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Summer 2018

We connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families

Small Farms: Training for beginning farmers P.6

New Opportunities: Organic Peanut Project P.7

From Our Members: Feeding baby Ernest P.11

SAVE THE DATE TIFTON, GA FEB. 8-9, 2019 Accepting Board Nominations Current members of Georgia Organics are invited to provide nominations of candidates to serve on the Board of Directors. The board supports Georgia Organics' mission to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. To nominate someone for the board online, go to: https://tinyurl.com/GOBOARD18

Deadline is August 1, 2018 Georgia Organics is asking for YOUR help to provide direct support for local farmers. In this issue, we are supporting Hungry Heart Farm and Dietary Consulting. Hungry Heart Farm is a 1.5 acre Certified Organic vegetable operation in Clayton County run by Matthew Bagshaw and Christi Hansen, RDN, LD, and their incredible staff.


UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT Georgia Organics is now managing The Farmer Fund to support farmers facing loss from natural disasters. Georgia Organics is grateful for the leadership of Lauren Carey and Darla Synnestvedt who founded The Farmer Fund in 2015 and to the many people who have contributed to the fund’s development. Georgia Organics is currently working on adopting the Farmer Fund into our Farmer Services wing. Stay tuned for more information later this year.


New, used or cash contributions for Hungry Heart Farm to establish an outdoor on-farm nutrition classroom: Hungry Heart Farm is partnering with Georgia Organics to lead tours and classes for healthcare professionals as part of a Food is Medicine campaign. If you would like to contribute materials or cash, contact Sarah Hart, sarah@georgiaorganics.org or 404-481-5000.

Utility Trailer, 4' x 7' or 4' x 8' ($700)

If you are a member with a Certified Organic farm and interested in an extra wish of donated goods or contributions of $1,000 or less, contact Georgia Organics.

EZ - Up Tent, 10' x 10' ($125)

Marine Grade Plywood, 4' x 8' sheet ($60) Composite Decking, 12 pieces of 6" x 1" x 8' composite decking, neutral color ($400)

Corrugated Metal Roofing two 2' x 10' pieces ($50)



Helping Farmers Stand Tall Have you ever really looked at the Georgia Organics logo? 200 Ottley Drive NE Ste. A Atlanta, GA 30324

A little farmer is bent over. Earnestly tending the earth.


Can you feel the heat underneath her hat?


vice chair


Can you see the blended browns staining the rim from the sweat on her brow?


past chair


Can you feel the pinch and strain in her back? OUCH! There is no skirting the physicality of farming outdoors nor the weight our society places on the backs of our farmers. This load won’t lighten any time soon as farmers play an increasingly vital role in solving health, community, and climate challenges.


My commitment is that Georgia Organics will always have the backs of our farmers. That’s why we’re creating an Organic Farmer Impact Fund to solidify the core of our daily work around the work of our farmers.


A vital component of our American ethos and heritage is the honor and appreciation directed toward our farmers. This new fund will deliver on this long-standing reverence for Georgia’s organic growers.

STAFF ALICE ROLLS president & ceo PERRI CAMPIS farmer services coordinator

KIMBERLY DELLA DONNA farm to school director

JILL GERAGHTY conference coordinator

SUZANNE GIRDNER community outreach manager

SARAH HART operations & volunteer


ABBIE KING farm to school manager

KIMBERLY KOOGLER farm to school assistant

Georgia Organics will also work to seed advocates and eaters of local, organic food. I carry no food police credentials. I definitely enjoy my bag of Fritos every now and again, but prioritizing organic and healthy food choices are some of our most important spending decisions, regardless of our monthly budget. I have seen plenty with means dismiss local, organic vegetables to save 50 cents, but then grab the expensive nutritiously bankrupt processed foods that bypass local economies and environmental renewal.

White Oak is now the largest employer in their county. Through “in-sourcing”, they balance their status as a family and community farm. It took many years for them to scale locally, building their own on-farm processing and recycling dollars in their rural economy. Farmers are also finding each other to create scale and efficiencies. Collective Harvest in Athens and the West Georgia Farmers Cooperative are two business models where farmers are having success reaching consumers and wholesale markets together. Through models like these, the farmer in our logo stands tall, Atlas-style. That is why farmer prosperity is at the heart of Georgia Organics' vision. Georgia Organics is developing an Organic Farmer Impact Fund to invest more heavily in direct services for farmers. This fund will support farmers in becoming smart producers and entrepreneurs while shifting the marketplace to build community health and wealth long-term. This issue of The Dirt highlights some of those newer direct services: providing healthcare for emerging farmers; natural disaster funding; and the Journeyman Program to create an on-ramp for new farmers. Georgia Organics is looking for partners - individuals and businesses of all sizes - who want to seed this meaningful work over the next five years. If you or someone you know would like to collaborate with us to make a big impact, please reach out. Strong backs will require an even stronger backbone, so join us in lifting our organic farmers in the years ahead.

