Spring is finally here! As the days get warmer, gardeners and farmers across Atlanta are rolling up their sleeves and digging into the soil to prepare for the spring growing season. At Food Well Alliance, we are hard at work planning Soil Festival 2018!
We love bringing Atlanta’s local food community together at our annual Soil Festival. This year, we continue to raise awareness of how everyday compost practices that turn kitchen food scraps into healthy soil are essential for local growers to produce more sustainably grown, fresh food for our city.
Join us on Saturday, May 5 at Truly Living Well’s Collegetown Farm for Soil Festival 2018, just in time to celebrate International Compost Awareness Week (May 6-12). RSVP for Soil Festival 2018 here.
The free event is perfect for families, community and backyard gardeners, urban farmers, school groups and more. Everyone is invited to come and learn about the benefits of using compost to reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve and maintain high quality soil, protect the environment and grow healthy food.
Soil Festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of our partners, exhibitors and host committee members who collaborate with Food Well Alliance to put on a successful event each year. We’re excited to introduce you to our Soil Festival 2018 Host Committee!
J. OLU BAIYEWU
Organix Matters For All
J. Olu Baiyewu is director of Organix Matters for All. J. Olu is passionate about connecting with community through gardens, farmers markets, and CSA's and has been a leader in Atlanta's local food ecosystem for many years. With J. Olu as its leader, Organix Matters works to impact people and their ecosystems with healthy, practical, sustainable, culturally relevant, and equitable actions towards local food access and education. By partnering with a variety of community-based organizations, J. Olu and Organix Matters have led efforts to operate and expand the Fresh MARTA Markets thereby meeting people where they are with access to fresh and local food.
Kate is a SCAD grad and is intertwined in every aspect of the food industry. She works full time shooting for PeachDish, a sustainably sourced meal kit delivery service, illustrating the process from farm to table. When Kate isn't photographing, she is exploring new restaurants, traveling to visit family and friends or laying low with her doberman, Aoewa.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Food is important to me. In order to produce good food, you have to start from the ground up. Knowing where your food comes from and supporting sustainable farmers is essential to the health of ourselves and our community.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: I’m excited for all of the learning opportunities that Soil Festival will provide. Teaching people how to grow their own food is a powerful tool, and if not to grow, to appreciate healthy practices.
Atlanta Community Food Bank
Known for a tireless work ethic, energy and hands-on approach, Tami Boyd- Flowers is currently a Food Oasis Community Coordinator with the Food Bank. She works directly with the community to develop and implement resident-driven solutions to improve fresh and healthy food access and increase food security in the historic south and west side neighborhoods of Atlanta.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: Soil breathes life.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: This will be my first time attending the soil festival. I look forward to learning more about urban ag and school gardening opportunities that I can share with the communities where I live and work.
Westside Future Fund
Justin currently serves as Director of Partnerships for Westside Future Fund. In his role as director of partnerships, Justin works to establish cross-sector partnerships that drive progress across the organization’s key impact areas: Education, Health and Wellness, Safety and Security, and Mixed Income Communities/Affordable Housing.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Like our water supply, soil is fundamental to life on the only planet we’ve got.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: The prospect of seeing a diverse cross-section of the Atlanta community come together to learn how we can live more sustainably.
The Food History of the South; Family and Consumer Science Department, University of Georgia Cobb County Extension
Terri is an avid organic gardener who serves a Cobb Master Gardener. She is also a graduate of HABESHA Inc., an urban gardening training program, from which she graduated as the top female student in the 2014 class. She is always eager to do outreach in her community, teaching cooking classes as well as gardening classes. Terri is currently presenting a program called The Food History of The South, which traces the foods that we call Southern, soul, country and comfort foods back to their roots.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Soil is life, without it what would we have, where would we walk? Every living thing has a relationship with the soil either in birth, life, or death.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: I get excited about soil because I can continuously build better soil. I feel like I am building life.
Community Gardens Project, Atlanta Community Food Bank
Since 1997, the Atlanta Community Food Bank has been fortunate to have Fred Conrad leading its Community Gardens Project. In his role as Community Garden Manager, Fred and his volunteers currently support roughly 150 neighborhood community food gardens across metro Atlanta. In addition to bringing neighbors together to grow their own food, many of these gardens include therapeutic, philanthropic and educational elements.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Because gardening is hard work and you want the veggies to grow.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: Seeing so many foodie friends.
Natasha works to improve and create new commercial recycling infrastructure for the City of Atlanta. As senior recycling program coordinator, she brings the City closer to a solution for diverting large scale organic wastes for the purpose of turning it into useful compost. For Natasha, this is a dream come true and she can often be heard saying that working in this role means she doesn’t work a day in her life.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Creating healthy soil by properly recycling organics to create compost kills two birds with one stone: it helps to mitigate climate change by diverting organics from landfill where they degrade with no oxygen causing methane and it creates healthy food. Win, win!
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: Supporting and helping to further the work of an organization I’ve grown to love in my small time here in Atlanta. Food Well Alliance is my work-home away from home. Love y’all!
In her role as community and school garden coordinator, Becky enjoys assisting Extension agents and gardeners in creating sustainable gardens with healthy ecosystems. This includes organizing school garden teacher training with county agents, assisting schools with STE(A)M goals, and creating resources on starting and sustaining successful gardens. Becky is a Georgia Certified Beekeeper and works with community and school gardeners to increase beneficial insect habitat. In 2017, she created the Georgia Pollinator Census project.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Because healthy soil means healthy plants. Healthy plants are better able to fend off disease and pest issues. Healthy plants also produce a more abundant harvest for us.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: The chance to get together with other "soil lovers" to learn more about making our gardens healthy. I am very excited about this year's workshops!
Katherine Kennedy started her career in food as a farmer on a rooftop in New York City before returning to her hometown of Atlanta to start her own farm. She has lead horticultural therapy and occupational therapy programs on farms and now directs Concrete Jungle, a local nonprofit locating fruit trees around Atlanta and organizing picks to bring fruit to local shelters. Katherine is passionate about small scale farming, food access, special needs, and giving people the information to grow and pick their own.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Soil is the unique DNA of your location. The minerals and organisms living in your soil dictate the taste of the food you grow! An apple grown in Atlanta doesn't taste like an apple grown anywhere else in the world!
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018:
The kids area! Bring your kiddos and play around in different types of soil, learn about bees and harness the power of the sun to bake smores!
Born and raised in Michigan, Jamie moved to Atlanta after graduating with a degree in Religious Studies from Kalamazoo College. She is currently the purchasing manager at PeachDish, an Atlanta-based meal kit company with a focus on celebrating Southern Food and local, sustainable agriculture. When she's not working, Jamie likes to explore Atlanta restaurants with her husband, work in her garden, and play with her three dogs.
Why healthy soil is important to me: Soil is important to me because it’s the foundation for a healthy environment - from the insects and animals that live in it, to the plants that grow in it, the pollinators that facilitate plant growth, to the people and animals that live on those plants.
What excites me most about Soil Festival 2018: I’m so excited for people with all knowledge and experience levels to come together as a community and learn about composting, gardening, and eating local food!