The City of East Point and Food Well Alliance invite residents and community members to attend the second in a series of Community Food Forums being held across metro Atlanta this February and March. The forum will provide an opportunity for East Point residents to join local food experts and city officials for a conversation about a pilot City Agriculture Planning program in partnership with Food Well Alliance and the Atlanta Regional Commission.
East Point is one of seven metro Atlanta cities vying to become the pilot city for the new City Agriculture Planning program. The other six cities in the running are Alpharetta, Clarkston, Hapeville, Lawrenceville, Lovejoy, and Pine Lake. Food Well Alliance announced the pilot program in October of 2018 and invited all 52 cities in its 5-county service area of Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties to submit letters of interest.
“The City of East Point understands how valuable gardens and farms are to a community and how they transform lives on a daily basis,” said Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham. “Being the chosen City to pilot this program would be catalytic for East Point. As a City that understands the importance of local food systems, this partnership will enhance our ability to build community, improve the health of our citizens and directly impact the length and quality of life of all those who live in and visit our City.”
The East Point Food Forum will be held Thursday, March 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Bowden Senior Multipurpose Facility 2885 Church St, East Point, GA 30344.
The City Agriculture Planning program aims to bring local governments together with their communities to create plans incorporating urban agriculture into the next phase of cities’ development. Community Food Forums will serve to inform and assess the readiness of both the local government and the local community to participate in the comprehensive and inclusive planning process. Food Well Alliance will select one pilot city to develop a City Agriculture Plan in spring of 2019.
“We’ve seen that when cities and local governments prioritize farms and gardens in their development plans, especially during this time of rapid re-development, communities thrive,” said Kim Karris, executive director of Food Well Alliance. “We are proud to partner with the Atlanta Regional Commission to develop the first City Agriculture Planning process that includes citizen voices and visions for their communities across metro Atlanta.”
Once the pilot city is selected, the Atlanta Regional Commission will be integral to the planning process.
“As an agency that plans for all types of infrastructure around metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission has been working for years to help our local jurisdictions develop more resources to support community agriculture,” said Sam Shenbaga, manager of ARC’s Community Development Group. “We are excited to see these powerful resources aligning to make our region a healthier place for everyone.”
East Point residents are encouraged to attend the forum to share their ideas and learn more. Attendees will have the opportunity to network, enjoy locally-sourced refreshments, and participate in a brainstorming session. They will also hear from established urban growers, East Point city officials, and representatives from Food Well Alliance and the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Food Well Alliance is a collaborative network of local leaders working to build thriving farms and gardens that enhance the health, vitality, and resilience of communities across metro Atlanta. The creation of Food Well Alliance was made possible through funding from our founding benefactor, the James M. Cox Foundation and through the vision of Jim Kennedy and Bill Bolling. Together, they saw an opportunity to connect members of Atlanta’s local food movement to collectively build a healthier community. Food Well Alliance exists to bring this vision to life.