New program works to connect community to fresh, local food

    Fredando Jackson and Casey Cox discuss the Urban Food Program with Dougherty County commissioners on Monday. / Mary Green

    A Southwest Georgia organization is working to bridge the gap between the people who grow food and the ones who eat it.

    The Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District recently launched its new Urban Food Program, which has already taken its first steps in partnering with the community.

    The group is working with 13 Dougherty County schools to cultivate their school gardens.

    “What we’re doing with that program is teaching them about nutrition, making the connection to what they eat in the lunchroom and where it really comes from, and hopefully inspiring a young person to really take up the mantle of agriculture and growing their foods,” Urban Food Program Coordinator Fredando Jackson said.

    They’re also helping farmers from throughout the area to bring and sell their produce to local businesses and customers.

    “The ultimate goal is to increase the access to healthy, good food, whether it’s teaching people how to grow it in their backyard or connecting them to local farmers or growers of fresh produce,” Jackson said.

    Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District Executive Director Casey Cox said they hope this program eventually becomes a model for other future programs in the state.

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