East Lake, one of Atlanta’s eastern most neighborhoods, is famous for its transformation from a crime-ridden community (during the 1970s and 80s) to a safe, community-oriented neighborhood that can be seen today. It’s also home to the East Lake Golf Club, which hosts the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola each year. But it’s about to add another reason to boast—an urban farm!
Southeastern Horticulture Society (SHS) and the East Lake Farmers Market (ELF Market) are teaming up to build an urban farm and enhance SHS’ East Lake Community Learning Garden, which resides across from ELF Market at 56 2nd Avenue in East Lake.
ELF Market and SHS were awarded $82k from a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program grant from the DeKalb County Board of Health and funded by the CDC. The goal of the project is to reduce obesity rates in DeKalb County.
“The farm increases our options to improve access to fresh produce and build community partnerships to get healthy local produce on the plates of more of our neighbors,” says ELF Market Founder and President Doug Williams.
The funds will be used to create an urban farm on the ELF Market lot (2nd Avenue and Hosea Willams Drive), which will consist of 75-raised beds and a hoophouse—a simplified version of a greenhouse.
While the farm serves the production side of things, SHS’ East Lake Community Learning Garden (ELC Learning Garden) will be in charge of education and outreach initiatives in the community. These initiatives include gardening workshops, both at the garden and at the Villages of East Lake, cooking demonstrations and other fun events!
Grant funds will be used to enhance the current garden space, including the addition of a greenhouse, irrigation system and increasing the count of raised beds (currently the count is 16).
The ELC Learning Garden was established in 2010 in partnership with the East Lake Foundation. The goal of the garden is to promote environmental learning in the local community.
The farm is projected to be fully operational in late-March. Community members can expect to see many opportunities to get involved with the project. The farm is going to recruit volunteers to help with the building, planting and crop harvesting, and the garden will host gardening and nutrition workshops.
For further information on getting involved with the farm, visit www.elfmarket.org, and for information on getting involved with the garden, visit www.sehort.org.
For more details on the grant, visit http://www.cdc.gov/communitiesputtingpreventiontowork.
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