Local food entrepreneurs increase local production of healthy food and revenue for farmers in Atlanta

Local food entrepreneurs in Atlanta are transforming the city through their commitment to food access, food justice and food security by growing healthy food to feed our communities and ensuring organic food waste is recovered to continue creating healthy soil.

From urban farmers to compost entrepreneurs, some of the inspiring leaders in Atlanta’s local food movement gathered to celebrate their achievements of 2016.

Entrepreneurs who received a Local Food Grant from Food Well Alliance last year came together on March 9 for an inspiring afternoon filled with many success stories.

Kim Karris, the Grants and Community Capital Manager, shared that collectively the 2016 cohort increased local production of healthy food in Atlanta, increased revenue for farmers from value-added products and increased recovery of food waste and awareness of healthy soil and compost last year through their hard work.

In addition, Karris shared the entrepreneurs also increased job opportunities for underserved and vulnerable adults and provided more schools, corner stores and healthy facilities with access to healthy, local food in 2016 through their businesses.

From increasing farm sustainability, working with youth to produce seedling to increasing productivity of local farming, each of the grant recipients leveraged their financial resources to help grow their capacity to strengthen Atlanta’s local food system.

Food Well Alliance believes the success of local food entrepreneurs will make or break Atlanta’s local food system. We are committed to connecting them to resources in order to build their capacity and reach to strengthen our local food system. Congratulations to the 2016 and their hard work.

Learn more about the Local Food Grant and Local Food Grant recipients. And check out below how the 2016 Local Food Grant recipients increased their capacity to impact Atlanta’s local food system.

Economic Development

Covenant House: Greenhouse seedling enterprise training and development with homeless and at-risk youth across metro Atlanta

  • Developed new partnerships

  • Youth produced seedlings for fire stations, community gardens and farmers market

  • Produce local food for shelter cafeteria


Friendship Center of Atlanta, Inc: Greenhouse and garden transitional employment program in Ormewood Park for adults living with mental illness

  • Hired gardeners

  • Serves as a vendor at Community Farmers Market

  • Built new raised beds


Georgia’s Farmers Market Association: Non-profit organization working to strengthen farmers markets and increase food access in communities across the state

  • Increased access to healthy food produced locally

  • Inclusion of different cultural groups in the market

  • Targeted outreach for unrepresented groups


Gwinnett Technical College: Whole food systems management training on student production farm in Lawrenceville

  • Ground-breaking on the urban agriculture farm area and expansion project

  • Increased productivity of local farming

  • Engaged over 260 volunteers, 840 hours


Southwest Atlanta Growers Cooperative: Membership cooperative development for socially disadvantaged farmers in Southwest Atlanta

  • Increased membership

  • Hosted membership convenings/meetings

  • Increased capacity


Urban Sprout Farms: Organic farm expanding production and infrastructure in Lakewood Heights

  • Installed irrigation well

  • Increased local food production

  • Increased farm sustainability


West End Community Urban Garden: Production and value-added processing expansion in West End

  • Operations now include a greenhouse

  • Increased productivity of local farming enterprise

  • Received license, permits, and certifications necessary to prepare food products for market


Health & Nutrition

Eyedrum: Rooftop community and artist garden development in South Downtown Atlanta

  • Built 15 garden beds

  • Data analysis and administrative work to build on a rooftop


Gilliam’s Community Garden: Local egg production and elementary school egg-incubation curriculum in Oakland City

  • Expanded healthy food and protein choices

  • Built additional chicken coops

  • Expanded egg production


Lilburn Farmers Market: Customer incentive programming and market expansion in Lilburn

  • Increased market attendance

  • 30 percent increase in SNAP/EBT transactions


FCS Urban Ministries - Carver Neighborhood Market: Locally-sourced prepared foods for Historic South Atlanta neighborhood residents

  • Consistent stock of local produce

  • Partnership with local chefs to develop healthy food options using locally sourced ingredients

  • Strengthened local economy through supporting local farms and creating jobs


Open Hand Atlanta, Inc: Locally-sourced nutritional care program for low-income adults with chronic illness at Grady Clinic and Clayton County

  • Increased access to food produced locally

  • More families introduced to local agriculture

  • Improved health outcomes


Wholesome Wave Georgia: Healthy food incentive marketing and programming at farmers markets in greater Gwinnett

  • Matched more SNAP/EBT dollars at farmers markets

  • More than $19,000 worth of healthy food for SNAP/EBT recipients

  • Increased access to healthy food produced locally


Environmental Stewardship

Compostwheels: Bicycle-based household compost collection from neighborhoods to farms in metro Atlanta

  • Employed more staff

  • Increased use of compost with partner farmers

  • Increased bike collection from homes


Love Is Love Farm: Innovative and efficient aerated compost tea system for increased local food production in East Lake

  • Introduced compost tea to production management system

  • Increased access to compost

  • Increased awareness of compost and on-farm innovation


Terra Nova Compost: Community Compost Advocate Training Program— to advance local soil building by training community leaders in the art and science of composting

  • Trained adults in community composting with 100% attendance rate

  • Built a 3-bin compost system in public garden for use by all

  • Diverted organic material from the landfill for feedstock for thermophilic composting at Lake Claire Land Trust