ANDREW LADD director of operations

SUMER LADD community outreach coordinator

ANGEL MILLS communications coordinator

PORTER MITCHELL development coordinator

JEFF ROMIG director of development

We must grasp our power to create change through these seemingly small choices. We implore small farmers to keep prices artificially low, essentially running many of them out of business. Thus, the push to scale, scale, scale perpetuates capitalization and often corporatization at the national and international level.

Yours in healthy foods, farms and families,

AMBER SUITT director of programs

MICHAEL WALL farmer services director

@georgiaorganics /GeorgiaOrganics @georgiaorganics georgia-organics-inc

Money equals power in America. If we are going to increase the market share of organic foods and farms, we must do our part to help organic farmers find success, build wealth, and create generational business sustainability. Dollars traded locally build community wealth.

Alice Rolls President & CEO

Achieving this will take time. White Oak Pastures is a model example of building community wealth in Bluffton.


Passing the Torch: The Good Food Movement Must Support Black Farmers BY ANGEL MILLS

R “I don’t think we can afford to sit back and just watch anymore. People are going to have to move and do something and Georgia Organics is a good place to start.”

ashid is a change agent. During his more than 40 years of service in global agriculture, he has assisted public, private, and community-based business in 35+ countries and served as a USDA appointee for four years during the Clinton administration. Regarded as a foremost thought leader on urban farming, Rashid is the CEO and President of Truly Living Well (TLW) in metro Atlanta. Rashid founded TLW in 2006 and stewarded the organization as it grew from a small plot of backyard land to a sustainable organic farm on Washington Road in East Point. TLW also recently opened its Collegetown Farm & Education Center in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta. TLW harvests fresh produce year round, which it makes widely available to community members, specifically SNAP recipients and those with limited access to fresh food. TLW also hosts workshops and classes to teach aspiring farmers and gardeners about healthy farming practices. Last year, Georgia Organics hosted our 20th Anniversary conference in Atlanta where we presented Rashid with the 2017 Land Stewardship Award to recognize him for his immense leadership and sacrifice to our movement. “Just stand up, do the work, provide the leadership, and continue to put the energy into that which you believe in,” said Rashid during his acceptance speech. “I don’t think we can afford to sit back and just watch anymore. People are going to have to move and do something and Georgia Organics is a good place to start.”

Photo credit Chris Martin

Doing something, according to Rashid, should be centered around supporting urban agriculture and small rural farms. “Small and urban farmers comprise significant segments of the Georgia Organics constituency, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. Greater support should be given to these folk,” he said. Rashid’s contributions to Georgia’s agricultural community and to The Good Food Movement are unparalleled. “As the former Georgia Organics Board Chair, Rashid helped forge the Georgia Organics that exists today,” says President & CEO Alice Rolls. “He pushed us to be more inclusive. He taught us how to think critically about making sure there were farmers of color and the voices of those who've been historically oppressed at the table."


These marginalized voices include Black farmers who battle racist farming and land policies impeding their effort to procure land and bequeath land ownership and wealth generationally. The absence of Black farmers at the table continues to stymie the Good Food Movement by isolating important perspectives and potential solutions to our problems. Although Georgia Organics has come a long way in addressing the lack of inclusivity in the Good Food Movement during the past 21 years, we still have more work to do. When asked about how the Georgia Organics constituency can support Black farmers specifically Rashid said the following,


