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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Food Alliance Finds Mix of Hope, Need in Atlanta

The Food Well Alliance recently released “Atlanta’s Food Baseline Report,” a 40-page document examining Metro Atlanta’s agricultural history and present food realities. Twenty-five percent, or more than 800,000 people in Metro Atlanta, have no car and live more than half a mile from a grocery store, according to the report. The diets for this population tend to be highly processed, high calorie and low in nutrition.

But the report finds a rising number of health care providers are addressing this issue by educating the public on the importance of local food and good gardening practices. For instance, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and The Fresh MARTA Market, a division of Community Farmers Markets (CFM), have partnered to form public farmers markets along Atlanta’s public transit lines.

In 2016, the four existing Fresh MARTA Markets sold more than 15,000 pounds of produce, 20 percent from local farmers, according to CFM’s website, Another Food Well report finding is that urban gardens are “clustered” in the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods, where they are “arguably making the greatest impact.”

“Community gardens have transformed lives by increasing food security and serving as beacons of light in neighborhoods that before had no access to healthy and nutritious foods,” states the report.

Food Well Alliance also reports that organizations such as Concrete Jungle and Fruit Forward Orchards are preserving more than 2,800 edible fruit trees of more than 20 different varieties that are mitigating storm-water runoff and soil erosion in urban Atlanta.

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