Urban farming is a trend that is popping up around Atlanta, probably more than you think. Most of you probably know about community gardens such as Oakhurst, Grant Park, and many others; however, these all require you to have a green thumb and you only reap what you sow.
What if I told you that you could give to a good cause, learn about healthy lifestyles, and get an abundant share of fresh veggies grown and harvested with ethical farming practices ready and waiting for you every Thursday right here in downtown Atlanta? Well, you can. That's what Good Samaritan Farm does and not only will we tell you about it, but also how to sign up ASAP!
What is it and how does it work?
The Good Samaritan Farm is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which people can join by purchasing a share of the farm in 5-7 week cycles depending on the growth period. These shares come in 2 sizes, full and half to suit your nutritional needs. The best part is that it is right down the street. Not only does the Good Samaritan Farm (aka Good Sam) offer affordable, clean food, it also offers affordable healthcare with an onsite clinic.
Community Supported Agriculture is a relationship between local growers and consumers. Joining a CSA supports farmers dedicated to providing fresh, locally grown produce. A CSA membership provides members not only a share of produce harvested from the farm on a weekly basis but also the opportunity to see where your food is grown and meet the farmers who produce your food. Payment of a membership fee before the season starts allows farmers to purchase seeds and equipment needed to manage the farm.
Wait, its a clinic too?
Yep! Conceived in 1995 by Dr. Bill Warren, who decided to follow a calling to serve those in Atlanta without access to healthcare or insurance, and realized in 1998, Good Sam grew rapidly, relocating 10 years later, in 2009 to the current Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway location, operating under a full time staff of 40 and over 400 volunteers.
The Center’s vision is to provide a dependable, full-time, comprehensive healthcare home for those without insurance or the means to afford care in Atlanta. The Good Samaritan Health Center, Inc. is a non-profit Christian organization that provides healthcare to uninsured, low income people in greater metropolitan Atlanta.
The Center offers medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services. Patients pay on a reduced sliding fee scale based on income and household size with the remaining costs provided by donations. At The Good Samaritan Health Center, the entire family receives quality healthcare in an atmosphere of dignity and respect, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.
So, whats the connection between farm and clinic?
Of course you have heard of farm to table, a common buzz phrase used widely around Atlanta referring to restaurants serving locally grown food. Well, you can now introduce into your hip foodie vocabulary the term farm to clinic. The people at Good Samaritan Farm are dedicated to educating, and providing affordable access to healthcare and nutritional food to everyone.
Good Sam currently holds weekly cooking classes in a state of the art teaching kitchen for children enrolled in the Atlanta Police Activities League (PAL). Good Sam also has plans to build a teaching garden, offer discounted farm shares, organize community farmers markets and launch a food prescription program.
How FoodRx Works: Healthcare providers at The Clinic will identify patients who would benefit from this program during visits and “prescribe” a FoodRx voucher that can be redeemed at our farm share pick-up weekly for the prescribed length of time. Along with nutrition counseling and healthy cooking demonstrations, patients will have access to the food they need to improve their health.
See, I told you! Its pretty amazing, isn't it? We purchased a full share this summer for $35/week and I kid you not for the last 4 weeks we have gotten over 4 pounds of deliciously juicy, ripe, homegrown tomatoes, and thats not even half of what we receive in a share that also includes cucumbers, peppers (of all varieties), green beans, yard long beans, squash, zucchini, eggplant, okra, basil, thyme, rosemary, and more. It is the most amazing feeling to eat food knowing where it came from and who grew it.
Naturally, you want to get involved.
Clean, healthy and affordable food easily accessible to the masses is so overdue, I know you guys are chomping at the bit to know how to join. Luckily there is still time to join the fall farm share! Just click here, and follow the instructions! Let me guess, you are so inspired not only to you want to join the CSA, but you want to give in other ways too? Just click here for information on volunteering your time, talents and treasures.