- Brandi Alexander.
Greetings all…my name is Brandi Alexander and I’m 34 years young with a strong passion for learning gardening techniques from a variety of farmers. My background is in corporate america but I hope to one day make the transition to full-time urban farmer as practiced by my grandparents and their siblings. I’ve had a backyard garden for the past two years and have yielded some successful crops and ones that went straight to the compost pile. My goal is to be competent enough to assist others with starting backyard gardens, educate and hopefully start selling my produce at local farmers markets.
- Donna Bonaparte.
I am currently employed in the foodservice industry. I want to learn and educate about food from the farm to the table. I want to educate the importance of locally grown, fresh, and natural food choices as a way of life, and to educate about the sustainability of the land without the use of harsh and harmful chemicals. I hope to learn not only the physical part of the business, (planting, harvesting etc.) but also the business side in hopes that it would translate to a farmers market of sorts for me and others. .I believe nurturing, caring for and respecting the earth as well as feeding people are spiritual principles that God has entrusted us to do. My vision is to teach small communities how to start urban gardens for profit and for barter, as a way of life as well as a means of community building and fellowship.
- Robin Chanin.
I work in metro-Atlanta’s refugee community, seeking out folks who were farmers before fleeing their homelands due to war and/or persecution. With no option to return home, the fates of the world landed them in metro-Atlanta, resettled into dense apartment complexes without access to cultivatable land. There is no shortage of highly-skilled farmers, but they face unique challenges to becoming self-sufficient producers and require a nontraditional solution. Through my work with Refugee Family Services (RFS) and background in Georgia’s sustainable agriculture movement, I was able to coordinate an urban farm project this past year with a group of skilled Burundi growers. This led to the creation of the Global Growers Network, a dedicated group of American-born and refugee leaders who are committed to food system goals of increased incomes, access to quality and familiar foods, better physical and mental health, self-reliance and enhanced integration for the refugee population.
- Christopher Denson.
I am an originally from Atlanta, GA and I work as an Accountant and Real Estate Agent with little experience in Urban Agriculture. Over the past several years I have developed a strong interest in agriculture in general; Organic Farming specifically. There are several members of my family with health issues that are attributed to food choices. Therefore I see this as providing an opportunity to learn about growing better food to incorporate into my own personal diet. I would like to also learn how to organize gardens and build hoop houses. There are still many communities in the Atlanta area with vacant lots that could be used to help the community and those less fortunate in our communities. I would like to eventually own a small farm and also incorporate aquaculture. I believe aquaculture could help people feed themselves all around the word. I would like to be able to equip others in my family and community with the knowledge to supply some of their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Most importantly I believe knowing how to grow your own food is empowering.
- Holli Eremine.
This past summer, my parents set up a small garden in their yard to grow a few vegetables and I was overjoyed to watch my 2 year old son excitedly squirm from the anticipation of picking the ripe tomatoes and cucumbers and taking a big bite out of them. He wouldn’t touch tomatoes before this summer! I was inspired by this experience. What a difference it makes for a child to be able to participate in the growing experience and see where good, nutritious food comes from. I would like to be able to provide this for more children. I want what I learn from this program to enable me and my family to successfully grow our own food and be community educators using our own backyard and community garden.
- Reid Harrison.
Food. I have a huge passion for good food, after all that’s probably why I went all the way to Chicago to go to culinary school (and as we Georgian’s know 36 below is COLD!) I lived in Chicago for 4½ years where I spent most my time working as a corporate chef running a private cafeteria at the then Sears Tower. I’ve always had a passion for fresh quality food and supporting our local businesses, especially farmers. Now that I’m back home in Macon, I would love to see our city and communities grow… literally. Through this program I hope to learn sustainable urban farming techniques that will help me bring a sustainable and low to no cost way of providing food for those in need. I hope to partner with local churches and community groups in order to start local community gardens as a way to not only provide food for those in need, but also as a possible afterschool/mentor program to help “water” our future farmers. I am so excited and thankful to be enrolled in this program. (Plus this should be lots of fun).
- Brian David Jones.
I have been a chef for the last 17 years. I love doing what I do, but there is something missing. I would like to fully know and understand the entire process of farming, mainly urban farming, and how it impacts the finished product that I serve. I feel a huge responsibility to serve my Family, The Community, and Guests that come in to the Ritz-Carlton Downtown, the healthiest most beneficially prepared products possible. Along with that feeling of responsibility I have a desire to grow the farm-to-school and chef-to-school programs in Cherokee County, where my wife and I, with 6 children, live. This education and the practices that it teaches, simply makes sense, in which only good comes from every step of everything that is done.
- Tiarra Moore.
I teach gifted science at Crawford W. Long Middle School and am initiating a wellness program at the school this year called Project C.H.E.W. (Choosing Health and Experiencing Wellness) that includes both nutrition education and fitness training to help curb the obesity problem among the students, staff, and the community. The nutrition component of Project C.H.E.W. is centered around an edible, organic schoolyard garden with the objective of increasing the knowledge of the students, staff, and community about nutrition, educating them about making healthier food choices through an increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day and in the home, and maintaining a healthy weight. The edible, organic schoolyard garden will also be integrated into the curriculum through the use of various laboratory experiments and activities. My plan is to use the education and experience gained from the Georgia Organics Urban Agricultural Training Program to develop and execute a successful gardening and nutrition program at Long Middle School, encourage students and their families to establish gardens at their homes, establish a community garden, and train other teachers on how to establish edible gardens at their school.
- Gloria (Glo) Ross.
Although I grew up in the city of Los Angeles, I’m a proud Atlanta resident. I’m excited to be part of this year’s Georgia Organics Urban Agriculture Training Program because I want to learn about how to use urban agriculture to respond creatively and strategically to the needs of poor and low-income youth in Atlanta. I believe that issues of land use, food security, and community engagement are uniquely tied to each other and tied to the sustainable future of Atlanta. When I complete the program, I want to use the knowledge, skills, and networks that I have developed to engage young people in food cultivation skills and in the political and social history of urban food system and land use.
- Melissa Young.
I have recently graduated from Georgia State University with my Master’s in Nutrition. Being in the field of nutrition means I am passionate about food and wellness. I believe that everyone should have nutritious foods available to them. Sadly, this is not the always the case. While I was in the nutrition program the issue of food insecurity kept resurfacing and I decided that this is an area that I would like to make a difference in. Along with wanting everyone to be well fed and healthy, I also love to be outside gardening. I am hoping to gain quite a bit from the agriculture training program. I would like to understand the basics of organic gardening, as my knowledge is currently learning through my own gardening mistakes and successes, and how to share that knowledge with others. I would like to be able to apply what I have learned in this program to areas that I might be able to assist in. I am not fully certain of what those areas might be, but I would like to have the knowledge and skill set to be ready when the opportunity comes.