“Past efforts to connect Black farmers with commercial Big Ag were wrongheaded and counterproductive. The new food movement has created a local food economy that we can now expand. In order to grow, we have to link small farmers of all ethnicities with outlets for sales, resources and training. Growers of all agricultural products - produce, meat and added value products require supports similar to the ones that Big Ag receive from the government - subsidies, loan guarantees, infrastructure development and regulatory assistance. Supports from academia, foundations, community philanthropists and local consumers are also necessary if we are to build a system that is healthy for farmers, consumers and the environment.” Support for small midscale sustainable Black growers are typically found in the Farm Bill. Unfortunately, this support is piece meal and just a drop in the bucket compared to support for large conventional agriculture. “I would like to see the new Farm Bill address land ownership, particularly for black farmers who have been historically dispossessed,” said Rashid. “Food self-sufficiency, food security and food sovereignty for all people, rural and urban, are all great concerns. The farm bill can address these issues.” Although we now live in a society where eating local, organic food and living sustainably are culturally trendy, organizations and farms working to make good food for all face more threats than ever before. The most recent version of the Farm Bill would have drastically reduced or eliminated many of the support programs Rashid, and other small rural and urban farmers champion. Although an earlier version of the bill was defeated by the U.S. House of Representatives, by the time this edition of The Dirt is published, Congress could enact another version of the Farm Bill. This version could support or undermine billions of dollars in investments for a better food and farm future. Earlier this year, Rashid announced that he will be stepping down from his post at TLW and recruiting a predecessor. Rashid’s retirement from TLW is representative of the beginning of a new era for agriculture in Georgia and nationally. This era is one of uncertainty for small farmers. Now more than ever, we must uplift our farmers, especially those who’ve been ostracized from the Good Food Movement previously. The proposed cuts to the Farm Bill demonstrate an attempt to target Black farmers. Black farmers continue to fight an uphill battle in order to own and operate farms independently. The work Black farmers do to feed and educate our most devastated communities is indispensible and therefore we must support them.

Below are the thoughts of several Black farmers and advocates we know and love regarding the next Farm Bill. Read, reflect, then do your part to impart change.

“Black farmers are looking for accessto funding resources, markets, and technical assistance and outreach. Access can be maintained and strengthened by ensuring that key programs such EQIP and SNAP stay alive. Outreach can be maintained by ensuring survival and continued funding of critical programs such as 2501.” - Eric Simpson, West Georgia Farmer’s Cooperative

“I would like to see stronger support for infrastructure development for Black farmers. Farming is not just growing food or raising livestock but also processing, packaging and selling it. The difference between having infrastructure to do this or not means success or failure. We need more programs supporting this work.” - Brennan Washington, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education / Phoenix Gardens

“Black Farmers should be concerned with programs such as the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs and Organic Certification CostShare losing funding. Both of these programs reduce financial barriers and allow farmers to take advantage of the fast growing local demand for their produce and specialty products. The single most important thing a Black farmer can do right now, is go to his/her member of Congress' field office and let them know these programs are beneficial for both farmers and the surrounding economy. The second most important thing a Black farmer can do, is to make sure national farming organizations, with boots-on-the ground in Washington D.C., understand the Black farmers' needs and priorities. The one thing the Black farmer cannot afford to do this Farm Bill cycle is to stay quiet.” - Gabraelle Lane, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group


Trainings For Local Farmers Provide Hope for Small Farming BY TENISIO SEANIMA It seems most families in the U.S. fellowship around dinner tables possessing little-tono awareness of who grows their food and where the act took place. This consumer grasp frequently takes a back seat to the fragrances and flavors rendered from range burners, oven cavities, and microwave roasters due to a widening proximity between the spreads and soils of this country’s modern agriculture dominion. As this proverbial aperture widens in Georgia, its need for rehabilitation has become painfully obvious. The number of farms in Georgia decreased from approximately 300,000 in the 1920s to less than 50,000 at the turn of the new millennium. While the number of farms in Georgia has drastically dwindled, large-scale growing operations are continuing to increase in size, signaling that fewer small farmers are participating in Georgia’s top industry. So, as “big ag” further perpetuates this schism, what solutions lie ahead for “small-farming” to forge a pathway towards success? One answer is the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program (JFCP). JFCP is a comprehensive training program for beginning farmers hosted by the University of Georgia (UGA) and funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Agriculture (NIFA) Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program. Georgia Organics partnered with UGA and other state partners to help new farmers obtain training in: • Small Farm Business Planning • Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production • Hands-on Production Training


What solutions lie ahead for “small-farming” to forge a pathway towards success? Ashley Pinkston

Journeyman Farmer Program graduates and facilitators at the 2018 Georgia Organics Conference & Expo in Feb.

JFCP partners recognized the program graduates at the 21st Annual Georgia Organics Conference & Expo in February. When the pilot period of JFCP expires this spring, over 200 Georgians will have received education in professional, sustainable, agricultural techniques and more than 40 will have officially completed the holistic curriculum. JFCP has taken on a life beyond the triennial USDA funding period. Classes have already taken place in Carroll, Forsyth, and Lowndes Counties respectively. As the destiny of food hangs in a proverbial balance between falling into the hands of large-scale biotechnology exclusively and propelling local-farm practitioners into the future, it is the time-honored traditions of small-scale agrarians that inspire the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program. We hope that you too see its value and will stand with us to plant the next seed for our progeny to be favored with.

participated in the program managed by Dougherty County Extension. Ashley grew up working with her grandfather on his farm. “My experience with [him] typically involved maintenance and harvesting of plants. However, I didn’t learn much about planting.” When Ashley finished the program, her proficiency level in planting and general farming increased significantly.

