COCHRAN, GEORGIA – If Emmie Meadows had the opportunity to speak to the United States Congress, she would ask them to “vacate their seats.”
Yes, the pause is there. Emmie went on to explain, “I’d ask them to vacate their seats- every last one of them- and allow ‘everyday Americans’ to take over.”
She added, “I’d love to say here that I would just ask them to get along, but I think we’ve long passed that point.”
Very articulately, and with wisdom beyond her years, Emmie continued, “Our national politicians have, as a collective, created a farce out of our government. It no longer exists for the people. I think we would be able to get past the ‘partisan issues’ if those in office had to suffer the consequences of their own decisions.”
Emmie’s practical thinking and sensibility could be credited to her background. Her family has a long history and connection to farming and agriculture in general- specifically for many years in ‘peaches.’
That foundation played a big part, she says in how she has developed.
“An oft overlooked aspect of agriculture, particularly when you are talking about the farming side of it, is how it affects the family. The farmer is out in the field, but his wife is at home, somehow making all the pieces work together, no matter how schedules may vary from season to season,” Emmie stated. “Looking back, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for what both my mother and father, and all those who came before them, did.”
“Watching my father and grandfather farm gave me a front row seat to how they treated others, no matter what their walk of life may be. It didn’t matter if the person they were dealing with was a major buyer, a newscaster, or seasonal farm help: both men never failed to deal respectfully and shoot straight with others,” Emmie said.
Her deep love of the outdoors and “of anything that grows” came from her family’s farming traditions.
In fact, about three or four years ago, Emmie, and her dad, started a gardening project. “What began as a small garden metastasized to cover the entire backyard. We went a little overboard with the size, so Daddy, being the entrepreneur he is, suggested I try selling my produce,” she explained. “Thus, Porter Road Produce was born. Basically, it’s a way for us to grow massive quantities of food without wasting much.”
Known affectionately around Bleckley County as ‘the Tomato Girl,’ Emmie said, “Tomatoes have my heart, but okra comes in at a close second. Fruit is in a different category, but the best product in that category is, of course, peaches. Hailing from a peach farming family, that came naturally.”
Emmie’s fierce determination and work-ethic is very evident in her job as a ninth grade English teacher. She won teacher of the year at Bleckley County High School. “Winning teacher of the year was surreal, and I still can’t wrap my mind around it. I am just thankful to be where I am. I have been able to thrive because of the phenomenal environment the Bleckley County School System has.”
As per choosing education as a job, Emmie said, “I chose my career on a whim: it was nearing the end of my college career and I came to the realization that I actually had to get a job after graduating.”
She continued, “I had an English degree, so more or less, my thought process was ‘What have I got to lose here? I’ll give it a try.’”
Emmie stated, “Being a teacher in Bleckley County is a lot like coming home. There is a familiarity to it because you understand the community dynamic and, on a more personal level, when students talk about a certain place or event, I understand what they’re talking about because, hey, more than likely, I went there or experienced that myself.”
She added, “Teaching here does add a new layer though: I understand better now that other school systems don’t have what we have. I appreciate the community support we receive more. I see better the minute details that come together to make this school ‘run.’”
“Yes, the teachers here are phenomenal, but our custodial crew is excellent. The lunch ladies make sure we are taken care of. The administration trusts their teachers. I didn’t see that coming up as a student,” Emmie explained.
Emmie is known for her different teaching techniques around the campus, and her students love her. “I was blessed to have a professor who was, to say the very least, unique. She reasoned that hands-on teaching would be more effective than a more traditional method.”
She said, “That works for me personally. I’ve always struggled to sit still for very long, so incorporating movement, pictures, pop culture and discussion was a good fit for my personality.”
And what a personality that is!
From being creative to compassionate, Emmie just is who she is, no matter if she is teaching or gardening or doing one of her hobbies.
Take for example what she calls an odd hobby. “I love trying seasonal foods. Take M&Ms ®. I tried the Pumpkin Pie kind a year ago, and ever since then, it’s been an obsession. I love really weird, limited edition food. I’ll try anything.”
One thing she would like to try is “traveling.”
Emmie said, “I’m just now getting to where I can do this more with my schedule. My number one destination is New Zealand. Growing up, I was a huge Lord of the Rings nerd, and still am, and this was where the movies were filmed. I want to tour the sets.”
One of Emmie’s hobbies that has taken on a whole new level is her writing. She recently started a blog, ‘Meadows in the Wilderness,’ at emmiemeadows.com.
She said, “Basically, l read a lot, but I didn’t see anyone blogging about topics or from a perspective that I could associate with. I was in dire need of a release, and writing is a big time, stress reliever for me, so it seemed like the natural progression to begin blogging.”
“I expected the blog to be a portfolio of my writing, but I didn’t see the potential for people to read and actually enjoy it,” Emmie stated. “I’m appreciative of the support I receive though. The biggest compliment you could give me is reading what I write.”
She went on to say, “Writing takes places in spurts for me. Two habits have been conducive to blogging: walking outside and writing in the Notes App on my phone.”
Emmie’s explanation was simple. “Walking outside somehow helps my mind sort out potential blog ‘threads.’ These threads go to the Notes section, and they are the building blocks of the blogs I write later. I sketch it out physically on paper, and then will type it up.”
Looking toward her future, Emmie said, “I would love to see where the blog goes- I think it’s on a good track, and I’m looking forward to growing it.”
“I come into contact with hundreds of teenagers every day: I want to love them as well as I possibly can and keeping my eyes fixed on that goal is my ‘main thing’ right now,” she said.
Emmie stated, “I don’t know that I will always remain in the classroom as a teacher, but working with people will always be in the cards for me. I foresee the next steps following that trend.”
She added, “For me, the past five years have been a lot of ‘Where to next?’ Now, I think the next steps are to grow where I’m planted-a cliché, I know!”
When she was asked about the best advice she had ever been given, Emmie said, “’You only get one chance to notice a new haircut.’ I want to say my mom gave me that advice?”
She laughed, “I could have read it on Facebook, and just assumed that that level of genius could only come from her.”
From gardening to blogging to teaching to trying weird foods to traveling, Emmie Meadows is truly is a ‘good news’ story.