Atlanta’s Urban Farms
A food desert is a term used to identify areas where there is a significant number of low-income residents who are at least one mile from the nearest supermarket. Having limited access to fresh produce can have a serious effect on residents’ health. In a city like Atlanta, where community plays a huge role in people’s lives, various programs have been put in place to combat this inequality. Cue the urban farms! In metro Atlanta, there are 300 community gardens and 50 urban farms. As well as giving residents better access to fresh produce, the farm volunteers are trying to change people’s attitude to where food comes from and encouraging sustainable projects.
K. Rashid Nuri
The idea of urban farms in Atlanta aligns with the city’s values (striving for community and equality) that it could only have been implemented by someone who truly understands the city. K.Rashid Nuri is an urban agriculturist, farmer, author, and vital member of the Atlanta community. In 2006, after having traveled extensively studying local food economies, he started Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture. The idea was to create a space for people to grow vegetables within the city so that they know exactly what they are consuming and have access to healthy produce. In short, they are committed to bringing good food, good health, and well-being to Atlanta’s urban community.
Nuri is passionate about changing people’s attitudes to farming and food production: “The commercial ag system in this country is broken. It doesn’t work. The food that is being produced is killing people. It’s not healthy and we’re making that change.” He speaks about the links between limited access to food sources and inequality in the community and has expressed that urban farms free residents from the control of large-scale supermarket chains. As you can see, there is so much more to this project than planting a few seeds.
The center aims to support all ages of the community, inviting elderly residents to the gardens to get exercise and socialize as well as inviting school classes to educational programs to lay the foundations of knowledge for the next generation.
Aluma Farm is located on the Atlanta BeltLine and is the first agriculture site on the corridor that runs around the heart of the city. It’s a pilot scheme by the BeltLine’s committee for an urban agriculture program across other sites.
The farm is run by farmers Andy and Andrea, who are both dedicated to organic urban farming. Their mission is to ensure that the food they grow in the community stays in the community. Something they achieve with their pop-up produce stand which is a hit with locals.
Visit a Farm
Truly Living Well offers plenty of opportunities for visitors to get to know the urban farms. From guided tours to education classes, a boot camp, and chef presentations on eating healthily, they want tourists to go home inspired by what they’ve seen in Atlanta. The tours also include farming and gardening tips, so you’ll go home full of new knowledge. Living in a city, it’s easy to disconnect from nature, but Truly Living Well fights against this tendency.
The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm in College Park is a great choice for a visit. They have a great variety of crops including okra, tomatoes, swiss chard, kohlrabi, and collards (with many varietals within those categories).