Brandon Bryant and Dontavious Dean,

sibling entrepreneurs , both attended the program at the Dekalb County Extension Office. According to Brandon, “I’ve been interested in the life cycle of plants since childhood. However, it wasn’t until I was an adult and co-started an urban landscaping company with my brother that I became really hands on with agriculture. I feel we are taking on a family tradition as I talk to my grandparents about their life experiences on the family farm in East Georgia.” Both siblings increased their knowledge of farming by 60 percent after concluding their training this past October.

Bring JFCP to Your County

A phone call or visit to your local extension office is the first step toward encouraging the arrival of JFCP in your state territory. Interested farmers will first attend the Small-Farm Business Planning trainings followed by Small Fruit and Vegetable Production training or Small Ruminant Production training, depending on your desired track. Specific counties will also offer Hands-On Production training. To learn which counties will offer not only this supplementary training but also the entire Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program, contact Emily Cabrera at (706) 542-8084 or emcabrera@uga.edu.



Georgia Organics and Kaiser Permanente Partner to Offer Free Health Insurance to Atlanta-area Farmers According to TIME magazine, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Two out of three farmers and ranchers report having a pre-existing condition. The inherent dangers of the work and narrow farm profit margins make the cost of health insurance premiums challenging for many farmers. Consequently, it is important to advocate for improved healthcare access and affordability for farmers while exploring innovative options to decrease this financial burden. In partnership with the Kaiser Bridge Program and the Food Well Alliance, Georgia Organics launched its insurance enrollment pilot program in 2017. The Kaiser Georgia Bridge Program aims to provide uninsured metro Atlanta farmers with up

to two years of free health insurance under their KPIF GA Gold 500/20 plan or Signature Gold 500/20 plan. Enrollment in the Bridge Program offers access to many health services with no monthly premium, copay or deductible for up to 24 months. Georgia Organics developed a dedicated page on the Georgia Organics website to educate farmers on the importance of health insurance, useful tools to navigate the marketplace, as well as other potential health care resources farmers could leverage to meet their needs. Georgia Organics also successfully completed paperwork that provided 10 farmers and three farmer dependents with free health insurance for up to 24 months. These farmers will now have better access

to preventative health care, emergency care, and prescription coverage. Georgia Organics continues to develop opportunities for affordable health insurance to farmers statewide. Kaiser Bridge program enrollees will have the opportunity to be part of the first-ever farmer insurance cohort. Through this cohort, enrollees will participate in educational workshops and will be able to provide feedback regarding their experience in the enrollment program. c

Learn more about healthcare for farmers at georgiaorganics.org/ forfarmers/health-insurance or email Farmer Services Coordinator Perri Campis at perri@georgiaorganics.org

Georgia Organics and SAAFON Partner to Expand Economic Opportunity for Historically Underserved Farmers

rate is over 30 percent, more than 10 percentage points greater than the state average, and African Americans comprise more than half of all SNAP participants.”

Georgia Organics and Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON) are working together to build the organic peanut industry in Georgia. With generous support from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach and other stakeholders including the Turner Foundation, Georgia Grinders, and the University of Georgia, the grant aims to motivate farmers to enter the organic peanut market by:

“This is a great day for agriculture in Georgia,” says Donn Cooper of Cooper Agricultural Services, a consultant on the project. “I believe this project has incredible potential to create transformative opportunities for socially disadvantaged, veteran, and beginning farmers in the state. The peanut industry in Georgia is the envy of other farm sectors across the world, and it’s only natural that Georgia peanuts would be an innovative gateway for farmers of all stripes to serve the burgeoning organic market."


• Implement two organic peanut demonstration sites, one in Southeast Georgia and one in the Southwest region of the state • Create educational materials and references for farmers, including a webpage dedicated to organic peanut production • Develop supply chain infrastructure and marketplace “Although South Georgia is a powerhouse of agriculture, farming has not created equitable financial gain and employment opportunities in South Georgia, and the African American community is especially disadvantaged,” says Georgia Organics’ Director of Farmer Services Michael Wall. “Among the target project area, the average poverty

Georgia Organics and SAAFON recognize organic peanuts as an untapped economic opportunity for African American farmers in South Georgia. With an estimated 1.7 million tons of peanuts, Georgia’s record crop amounted to 54 percent of total U.S. production. Organic peanuts in particular often sell for more than three times conventional peanuts, although the vast majority are produced in Texas where production pressures are fewer.

