I visited Atlanta in February and because of my desire to get more information about models for the planned Wild Ramp (not yet named at that time) that were already working, I spent some time visiting a market and then they sent me to a farm….IN the city!!
When I visited the Boxcar Grocer I asked a lot of questions since the ball was just beginning to roll for the Wild Ramp market. Although the local market concept is not for as complete a grocery as Boxcar is, many of the concepts are similar.
When I was asked if we had settled on our suppliers yet I had to report that it is still being worked out. Her next question surprised me: Are you getting any of your produce from within your town?
Well, not expecting to, small garden areas, hilly terrain,etc etc etc……and her answer was Why not?
She sent me to Truly Living Well who operates several growing centers but the one I visited was the Wheat Street Garden close to Auburn Avenue. Located within view of downtown Atlanta, this 4 acre parcel provides vegetables and fruit to individual purchasers, CSA members, local stores and restaurants.
Several staff members are assisted by volunteers.
The greenhouse provides a climate controlled area for seedlings. Seeing the amount of greens in various stages of growth reminded me that we in West Virginia do not enjoy the more temperate winters that Atlanta does, but these raised beds can be worked in tunnels and the results would be similar spectacular.
The Living Well site has ample parking, a covered picnic area with sinks for warm weather classes,
several storage areas, the greenhouse, and some fun areas as well. This is a wonderful use of an abandoned land parcel that any urban area has in abundance.
Of course, in the past few weeks I have visited a number of small farms located right here in Huntington. None are in what I would consider an urban setting, but why not? We have a lot of open lots scattered around, even downtown! Rows of garden veggies would be a lot better use of a vacant lot than weeds and trash piles, right?