Friday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
1. SOLD OUT. GLORIOUS GOATS @ DECIMAL PLACE FARM
Decimal Place Farm is a 10-acre farm raising award-winning Saanen dairy goats with a dairy processing facility on-site. Manager Mary Rigdon will lead this tour on goat husbandry and the basics of cheese-making, and walk you through the pastures, milking parlor, and cheese making facility. Rigdon will discuss everything from the cheeses they make to the ins and outs of herd management, including rotational grazing, parasite control, and culling. Rigdon will also review market and business development strategies that allow for optimal success. Attendees can also tour the small garden of seasonal vegetables and aromatic herbs as well as woodland trails.
2. SOLD OUT. GROWING FOOD AND MINDS @ WHEAT STREET GARDENS & THE METRO ATLANTA URBAN FARM
Before Wheat Street Gardens was an actual garden it was the Wheat Street Garden Apartments, a public housing complex in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. The site stood across from the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic site, but it was on a block besieged by blight. That began to change when the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture leased the four-acre plot in 2010 and transformed the abandoned lot into an organic garden that supports a CSA, onsite farmers market, and numerous educational opportunities. In addition to promoting sustainable food systems and horticultural literacy, as Creative Loafing wrote in 2011, “It’s the kind of project you read about in smart-growth journals but can now find in the shadow of downtown’s skyscrapers.” The farm produces vegetables and herbs year round, thanks to hoop houses, and also has a growing aquaculture operation – one of the first of its kind in the state.
The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm sits on five acres behind an 1880-era Victorian house in the heart of downtown College Park. The farm lies on what has always been agricultural land, and is a stark, serene contrast to the dense gridlock mere minutes away. Director of Programming & Farm Advisor Bobby Wilson will take visitors through a farm that’s a center for growing community as well as produce – it’s part of a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and feeding local residents and empowering them to lead healthier lives. The original main house, caretaker’s house, and barn are still on the property, and attendees will see how the latter has been repurposed as the supporting structure for a greenhouse. Attendees can also tour the farm’s adjoining ¾-acre community garden, which consists of 53 plots.
3. SOLD OUT. SEEDING COMMUNITY 1 @ FOUR HENRY COUNTY COMMUNITY GARDENS
A short drive south of the Convention Center is Henry County, home to a nationally recognized community gardening association. The farm tour will highlight four separate sites, including gardens at senior centers, public housing complexes, and churches. This tour will be moderated by Fred Conrad of the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Community Gardening Program, a truly influential community garden advocate who has helped seed and maintain hundreds of gardens as part of the ACFB’s efforts to increase the amount of fresh food available to metro families in need.
4. SOLD OUT. SEEDING COMMUNITY 2 @ THREE URBAN ATLANTA COMMUNITY GARDENS
Intown Atlanta has an amazing network of community gardens that thrive in our rich urban landscape. Join us for a tour that includes the Kirkwood Community Garden, a part of Park Pride’s Gardens in the Parks program, which is a collaboration between Park Pride and the City of Atlanta to grow the number of community gardens on city-owned and -maintained park land. Next, the tour will head to a garden in the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Atlanta in Rosa Burney Park.
The garden is a community collaboration between Park Pride and Habesha, Inc. This garden is a communal spot for neighbors in Mechanicsville as well as a locus for programming by HABESHA (Helping Africa By Establishing Schools at Home and Abroad). HABESHA Works! teaches skills in urban organic agriculture and agro-business development. The site boasts a butterfly garden, a unique rainwater catchment system, and a recycling drop-off site. The final stop on this tour will be to the East Lake Learning Garden. Located in the historic East Lake neighborhood, this garden is a collaboration between the Southeastern Horticultural Society and the East Lake Foundation. The site boasts a community garden, a new raised bed farm on a vacant lot, and a farmers market all on the same corner.
5. SOLD OUT. TAKING REFUGE IN AGRICULTURE @ THE GLOBAL GROWERS NETWORK
Global Growers Network is a local non-profit that works primarily with people who have been forced to flee their countries because of war and persecution. Through a network of farms and gardens, many people who were farmers back home have an opportunity to share their traditional farming and local food practices with their new community here in Georgia. This tour has two stops, and features a tasting from the famous Spotted Trotter Charcuterie.
