An $82,000 grant by DeKalb County and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help the East Lake Farmer’s Market build its own farm.
The East Lake Farmers (ELF) Market, located at Second Avenue and Hosea Williams Drive in east Atlanta, and the Southeastern Horticultural Society (SHS) were recently awarded a CDC-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program grant from the DeKalb County Board of Health.
The grant, designed in part to curb obesity, will help the ELF Market to “increase the hours and seasons for the farmers, increase the amount food grown in DeKalb County and … increase the consumption of fresh, chemical-free fruits and vegetables,” said Lou Lindsey, market and farm manager.
“We will also look for ways to reduce the cost of chemical-free fruit and vegetables,” Lindsey said.
The grant will be used to develop an urban farm on the current ELF Market location and promote the East Lake community learning garden, located at 56 Second Avenue SE. The market, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2009 by setting up a farmers market at an intersection formerly known for crime and drugs.
The farm is on a lot that had been the home of several buildings that have been leveled, Lindsay said.
“The farm increases our options to improve access to fresh produce and build community partnerships to get healthy local produce on the plates of more of our neighbors,” said Doug Williams, founder and president of the market.
Plans for the urban farm include approximately 75 raised beds and a 15- to 20-foot high greenhouse tunnel where crops can be grown during colder months.
An assistant farm manager has been hired to help with the construction of the farm, which is expected to be operational in late March.
“We are excited about this new endeavor with the East Lake Farmer’s Market,” said Kate Chura, executive director of SHS, a nonprofit organization that provides horticulture and environmental education and works to connect people to nature throughout the southeastern United States. “These new additions will only help expand the reach of the community learning garden and urban farm that was established in 2010 in partnership with the East Lake Foundation.”