Food Well Alliance, an organization committed to “uniting communities in Atlanta to build a robust, local food system,” has released what it’s calling the first-ever snapshot of Metro Atlanta’s local food system, “Atlanta’s Local Food Baseline Report.” The report combines research of more than 30 organizations, providing a snapshot of how urban farmers, gardeners and local food leaders are impacting communities in Metro Atlanta.
Localized urban food systems across the country are securing the foundation for a national shift toward healthier, sustainable cities, says the Alliance. The report illustrates how the 52 urban farms, more than 300 community gardens, 524 school gardens and 63 farmers markets in Atlanta align with this effort.
“The power of our city’s local food is not only supporting our urban farmers and community gardeners, and increasing access to healthy food. It is uniting the individuals, neighborhoods and local food organizations that share a common goal in building healthier communities,” said Food Well Alliance’s Bill Bolling, board chairman and senior advisor.
Key findings of the report include:
- Atlanta’s local food movement is increasing community vitality by fostering inclusive community hubs committed to growing more than food. The 63 farmers markets in Metro Atlanta are increasing access to fresh food and healthy social interaction.
- Urban farmers are helping grow a robust economy. Atlanta’s farmers need critical capacity-building resources and affordable housing to scale their efforts—from creating jobs to keeping dollars spent on local food production in-state.
- Urban growers are some of Atlanta’s best environmental stewards. With 80 percent of wasted food coming from homes and consumer-facing businesses, local farms and gardens are closing the loop by recycling scraps into compost.
- Local, sustainably grown food is some of the most nutritious available in Atlanta. However, about 25 percent of people in Metro Atlanta have no car and live more than half a mile from a grocery store. To combat this, a rising number of healthcare providers and urban growers are addressing the problem of healthy food access in low-income, low-access neighborhoods.