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‘Everywhere You Look, UT’ Mural Campaign Marks Milestone at Smith Farm, Hamilton 50th County to Join Statewide Campaign

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Barn on Smith Farm in Ooltewah

OOLTEWAH—Farming and education go hand in hand at Smith Farm—making the popular 800-acre farm northeast of Chattanooga a fitting backdrop for the latest mural in the “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign.

Scheduled for paint next week in Hamilton County, the mural marks a milestone in the University of Tennessee System campaign. Hamilton will be the 50th county to receive a mural since the campaign began in 2018.

Smith Farm’s connections to UT run deep, and owners Aubie Smith and Michelle Bettis Smith volunteered their barn for the campaign to honor the legacies of their families’ roots in teaching that now extend to their farm. They are both graduates of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and work for Hamilton County Schools while running the farm. Aubie Smith worked closely with UT Extension to help guide the direction of the farm toward the value-added product enterprise it is today.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity. We think it will bring positive attention to the farm,” said Michelle Smith.

Smith Farm bustles with activity year-round. In spring, cars line up to purchase freshly picked strawberries, with daily sales ranging from 400 to 1,100 gallons. The farm’s tulip and sunflower fields become popular photo spots in spring and summer, respectively, while fall events coincide with pumpkin season. Hamilton County’s largest working farm also supports a herd of Black Angus, offers land for dove hunting and produces silage and hay for sale.

With all the attention on the farm throughout the year, the Smiths believe the barn will stand out. But it’s the UT in the mural that the Smiths want children to see and realize they don’t have to go far to get a college degree.

“This will be a great conversation piece for school groups,” said Michelle Smith, who is a technology integration coach for Hamilton County Schools and co-founder of Gig City Girls, a nonprofit that encourages girls to get involved in STEM fields. “Our favorite groups to host on the farm are schools.”

She creates lessons for school visitors around whatever is happening during the season and partners with a local beekeeper to enhance the learning experience.

In addition to farm visitors, the 60-foot-wide mural will be seen by more than 1,000 travelers a day on Ooltewah Georgetown Road.

Smith Farm will be home to the 54th mural in the campaign, which boasts canvases of all types, including the UT Lifestar helicopter hangar overlooking Interstate 75 in Sweetwater.

The UT System intends to paint a mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties by 2030 and is more than halfway toward accomplishing that goal. Costs of the first mural in each county are covered by the University.

To learn more about the Smith family or the “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural campaign or to submit a location for consideration, visit the campaign website.


Ellie Dougherty

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Category: Headlines