Sometimes when you grow up in a family business, your first instinct is to escape that life and do something different. Today’s People of Blount County, Destiny Allman Gladden, did just that. As a 2011 Appalachian High School alumni, a 2013 Snead State alumni, and a 2016 UAB alumni, Destiny was “done with farming” and set her sights on marketing. After all, she had a degree in management with a minor in marketing and the possibilities were endless.
Destiny spent a couple of combined years with the Allison Insurance Agency and Alaco Discount Pharmacy before working a little more than six years with Payless Drugs where she was a pharmacy tech and a marketing director. Her marketing career was off to a good start.
Throughout this eight-plus year journey, Destiny was doing what she had set out to do. But something in her heart simply did not feel right. Deep down she knew that her heart was still where she was raised – at the farm. Destiny realized that she loved being there and that was where she wanted to raise a family when the time came.
In 2019, Destiny married a local lad and instantly became the step-mother of a now 9-year-old stepson. While getting married with an instant family required some adjustment, Destiny seized the moment. She has always loved children and loved being an aunt. Having a bonus son just felt right. Family is important to her and most of her free time is spent with those she loves.
In addition to having the love of a human family, Destiny is the mom of three dogs and a pig. She describes being a fur mom as “awesome.”
Down time for Destiny and husband Colby includes fishing, riding razors, or just simply hanging with the family crew. One thing she and Colby especially enjoy together is attending concerts. Although it can be an expensive hobby, Destiny describes her and Colby as “eclectic” with a diverse taste of music ranging from country to rock.
Destiny loves to travel. She has been able to travel overseas twice where she visited Italy, Paris, and London. She also has set her sights on visiting all of the national parks and major league baseball parks over the next few years. Destiny has only visited one national park and two baseball parks thus far, but hey, you have to start somewhere.
Now days, when you visit the family produce stand, you will likely find Destiny there helping run the show and working side-by-side with her parents or brother. She is grateful for the opportunity to be right back where it all started. Being on the farm is truly her happy place.
Destiny has not just pushed her degree aside, though. She has been able to incorporate her business management and marketing skills into the family business. Destiny utilizes social media almost daily to promote the farm and she has also held some agriculture education classes for local and out-of-county students.
Being back on the farm has also provided opportunities for students from Jefferson County and a few private schools to take a farm tour and see firsthand the hard work that goes into getting food from the farm to the table. To Destiny, teaching people how agriculture and farming affects the economy is vital.
Destiny would love to add an agri-tourism farm to their commercial farm, but right now it is not feasible. The thought of having a variety of teaching opportunities through something like a pumpkin patch or other activities makes Destiny’s heart full. To her it’s all about educating as many people as possible about farming, the hard work it takes to thrive, and that fruit and vegetables don’t just magically appear at your local store or market.
Outside of the family business, Destiny has been involved in the community to also help promote and educate others about agriculture. She is currently serving on the 4-H Adult Advisory Board and the Agri-Business Board. Previously she has served on the Alfa Young Farmers Board.
Destiny has embraced the fact that she is truly a fifth generation farmer and she is proud of that fact. She and Colby live a mere mile from where Destiny was raised, but they remain on family land. They are expecting a baby in November and, who knows, that little bundle of love may just be the start of the sixth generation farmer.