Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It goes on to say in 1:11-12, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds,’ and it was so.”
Flint River Fresh (FRF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit headquartered in Albany, seeks to increase access to fresh, local, affordable, healthy food for our neighbors, create new economic opportunity for local farmers and positively impact the lives of young people through agriculture. As Genesis suggests, God created sustenance for humankind before he created man. Over the generations as societies have become more urbanized, we have moved away from growing our own food and are almost totally dependent on corporations to provide for the most basic of need, food. Growing up in Albany, my father grew more than half of the food we ate, including meat, vegetables and corn for bread. In summers, it was probably more than ninety percent. The food was fresh and picked daily. He sold a good amount to local grocery stores as well.
Today, the gardens are gone and in south Albany, so are most of the supermarkets. There is only one grocery store south of Oglethorpe. This, at a time when there is increasing awareness of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. As we see the growing prevalence of chronic disorders like diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, etc., all evidence points to the lack of healthy foods and over reliance on processed and fast foods as a major contributing factor.
FRF believes that community gardens are outdoor classrooms that can teach residents how to grow their own groceries while emphasizing the importance of conserving our natural resources and providing a safe gathering space for children and neighbor commune. FRF aims to build community urban farms where vacant and abandoned lots are transformed into food oases and make fresh food more assessable to underserved neighborhoods. The stated goals of Flint River Fresh are:
– Create an Urban Farm Training Center with cold storage, commercial kitchen and packing facility,
– Expand Rarmer’s Markets on wheels to serve more communities throughout Southwest Georgia,
– Provide more locally produced food to schools, institutions, grocery stores, and restaurants,
– Develop videos and manuals to teach farmers how to diversify crop selections for new markets, and
– Build a farm-market-café model in low income and rural communities making it easy to choose tasty, hHealthy, convenient and truly affordable meals and groceries.
The group’s Executive Director is Fredando Jackson, also known as Farmer Fredo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.