Jenn Dana to bring her joys together at the farmers market craft sale this weekend
By Jim Turner


Posted on December 10, 2015 11:28 PM



Like the adorable character Ado Annie in the musical Oklahoma, Jenn Dana is a girl who just “Cain’t Say No.” For Jenn, though, it’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a wonderful thing for those who benefit from her generosity.

“I have a hard time saying ‘no’ when people want me to be part of a good cause,” she says.

Jenn Dana and her family are relative newcomers to not only Logan County but also the South. In the short time they’ve lived here, however, they have proven to be friends to those who know them and a blessing to many people who may not be aware that they are the source of good things that are happening to them.

Their good works will be on display Friday at the Logan County Extension Office this Friday and Saturday at the Logan County Extension Office when the annual Farmers’ Market Craft Fair and Holiday Bazaar are held.

The Danas’ Crates for Christ wooden boxes and trays will be for sale, and the proceeds from that go to good causes.

Additionally, Jenn has been the organizer of the event. She’s created fliers advertising it, gotten a list of who is going to bring what for the free lunches provided shoppers each day, and coordinated all the other activities.

It’s been true all year. Since the three Farmers’ Market officers were rarely ever able to attend the Tuesday or Saturday sales sessions of produce and vegetables, Jenn Dana was the one who kept things on an even keel all summer and fall. That was true even though the beautiful garden the Danas had planned to be a source of food and income this summer turned out to be the dud that many gardeners experienced in this year of June torrential rain, July drought and August heat wave.

Additionally, she and fellow first-year vendor Annie Thomas graciously volunteered to be administrators of the Farmers’ Market’s first Facebook page. Annie, however, had to take time off for a maternity leave. Jenn took pictures of what was for sale at virtually every sales day and posted them on Facebook to help draw customers for everyone else.

Instead of selling vegetables, the Danas created a new product for the market—wooden crates. They were a huge hit, especially among the vendors themselves.

The crates were a family project. Son Evan and dad Glenn did the cutting and fastening of the wood into serviceable containers. Jenn was the marketer, usually with Evan by her side.

“We had thought we would use the proceeds from our Farmers’ Market sales to take a family vacation to Disneyworld, but then we kept seeing people who needed the money more than we do,” she said. From their initial sales of crates, $180 went for groceries for Good Samaritan and over $300 to help a child go to church camp. Charitable projects continued as funds became available.

Jenn created a Facebook page for Crates for Christ, too. See it at https://www.facebook.com/cratesforchrist/?fref=ts

Evan, who is homeschooled by his versatile mom, would seem to be the one losing out on the Disney vacation, but he doesn’t let any disappointment show.

“He has a giving heart,” says his mom/teacher. “We were in the Wal-Mart parking lot one day meeting a customer who bought $20 worth of crates. As we were leaving, we saw a woman needing gas money. Evan took the $20 bill over to her. He decides who the money should go to.”

The Danas believe this is an important part of Evan’s education. “He’s learning to work, he’s learning to give, and we’re doing it as a family,” Jenn says.

Glenn and Jenn Dana grew up in Michigan. She live in Clare, a small town with a single signal light, and it just blinked. Glenn’s home was in Coleman, only slightly bigger. They met when she was 17 and married when she was 23.

Jenn didn’t live on a farm, but her grandparents did, and she enjoyed watching her grandmother can vegetables.  She was an avid reader but went to beauty school instead of college. She worked as a beautician for six years and then became an online medical transcriptionist.

Glenn studied pre-engineering at Central Michigan University before going to work for Hemlock Semiconductor. He worked for that company for 22 years. When Hemlock made plans to build a huge plant in the Clarksville area, the Danas opted for the transfer. “It’s so cold in Michigan that people are trapped in their homes for long times, and it’s depressing, especially for older people,” Jenn says. “We wanted warmth and more chances to be outside.”

They moved to Trigg County in 2011 because land around Clarksville was very expensive. They didn’t have as much land as they wanted and kept looking.

“We kept coming back to Logan County. We got to know (the late realtor) JoAnn Shaffer well,” Jenn says. “She showed us 100 acres behind her house on a warm fall day. It had belonged to Joe Shaffer. She had been saving it and offered it for sale to us. It was what we were looking for.”

The entrance to the Danas’ land is only a mile from Wal-Mart on the Highland Lick Road. Yet it’s secluded, too. The unpaved driveway to their home is nine-tenths of a mile long. They were snowbound at times last winter. Yet the transplanted northerners are happy in the South.

There was no house on their new land when they bought it. The Danas built their new home themselves, converting a three-sided tractor shed into a residence that has become their “Little House on the 100.”

Things haven’t been easy for them. Hemlock Semiconductor, which was to have been the economic mecca of the Greater Clarksville area, closed without ever opening. Glenn had enough seniority to return to his old home plant in Michigan, but the Danas like it here and decided to stay in Logan County.

Glenn found work at Sun Products in Bowling Green as maintenance leader. It’s more driving and not always the best working hours, but they are happy.

The Danas are avid hunters, and their land is ideal for that. Some of their friends from Michigan spent late fall days with them at the Little House on the 100 in quest of deer.

Jenn had been a Methodist in Michigan ever since her marriage. “I thought everyone in the South is Baptist, and I thought we would become Baptists, too, to blend in. But Joe Bailey Wright, who farms the land around us, kept inviting us to go with him and his wife Bobbie to Stevenson’s Chapel United Methodist Church. We finally accepted, just to stop him from asking. And we have been happy ever since being a part of that wonderful church family.”

It was some members of that church, David and Teresa Head, who gave the Danas the idea for the name “Crates for Christ.” They lead “Cooking for Christ” activities.

Stevenson’s Chapel members are glad to have the Danas in their midst, too. Many of them would come to see Jenn and Evan at the Farmers’ Market and visit happily. Recently the church conducted a Christmas Thrift Shop with low-price items for sale. The proceeds have been donated to Bro. Joe’s Family Christmas to help needy families. See Jenn’s Guest Article about that special event on The LoJo at http://www.theloganjournal.com/Stories.aspx?Article=guests344.

The avid reader turned gardener and homeschool teacher enjoys writing. She has her own website, www.littlehouseonthe100.com. “I’m passionate about telling people they don’t have to live the way the majority of society says you should live,” she says.

Jenn Dana is living the way she wants—homemaking, studying and schooling.

She’s also a greater believer in farmers’ markets and supporting local small businesses. She explained why in another Guest Article on the LoJo at http://www.theloganjournal.com/Stories.aspx?Article=guests330.

This weekend, Jenn Dana will be combining many of her passions—farming, small business and raising funds for those in need. Come see her, buy some crates, and support local businesses. You’ll find she’s a girl you ‘cain’t say no’ to.

 




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