According to new survey results from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the demand for organic food continues to grow, reinforcing the potential economic gain for historically underserved farmers in Georgia.

Contact Farmer Services Coordinator Perri Campis for more information regarding this project at perri@georgiaorganics.org




Organic Gardening Workshop & Beer co hosted with 5 Seasons Westside March 27, 2018 Atlanta

Farm to School Workshop for Educators July 27, 2018 Floyd County Schools

S-SAWG Conference Jan. 18-21, 2018 Chattanooga, TN

National Good Food Network Conference March 27, 2018 Albuquerque, NM

Kids Day on the Farm (in collaboration with the Atlanta Science Festival, Community Farmers Markets, and Truly Living Well) March 18, 2018 Truly Living Well, Atlanta

Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival July 15, 2018 Atlanta

Food Oasis Events

Farm to School Events

Augusta Potluck + Pitch Sept. 13, 2018 Augusta

Farm to School Workshop for School Nutrition Managers July 26, 2018 Glascock County Schools

Farm to School Workshop for School Nutrition Managers July 23, 2018 Oconee County Schools

UGA Public Health Leadership Academy, bi-monthly for the year April 24-25, 2018 Athens

Farmer Services Events

Upcoming Events

Georgia Organics Around the State


Water and Employee Training Workshop Feb. 2, 2018 Albany

Georgia Food Oasis Food Council Training with Mark Winne May 10, 2018 Macon

Farm to Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative Kick Off Workshop Feb. 3, 2018 Macon

Columbus Potluck + Pitch Sept. 27, 2018 Columbus

Farm to School for Extension Agents March 27, 2018 Henry County Extension Office

2019 Georgia Organics Conference & Expo Feb. 8-9, 2019 Tifton

Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference Jan. 11-14, 2018 Savannah

Georgia Family Connection Partnership Conference Oct. 3, 2018 Jekyll Island

Georgia Planning Association Conference Sept. 7, 2018 Jekyll Island

201 Farm to School for Educators and Support Staff March 28, 2018 Effingham County Schools

Water and Employee Training Workshop March 1, 2018 Gordon

2018 Georgia Organics Conference & Expo Feb. 16-17, 2018 Augusta

Food Safety on Small Farms: One Year Later BY BOBBY LOSH-JONES BABE + SAGE FARM

knives and clippers, broken shovels, and the ubiquitous MOUNDS of drip tape and other plastic that we will find a way to recycle one day. We still have many of these unsightly messes around the farm, but we’ve tried to eliminate them from the most important hubs of activity as much as possible. Chelsea likens the process of getting rid of farm junk to Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Last year, Chelsea and I wrote two articles about implementing new food safety practices on our small produce farm. Since last spring, we’ve hosted a public GAP WalkThrough on our farm with Global Growers and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association; organized and participated in a Produce Safety Alliance FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training with the National Young Farmers Coalition and UGA Cooperative Extension; and hosted a Water Testing and Employee Training Workshop with Global Growers. Needless to say, the food safety practices on our farm have improved greatly! In this edition of The Dirt, we’ll reflect on what we’ve learned about food safety on small farms over the past year. We encounter many small growers who are leery of the new FSMA regulations and food safety practices in general. Though implementing a food safety plan may seem daunting or overwhelming, we’ve found that many of the actual food safety practices required by FSMA or a GAP audit are not difficult to implement. However, writing and implementing a food safety plan on your farm is a process. Farmers should tackle food safety on their farm one practice at a time by implementing the simplest solutions first. On our farm, the biggest gains in food safety and peace of mind have come from cleaning up the clutter. Like many farms, we maintained “resource piles” of scrap lumber, extra greenhouse parts,


While eliminating clutter from the farm eliminates possible paths for the spread of pathogens, tidying up also makes the farm a more joyful and efficient place to work. This transformation is most apparent at our wash station. In reality, we did not actually change much. We spent time sorting through everything to determine what was truly necessary and then stored it properly with labels. We created Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cleaning and sanitizing, then posted signs to remind us how to do it properly every time. At the end of the day, we make sure everything goes back in the right spot. Every surface gets cleaned thoroughly now because there’s no clutter in the way. And we remember to put things away, clean, and sanitize because there are simple signs reminding us to put things away, clean, and sanitize. It sounds so simple, but these simple food safety practices have transformed our wash station into a much more enjoyable and efficient place to work. During our year of food safety education, we learned a lot about preventing the spread of pathogens on and off our farm. More importantly, though, we’ve thought through the formal and informal systems on our farm, systematized them, and discovered a much more efficient and joyful farm to

work on. Implementing a food safety plan on your farm is a process, so we’re still trying to continuously improve. Now we know those improvements will make our food safer, our farm more enjoyable, and our business more efficient.

