Atlanta’s local food system has something for everyone— from terrace rooftops to abandoned sidewalks, edible landscapes are popping up all over Metro Atlanta. You too can get in on the growing action.
Your organization or business could join the local food movement by growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables or supporting those who grow local.
Here are a few things to consider on your road to successful gardening.
How can I grow local food?
You can grow local food even if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. Start small with a container garden where your business or organization can showcase local food. Some local restaurants grow herbs, fruits and vegetables on-site for both kitchen use and as a way to have guests interact with their food.
If your organization or business is interested in enhancing the food supply of low-income families and individuals, ACFB’s Community Gardens coordinator can offer help with starting your community garden.
Here's a list of organizations that provide growing consultation services:
- Atlanta Food & Farm
- Shades of Green Permaculture Design, Inc.
- Metro Atlanta Urban Farm
- Truly Living Well
Also, take advantage of free information on DIYing your own garden planting and planning.
What will you grow?
Your organization— whether creating a small container plot or a larger farm— may find these resources helpful for planning. There are also several local landscaping groups that specialize in edible options.
- Georgia Organics offers a great planting calendar to help you navigate seasonal growing.
- The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Services also offer some great guides and tips for planting food in all types of spaces.
Why grow local food?
There are many great reasons for your business or organization to grow food. It not only tastes great, but locally grown food can be a powerful tool to reach other goals and needs.
- A Sense of Pride and Accomplishment
Even if your business or organization doesn’t need local food for its work, growing food can help reach organizational goals. The hands-on nature of growing builds skills, fosters fellowship and creates a long-lasting bond.
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Health Credits
Donating produce from a company garden to the local food bank is a way of demonstrating corporate commitment to the community. And in some cases, the physical activity of gardening counts as part of insurance and federal healthcare programs.
How do you get trained or certified to grow?
Would-be gardeners have plenty of opportunities to develop their green skills. Organizations in Metro Atlanta offer excellent training and certification programs.
- Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture offers a grower training program that provides 12 weeks of on-farm experience.
- HABESHA Works, offers a training opportunity in urban agriculture.
Want to use what you grow to feed others?
If you or your business/organization have grown more that you can use, your fresh produce and fruit can be donated. Some gardeners grow extra just to be able to give it away! Here are some options:
- The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Plant a Row for the Hungry lists drop off sites for those who wish to donate their extra harvest. Fresh food grown from your business or organization can reach your neighbors in need.
- Know of a tree that's loaded with fruit or nuts in your neighborhood? Concrete Jungle organizes volunteers to scout, harvest, clean and donate surplus produce to local shelters and food banks. They also have a cool interactive, crowd-sourced map of edible trees and bushes all around Atlanta.