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Community Health Works: Connecting Central Georgia With Local Producers

Mulberry1Community Health Works in Macon, Georgia works to improve Central Georgia residents’ health and better serve those who are uninsured. In addition to growing the Rx for the Uninsured network to provide health services to the underserved, Community Health Works leads the Central Georgia Grown initiative to promote locally grown food and connect people with local farmers. CHW’s Lacey Templeton told me a little bit about Central Georgia Grown and why it’s so important.

What is the Central Georgia Grown initiative and how did it begin? The Central Georgia Grown initiative promotes the benefits of locally grown, healthy products and connecting interested consumers with local producers. The initiative began when Community Health Works identified various aspects of food insecurity in Middle Georgia.

What kinds of resources does Central Georgia Grown provide Central Georgia residents? We aim to connect residents in Central Georgia with fresh, healthy food. We do this through various media campaigns such as billboards, outreach at health fairs and faith-based events, as well as assorted charitable walks and runs.

How does Central Georgia Grown reflect the mission and goals of Community Health Works? Central Georgia Grown aims to connect middle Georgia residents with access to fresh, healthy food. This aligns directly with the goals of Community Health Works, which credits overall health and wellness to aiding in lowered chronic diseases and decreased obesity rates.

What is the Mulberry Market, and what makes it unique compared to other farmers’ markets?  The Mulberry Market is a producer-only, year round market located in Macon, GA.  The market offers fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, dairy, and a variety of proteins.  Potted plants and fresh herbs are also available seasonally.  I believe the difference between the Mulberry Market and others in Macon is that we welcome all manner of educators and community leaders as guests.  Whether it is registering shoppers to vote, or having the Master Gardener Society come to talk about summer gardens, we strive to offer at least one educational component each market.

What is Mulberry Market’s double benefit program, and how can people support it? The double benefit program offered at the Mulberry Market is made possible by a grant from Wholesome Wave Georgia.  This grant allows us to double SNAP benefits up to $20 for our eligible shoppers.  This doubling is available once per shopper each week, and nearly doubles purchasing power of fresh, local, healthy foods. Middle Georgia residents can help support this fantastic program by participating in the various fundraisers that CHW hosts, as well as donating at Wholesome Wave Georgia.

The Mulberry Street Farmers Market is one of eight markets that Georgia Organics has partnered with across the state of Georgia as part of the My Market Club program to encourage people to shop at their local farmers markets on a regular basis.

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