DAILY TOOL CARE harvest tools live on the magnetic strip sharpen before you leave using tool sharpener hanging on the wall take only what you need practice safe carrying methods bring tools back after each vegetable harvested rinse, soap-up, scrub, rinse, and lay to dry on a paper towel return to magnetic strip

babe+sage farm sign

Quick Tip Make it Easy to Wash Your Hands You may feel like you spend a lot of time digging in the dirt and hand washing on the farm is a waste of time. But hand washing is the number one best practice to prevent the spread of pathogens on your farm, including the spread of flu and cold among your crew and customers. Furthermore, washing your hands keeps your hands looking and feeling nicer, which may hurt your farmer street cred but definitely helps you feel more like a normal human being in society.



When my son, Ernest, turned 4 months old, we began introducing him to pureed food. Our pediatrician encouraged us to try all sorts of food. I never thought twice about what kind of food to feed my child. My husband and I highly value eating local and organic food and supporting such food systems, and hope to pass an understanding of these values to our son. We changed the lyrics in “Old McDonald Had a Farm” to “Young Will Powers Has a Farm” as a reference to a farmer-friend in our community (Will Powers, Pastures of Rose Creek). I often bring my son to pick up our Collective Harvest CSA box and to the Athens Farmers Market when I purchase extra veggies. My hope is that he will learn from an early age the importance of local farms, farmers, and fresh food. I want him to appreciate good food and community! Consequently, when my son’s pediatrician told us to have fun with food, I dove right in. We started with oatmeal. He loved it. I mixed in some cinnamon. He loved it even more. From there we tried a variety of local green veggies - spinach and kale with and without garlic, collard greens, arugula with olive oil, and broccoli. He loved them all. Then we threw in some beets, carrots, butternut squash with and without coconut milk, sweet potatoes, lentils with rosemary, and white beans with thyme.

My husband and I highly value eating local and organic food and supporting such food systems, and hope to pass an understanding of these values to our son.

I make his food by steaming the produce then pureeing it using an immersion blender to puree it to a smooth liquid consistency. Often I’ll just make extra of whatever my husband and I are making for ourselves, and set aside some without salt to puree for him. If I’m making a bigger batch just for him, I use silicone trays to freeze it. I also found a reusable squeezy cup to use for homemade and much more environmentally friendly “pouches” that seem so popular with older babies and parents. I was raised on boxed macaroni and cheese and canned ravioli. I don’t judge any parents who take that route with food. And I realize that many parents don’t have the luxury to make their own baby food or have trouble accessing local organic food. I am privileged to have the ability to buy fresh produce from my local farmers market and turn it into food for my baby. I want to do my part to help make fresh food more easily available to all, as I believe it is a human right to access fresh local and organic food, and if a parent wishes to provide such food for their child they should be able to do so. I’m sure once my baby becomes older he will develop his own opinions and choices around food that will differ from mine. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy taking him to farms and farmers markets and seeing him look ridiculously cute with smears of fresh veggies all over his face.


Georgia Organics Member Spotlight: 2018 RECAP

On Feb. 16-17, Georgia Organics hosted the 21st Annual Conference & Expo in Augusta, Ga. Local organic farmers Loretta and Sam Adderson of Adderson’s Fresh Produce were awarded the Land Stewardship Award for their work mentoring up-and-coming farmers throughout Augusta. Kim Hines was awarded the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award for her work empowering farmers and community members to grow and eat organic through her organization Augusta Locally Grown. Chef Steven Satterfield delivered the keynote address at the Farmers Feast on the evening of Feb. 17. Satterfield is the Executive Chef and Co-owner of Miller Union in Atlanta and author of Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons. His speech titled “The Value of Food” discussed society’s devaluation of food and the importance of minimizing food waste.

Other conference highlights: Composted food waste for soil enrichment through partnership with SMART Recycling U.S. Offered 57 educational workshops and sessions with top-notch speakers Led 9 farm tours around the metro Augusta area Hosted an Expo with 50+ exhibitors, which provided vital networking and business development opportunities Enjoyed delectable food provided by local, organic farms and prepared by outstanding chefs


Wande Okonuren-Meadows Early Childhood Program Administrator at Little Ones Learning Center Little Ones Learning Center provides a safe, developmentally appropriate environment for preschool and school age children. How did you become interested in Georgia Organics’ work?

