Austell to Receive $75,000 to Grow Local Food Access

Photo credit Caleb Jones) Austell Director of Public Works Bo Garrison and Cobb County Master Gardener Andrea Searles at the I.T. and Lodemia Terrell Austell Community Garden where Austell will hold a celebration event on Saturday, March 23

(Photo credit Caleb Jones) Austell Director of Public Works Bo Garrison and Cobb County Master Gardener Andrea Searles at the I.T. and Lodemia Terrell Austell Community Garden where Austell will hold a celebration event on Saturday, March 23

Food Well Alliance distributed the following article about the addition of the City of Austell to the City Agricultural Plan program:

After successfully launching City Agriculture Plans in East Point, Alpharetta, and Jonesboro, Atlanta nonprofit Food Well Alliance and the Atlanta Regional Commission have selected the City of Austell as the fourth metro city to develop a City Agriculture Plan. Once the plan is developed with the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), implementation will be guided by Food Well Alliance (FWA) along with a $75,000 grant to help bring the plan to life. Austell was selected for its commitment to health equity, economic growth, and alleviating food insecurity.

FWA and ARC partnered to introduce the City Agriculture Plan program in 2019 with the goal of helping cities in the Atlanta region develop unique roadmaps to create vibrant and sustainable community food systems. Funding to pilot the City Agriculture Plan was made possible by the Zeist Foundation and FWA founding benefactor, the James M. Cox Foundation.

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“It is an honor and privilege for the City of Austell to be selected as the recipient of the grant to develop a City Agricultural Plan,” said Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons, Jr. “Food Well Alliance is a progressive humanitarian organization which has proven to be a true partner of our city. We are excited to reap the many benefits of fresh produce and agricultural awareness in Austell.” 

The City Agriculture Plan process intentionally incorporates an equitable and inclusive community engagement phase that reaches as many residents as possible, as well as ensures a balanced and diverse Steering Committee to guide the planning phase. It also identifies ways that locally grown food can be integrated into the City’s existing plans and programs.

“We are thrilled to expand City Agriculture Planning to Cobb County with the new Plan that will be developed in Austell,” said FWA Executive Director Kate Conner. “As the community engagement phase gets underway, we want to hear from all key stakeholders – residents, community leaders, city officials – really anyone who has an interest in seeing local food become a priority in Austell.” FWA and the City of Austell have released a public survey and will host Community Conversation events at two Austell locations to ensure everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinions:

Residents are encouraged to take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FTK5B66 and register for one or more of the following Community Conversations: 

  • Tuesday, April 9th at Frog Rock Brewing Company from 6 – 7:30 PM
  • Sunday, May 19th at Pat Maxwell’s (formerly Volkstuin) from 1 – 2:30 PM

After the Community Engagement Phase, a Steering Committee composed of community stakeholders and local leadership will be guided in the creation of the Plan under ARC’s guidance and planning expertise. These relationships can help build connections, support local ecosystems and soil health, increase access to healthy food, and create entrepreneurial opportunities to bolster the local economy.

“City Agriculture Planning is strengthening food systems through collaboration and creativity by establishing a network of local stakeholders and project partners,” said Samyukth Shenbaga, Managing Director of Community Development, ARC. “Through the City Agriculture Planning process, ARC and FWA are building a regional coalition for urban agriculture as it expands its reach to the fourth metro Atlanta city to participate: Austell.”

Austell will celebrate their selection with a kick-off event Saturday, March 23 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the I.T. and Lodemia Terrell Austell Community Garden. Attendees can learn more about the City Agriculture Plan, enjoy refreshments, plant fruit trees, and help prepare the garden for planting season. FWA and Atlanta Botanical Garden will also be hosting a vermicomposting workshop starting at noon. All are welcome to join! For more information visit foodwellalliance.org or austellga.gov

Food Well Alliance (FWA) is a collaborative network of local leaders working to build thriving community gardens, urban farms and orchards across metro Atlanta. The mission of FWA is to provide resources and support to local growers to connect and build healthier communities. Its vision is for an equitable, local food ecosystem in which everyone can participate and benefit. Today, FWA supports more than 300 gardens, farms and orchards in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton counties. www.foodwellalliance.org, @foodwellalliance

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. ARC serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues. www.atlantaregional.org, @planatlanta

The City of Austell, located less than 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, allows for easy access to Interstate 20 and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as well as providing a home to the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Railway facility. With prime real estate, exceptional recreational resources, and business-friendly leadership, Austell offers opportunities unlike anywhere else in Cobb County. Rediscover. Reimagine. Austell. www.austellga.gov @CityofAustell @AustellFireDepartment @AustellPoliceDepartment @AustellParks,RecreationandCommunityConnections

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