During the COVID-19 Quarantine, I raised money for Urban Recipe, an Atlanta non-profit that gets consistent food to families with food insecurity. At a safe social distance, I photographed about 200 “Front Porch Portraits”. In lieu of compensation to my business, I asked each family to donate the amount of their choice to Urban Recipe. The need at this small Grant Park based food co-op was steadily rising as the weeks of quarantine rolled along, and their normal roster of 200 families grew to over 1,000. They send 75 lbs of shelf stable pantry items and fresh produce to each family every two weeks and their mission is to keep this vital source of nutrition flowing with perfect consistency.
As we continued to partner throughout the pandemic and neared my goal of $15,000, I began to be very curious about where all the beautiful fresh fruits, vegetables, bouquets of flowers and the occasional potted plant were coming from. I discovered that Urban Recipe partners with the Paideia School Urban Agriculture program, which in turn is a partner with the Grassroots Growers Alliance, a collection of small, non-profit, urban farmlets and farmers who grow food in small plots of land throughout the city. Among them are the Thomasville Heights Elementary School Farm, The Paideia School Farm and the Metro Atlanta Transitional Center Urban Farm. Together, these farms grew and distributed over 5000 pounds of food in 2019 for food insecure families.
So, being the camera in hand adventurer I am, I decided to trek out to visit Tania Herbert, Paideia Urban Agriculture Educator at the Thomasville Heights Elementary Farm.
On a cloudy June morning, Paideia students and apprentices worked to mulch beds and harvest that day’s vegetables – onions, butternut squash, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, wax beans and an assortment of fresh spices. Tania told me that the Alliance also often makes products like raspberry vinaigrette or gives tomato plants to its food insecure families.
What a treat! It’s refreshing to be a part of Atlantans doing good.