Why does Georgia Organics’ work matter to you?

I was always interested, but ignorantly thought that everyone at Georgia Organics was vegan or vegetarian and their mission was to spread vegetarianism across the state. How blind I was! But now I am found! So it wasn't until I learned about the various facets of the organization that I realized Georgia Organics is so much more than "just veggies."

The work of Georgia Organics paves the way to ensure the generations we leave behind will be in a better place in the future. Partnerships matter. The African proverb holds true, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

What do you do in the good food movement? We serve a targeted and high needs population here in Georgia where the effects of a poor diet are magnified if we don't do our part. We went from serving white bread, to now serving homemade rolls and whole grain bread in our center. It's all a learning process for everyone involved and that's the fun part. Understanding and elevating the good food movement is at the core of our mission – to ensure holistic child development, and that the heart, mind and soul are nurtured. If our kids don't have "good food" in their bellies, we can't even begin to "teach" them. Good food is just as important as educating the children.

Tell us about one of your favorite farm to early care and education moments. Sometimes we think kids don't pay attention to what we are sharing. It was hilarious when we were introducing cold pressed, cinnamon yam juice to the kids and some did not like the taste. One preschooler turned around and told her peers, "Don't yuck my yum!" She remembered our slogan we’d learned in a training a few months prior. What are the most popular local items at Little Ones Learning Center? The kids love harvesting the tomatoes from the garden. Most kids can now eat the tomatoes raw, without dressings. We used to camouflage the tomatoes as a topping on our homemade pizzas


or let kids dip tomatoes in ranch dressing, but now children can enjoy it in their natural form. Watermelon is another hit! What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a Georgia Organics member? If for no other reason, do it for the swag and you will get hooked. But seriously, the connection to something larger than ourselves is essential. You are not joining a organization, you are joining a movement.

Kids in the vegetable garden at Little Ones Learning Center

Welcome to the Georgia Organics Family

Porter Mitchell

Development Coordinator

Amber Suitt

Porter is a first generation Southerner who grew up in Savannah and transplanted to Atlanta in 2009 to attend college. She stumbled into working at the Grant Park Farmers Market as a vendor in 2012 and felt like she found her family and her purpose in the local food community. She began working for Community Farmers Markets (CFM) in 2015, first as the market assistant at East Atlanta Village, and then as the manager of the Decatur Farmers Markets. She left CFM at the end of the 2017 season and is very excited to join the Georgia Organics team. She enjoys rock climbing, Southern Gothic literature, loafing around at home, and hanging out at farmers markets.

Amber, a graduate of Howard University and Georgetown University Law Center, is a fourth generation Atlantan. Her passion for food was born of her strong belief in food as medicine. She has been working in the food movement in different capacities since 2011. Most recently, she worked as an Outreach Coordinator for The Common Market and served on the board for the South West Atlanta Grower’s Cooperative. She is excited to continue this work in her new role at Georgia Organics. She enjoys CrossFit and obstacle course races, cooking and eating, and dancing with her daughter Naima.

Sumer Ladd

Community Outreach Coordinator Sumer most recently served as the state lead for Georgia FoodCorps, a national AmeriCorps program which connects kids to healthy food in schools. Sumer received a B.S. in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences from University of Georgia, where she worked on the student-run farm, UGArden. She’s passionate about healthy food access and making good food for all a reality. Sumer spends her free time hiking, practicing yoga, canning, baking sourdough, and hanging with her dog Ziggy.

Director of Programs

Welcome New Board Members Elizabeth Little University of Georgia Jamila Norman Patchwork City Farms Matthew Raiford Gilliard Farms George Frangos Farm Burger


Food Oasis Ambassadors Support Georgia Local Food Systems BY SUZANNE GIRDNER

Georgia Food Oasis finished its pilot phase initiative and is gearing up for its second phase of programming—which includes continued support for Columbus and Augusta communities, while scaling up to two additional communities per year over the next three years to build a Georgia Food Oasis Community Network. Here’s a snapshot of the pilot outcomes:



Carla Walker

Sharayah Davis

Augusta Food Oasis Ambassador from Aug. 2016 to April 2018

Columbus Food Oasis Ambassador from Oct. 2016 to April 2018

Carla Walker is a United States Navy Veteran, community activist, social entrepreneur, and humble philanthropist. You’ll often hear her say that time is our most valuable resource and her 30 years of service at home and abroad is a testament to this. As the first Augusta Food Oasis Ambassador, Carla worked tirelessly to build relationships and partnerships, deepening our practice of community engagement and significantly growing community participation. We’re grateful for Carla’s service over the past two years and look forward to watching her advance the mission of Brown Girls Growing, a sustainable farming cooperative she’s co-founded to support female growers of color in the Augusta region.

