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PATCH VOICES: Atlanta Harvest Aims to Grow Organic Local Produce

'There are many opportunities for local food to flourish in Atlanta.'

by Bethaney Herrington

It’s no surprise that the market for local, organic farm-fresh produce is on the rise. The average consumer wants to know who is growing their food and where it comes from. But what may be a surprise is that 90 percent of Atlanta’s lettuce is transported into the city from over 2,500 miles away. Atlanta Harvest believes that its time to close that gap and to grow in Atlanta what belongs in Atlanta!

So what is Atlanta Harvest exactly? This for-profit company is a food hub and network of independently-owned, high-output farms. Using a modular, high-tunnel hoop house design, Atlanta Harvest is building its first farm just a couple of miles from downtown. This farm will primarily grow organic, leafy greens. To connect this produce to the local food consumer, the Atlanta Harvest food hub will provide processing, marketing, and distribution for the hoop house farm. It’s a system designed to serve both farmers and customers!

For the Atlanta Harvest team, “bringing farms back” means more than growing lettuce in the city. It means providing dignifying work opportunities, catalyzing economic development in distressed neighborhoods, driving innovation on the frontier of the local food movement, and feeding the city organic and truly local produce.

 “There are many opportunities for local food to flourish in Atlanta,” Corbin Klett, who co-founded Atlanta Harvest with me.

“We’re beginning to reach the critical mass of stakeholders required to make it work! Providing the right infrastructure and opportunities is Atlanta Harvest’s goal.”

Ms. Herrington is a co-founder of Atlanta Harvest.

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