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Urban farm project to bring locally grown food downtown

By for CAES News

A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but fresh vegetables will soon grow in the heart of Atlanta on a plot of land the city’s mayor has designated as an urban farming educational site.

The .8-acre plot is located at 104 Trinity Avenue across from city hall. It was most recently the site of the city’s traffic court. A competition to select a design for the Trinity Avenue Farm closed Nov 1. Judges are currently reviewing designs submitted by Georgia designers. Work on the farm design will begin soon after the winner is selected.

The winning design team will be given $25,000 from Wal-Mart, the major sponsor of the project. Other partners include the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Truly Living Well.

UGA Cooperative Extension agents in Fulton County assisted by testing the soil on the site and recommending steps to prepare the soil for plants by spring 2012. The agents will provide support for the garden by educating the farm's managers on community gardening, locally-grown foods and fighting food desserts.

The demonstration project will support the City of Atlanta's “Power to Change” sustainability plan and its commitment to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020.

“Local, sustainable and organic food practices have numerous health and environmental benefits,” said Susan Varlamoff, UGA’s director of environmental sciences. “Local food is often fresher, eliminates negative externalities, such as carbon emissions, and supports our local economy. We applaud Mayor Reed and the city for joining the local food movement by showcasing urban agriculture right in the heart of downtown.”

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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