Joe's Memorial Farm Fund

Joe Distretti was an honorable man who gave to his community throughout his life. He grew up working on the family farm, and knew the value of a good day’s work. He enlisted in the Marines and served in Vietnam; according to the men he served with he saved many lives working as the crew chief on helicopters. He went to college on the GI Bill, and got his degrees in History, eventually his Master’s. He worked for the State of Tennessee as a Parks Manager at Fort Loudoun in East Tennessee, and loved finding ways to reach the school groups that frequented the park. He had retired from the state when the attacks of 9/11 spurred him into action, working nuclear security for Pinkerton at Brown’s Ferry. After his retirement there, he returned where his heart had always been: his family farm.

I moved back home in 2008 to help my father re-open the family farm after nearly 20 years fallow, he said as his “retirement project”. It soon became clear, though, that more than anything he wanted to pass down the methods and wisdom of his father. He wanted to create a business that would sustain and prosper to benefit his children for generations. He taught his children (and later grandchild) to cherish, respect, and work the land. Our family farm has been worked for four generations, and lovingly amended and cared for.

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My father funded the current farming operation through his Social Security and Veteran’s Disability payments, including my family’s income. Unbeknownst to us.

We found out in June that my wife is pregnant with our second child, and Grampa Joe was so excited to have another grandbaby on the way.

When he passed away, suddenly, it left our business, our land, and our income in jeopardy; we are land-rich, but cash poor. I have a job, but no income. In order to continue farming, I can’t sell the vehicles, tractors, and equipment that make that work possible if I’m to continue the family business, but there seems to be no other way to “save the family farm”.

My father was a meticulous note-taker, and constantly ran figures and plans on paper trying to find new directions for our farm to go. He had settled on raising Industrial Hemp, as it seemed to be the “cash crop” we could incorporate without having to buy new implements and equipment. He had planned to take out business loans to start the new Industrial Hemp operation, but his passing makes that impossible now.

I want to raise money to be able to take care of my family until his estate trust comes out of probate, and to pay the fees and certifications associated with the farm business. I want to memorialize my father through the business he worked so hard to establish. I want this to provide the initial investments in both farming operations, our fresh vegetable CSA (which works in partnership with our local Amish community) and the new-to-our-state Industrial Hemp operation my father was so sure would financially stabilize our farm. I want to be able to continue my work bringing the best fresh produce in the southeast to the doors of our customers, and taking care of my community like my father did. I want my children brought up in this business, learning those old pieces of wisdom and taking care of our land. That’s why I’m asking you all to support us as we transition to a new way of doing things, like my father wanted, even though he’s not around anymore. I don’t want to see all this he (we) worked for to fall apart to creditors and fees and probate, and leave nothing to continue his legacy.33279340_1537983637711795_r.jpeg
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Organizer

Justin Distretti 
Organizer
Adamsville, TN
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