Six Community Priorities: Nutrition Education; Gardening Education; Urban + Local Ag; Food Hub Planning; Culinary Life Skills; and South Augusta Collaborative

40+ Community Partners Public Engagement: average 50+ people attend meetings; 620 unique attendees over 13 meetings

$31,000 in Scholarships: Provided education, professional development, and skills training opportunities since 2015

$15K+ in Micro-funding awarded to 11 projects

Latest Potluck + Pitch Winner: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Amount: $1,320 ($1,000 in supplies for gardening and dietary education, $320 stipend for educators) When: Nov. 2017-May 2018 Goal: Develop tween-ager life skills for a selfsufficient and healthy future. Includes education on diet, cooking, gardening, and financial planning.


Sharayah’s hands have been in the West Georgia soil since she was a child growing up in Columbus planting in her grandmother’s garden. After a farm internship at Signal Mountain Farm in Chattanooga, Sharayah joined our outreach team as the Columbus Food Oasis Ambassador in Oct. 2016, soon after breaking ground on an urban micro-farm. As an Ambassador, Sharayah brought enthusiasm and a can-do spirit that welcomed and encouraged more residents to start taking action in their own neighborhoods. We’re thrilled to have watched Sharayah develop her passions and look forward to what comes next. Today you’ll find Sharayah working at Elijah’s Farm at Cascade Church and developing UGrow, a local cooperative exploring ways to help small and mid-sized farms get to market. Four Community Priorities: Nutrition Education; Cooking with kids; Urban + Local Ag; and Land Access

30+ Community Partners Public Engagement:

average of 30 people per meeting, 390+ unique attendees over 13 meetings

$31,000 in Scholarships: Provided education, professional development, and skills training opportunities since 2015

$14K+ in Micro-funding awarded to 10 projects

Latest Potluck + Pitch Winner: North Highland Farmers Market at MercyMed health clinic Amount: $1,600 ($1,000 for doubling SNAP dollars, $600 for market management) When: Tuesdays 4-6 p.m. from June-Nov. 2018 Goal: Increase fresh, local food access in a low-access neighborhood by hosting bi-weekly farmers market that also doubles SNAP dollars. Held in partnership with community outreach, health and agriculture experts.


Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Takes Root BY KIMBERLY DELLA DONNA & ABBIE KING With the success of farm to school statewide, Georgia Organics is expanding our initiatives to our youngest eaters. We are working with early care providers in the state serving infants and children between one and five years old. Research shows these formative years are the ideal time to build a child’s palette for healthy, local foods and a lifelong love of gardening. In 2017, Georgia Organics, Little Ones Learning Center, Quality Care for Children, The Common Market Georgia, and Voices for Georgia’s Children partnered to form the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Collaborative. The Collaborative is funded by a $1.45 million investment from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The multi-year initiative was formed to create farm to early care and education (ECE) models featuring hands-on education in nutrition, cooking, gardening and promotion of local foods at early care centers. The Collaborative aims to improve the quality of child care programs and increase access to healthy food. Collaborative partners selected 18 early childhood education programs out of 80 applicants to participate in the first year of the program. These childcare programs, located in metro Atlanta and south Georgia, will receive up to $1,500 in mini-grants, in addition to resources and personalized technical assistance.

“We look forward to sharing resources with early care educators and the families they serve to teach nutrition through cooking, gardening activities and taste tests. These strategies expand access to fresh foods from local and organic farms.” - President & CEO Alice Rolls To learn more about farm to early care and education in Georgia, visit the farm to school section of the Georgia Organics website.

Farm to Early Care and Education Collaborative partners in the Little Ones Learning Center garden.



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Join Georgia Organics! Memberships available for individuals, businesses, and farmers (with discounts for students, families, and non-profits!). Your membership earns you special pricing for member events and our annual conference; helps us fund our Farmer Services, Farm to School, and Georgia Food Oasis programs; and puts you squarely in the middle of the Good Food Movement in Georgia.

Go to www.georgiaorganics.org/become-a-member-today/membership and follow the instructions to sign up or renew your membership.

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2018 Summer Dirt  

2018 Summer Dirt