Five Senses and Steakhouse Five, and Chef Jerod Wilcher from Kingdom Cuisine Catering. Slick Pig will provide the main course of pork barbecue.

This year’s event will take place at the beautiful Oaklands Mansion.

“We are excited to highlight another amazing Murfreesboro venue,” Lay said. The event will feature the soul of food and where the majority of our famous southern dishes came from.

All the protein and produce will be procured from local farmers and growers from Middle Tennessee.

“I’m excited to feature these farmers at Downtown on the Farm,” said Willard, who is working with the chefs and farmers to create a locally sourced menu. “I also hope to introduce some of these locally owned restaurants to more area farms so that they can build strong relationships and help support each other in the future.”

Early bird tickets will go on sale Aug. 1st at $75 each and $125 for two. After September 5th, the prices will go up to $100 and $150 respectively. Get tickets here.

Tickets include dinner and two drink tickets to enjoy our signature cocktails. Every ticket holder will also receive a commemorative, handmade cup made by a Tennessee-based potter. Franklin’s Fruit Tea will be returning for their second year to serve up their delicious fruit tea and Panther Creek Brews will provide beer.

Sponsorships are available. To sponsor Downtown on the Farm and help a student attend college, contact Locally Owned Murfreesboro at

About Locally Owned Murfreesboro
An affiliate of the American Independent Business Alliance, Locally Owned Murfreesboro was formed in 2016.
The nonprofit is an organization of independent local business owners dedicated to promoting the benefits supporting independent businesses to the community and building a stronger local economy by joining together in marketing, government advocacy and networking. Learn more at Because Murfreesboro Matters.

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