SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Officials from the state Department of Agriculture made a special stop in the Marble City on Monday and Tuesday. Members of the Board spent Monday night visiting a local restaurant before visiting key industrial and agricultural destinations in Sylacauga Tuesday morning.

The department travels across the state many times throughout the year to give board members a look at different industries the state has to offer. Members of the board come from all walks of life, and have not seen all aspects of the diverse agricultural interest that the state has to offer. The tours are in hopes that members will become familiar with all aspects of the $70.4 billion agricultural industry.

“The idea is to give them a broader view of the industry,” said commissioner John McMillan. “They may have to consider regulations that affect certain agricultural industries, so it’s important for them to have an overview every industry the state has to offer.”

The Blue Bell factory was the first stop for board members on Tuesday. The board toured the factory and even got to sample the sweet treats the factory has to offer. McMillan told SylacaugaNews.com the factory is a huge asset to the city and the state, and he is excited about the work being done on N. Norton Ave.

The second stop was to a place the department has invested in, the Sylacauga GROWS Community Garden which is project of the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE).  SAFE received two grants from the Department of Agriculture which helped the organization start the garden.

For those who do not know, the garden provides food to many organizations in the community including the Care House and many soup kitchens. Executive Director of SAFE Margaret Morton said the garden fed over 500 families in 2016 and provided over 2,000 hours of community service for students and other members of the community. SAFE also plants work with farmers markets and fresh markets in the future.

Following the visit to SAFE and the GROWS Garden, McMillan and his staff traveled to the Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce for one of its three annual board meetings. One of the meetings must be held in the Capital City of Montgomery, but McMillan said he likes to use these trips as opportunities to both see exciting industries across the state and hold the other two meetings while all members of the board are together.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.