The first stop is Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, a Global Growers Project which offers market garden plots to more than 30 community producers, primarily from the nearby international refugee community. Community producers come from cultures that include Nepali Bhutanese, Burmese Chin, Burmese Karen, and Burmese Zomi, and share their unique growing traditions and specialty crops in this 1.5-acre garden and reclaimed fruit orchard. The second stop is Umurima, The Burundi Women’s Farm, which began as a partnership with Global Growers founder Susan Pavlin and a community of Burundi farmers. Today, almost one acre is cultivated communally under the leadership of the Burundi women, who grow traditional East African crops as well as “American” produce for their families, the local markets, and the Global Growers’ CSA. Immediately following the second tour, The Spotted Trotter will host a tasting at Umurima. The Spotted Trotter is a boutique charcuterie owned and operated by Kevin and Megan Ouzts. They work with local producers like the Global Growers Network to ensure humane treatment and sustainable practices are used in the production of all of their ingredients.
6. SOLD OUT. NATURAL WISDOM @ GAIA GARDENS
One of the many agricultural miracles of Atlanta, Gaia Gardens is a 15-year-old, Certified Organic farm in the heart of urban Dekalb County, just four miles east of downtown. Owned by the East Lake Commons Co-housing Community, the five-acre property is leased by Joe Reynolds and Judith Winfrey, who together make up the incomparable Love Is Love Farm. Diversified vegetable crops, orchard fruits, and shiitake mushrooms are grown for a 100-plus member CSA, local farmers markets and restaurant customers. Sustainable practices include intensive cover cropping, crop rotation, conservation tillage, and composting. At Gaia Gardens/Love Is Love Farm, the bottom line is fourfold: grow delicious food, provide excellent service, be profitable, and work in harmony with the Earth and the community. READ MORE ABOUT GAIA GARDENS HERE.
7. SOLD OUT. LEAN AND MEAN PRODUCTION @ PHOENIX GARDENS
Check out updates about Phoenix Gardens and its growth here. Located in the northern Gwinnett County suburbs, Phoenix Gardens has specialized in maximizing production and profit in a limited space, growing a wide variety of crops on two and a half acres in Lawrenceville since 2005. Since escaping the corporate world, Brennan and Gwendolyn Washington have been able to manage a productive farm featuring heirloom breeds and varieties using many creative and sustainable techniques. In addition to running a three-season CSA, the farm provides enough output to sell at local farmers markets and restaurants. On this tour, you will see how the Washingtons use raised beds, integrate laying hens in vegetable production, utilize the contours of their land, and practice sustainable agriculture on their Certified Naturally Grown farm.
8. SOLD OUT. CREAM OF THE CROP FARMING @ SERENBE FARMS & PLANTED ROCK FARM
Serenbe Farms is a four-acre, certified organic farm in the new urbanist Serenbe community in Palmetto, Georgia. Led by Farm Manager Paige Witherington, Serenbe Farms values diversity, growing over 350 varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits. Market outlets include a CSA program, the Serenbe market, restaurants, and wholesale buyers. Utilizing sustainable agriculture practices for eight years, the farm has shown a constant improvement in soil health, as well as increased food production on the same amount of land. In 2012, Witherington expects to grow over 80,000 pounds of high-quality produce. In addition to growing food, each year Serenbe Farms brings up a new crop of young farmers in Georgia with their remarkable apprenticeship program.
Planted Rock Farm is nestled among 1,000 wooded acres in the countryside of Chattahoochee Hills. Managed by R.J. Kessler, a former apprentice at Serenbe Farms, Planted Rock utilizes a heated greenhouse and two cold hoophouses to extend the growing season through all four seasons. The farm is Certified Naturally Grown, with two to three acres in food production and a healthy fruit orchard featuring blueberries, pears, muscadines, persimmons, and figs. Produce can be found on menus around Atlanta and at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, the largest producer-only farmers market in the state.
9. SOLD OUT. COLLEGIATE CULTIVATION @ KSU
Kennesaw State University is a leader in the farm-to-campus movement. Launched in May 2010, Kennesaw forst began by operating a two-acre organic farm just outside Cartersville, GA. The program has since expanded now to include a second property – an additional 40-acres with 6,000 sq.ft. of greenhouse space in Ball Ground, Ga. Only heirloom varieties are cultivated, using organic methods of soil preparation, pest control and fertilization.
In addition to growing its own produce, Culinary & Hospitality Services installed an apiary on the properties, which currently houses 48 honeybee colonies to assist with open-pollinated varietals. Produce (and honey!) harvested from both farms is served in the student dining facility year-round. In addition to saving the operation tens of thousands of dollars, the farm-to-campus program is a key component of the sustainable dining outreach and education campaign. Students and residents of the greater Kennesaw community volunteer to work on the farm, and guests in the dining hall are able to enjoy organic, heirloom produce that was grown just a few miles away. Kennesaw State also hosts a farmers market on campus enjoyed by students and faculty alike – providing easy access to healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.