Katie Hayes worked for National Geographic after college and then worked at a KIPP school in DC where she taught a gardening program on the weekends and did fundraising and development. Katie then traveled to India and Southeast Asia before returning to Atlanta and starting to work with various food based programs. Hilary King got involved with development work as an undergrad when she began running a fair trade coffee shop and then had a research fellow where she researched access to market for international farmers. After getting her Master’s degree, Hilary moved to Mexico and did freelance development work for coffee companies. She then decided to get her PhD while continuing to work with local development groups and then doing her fieldwork in Mexico. She is now in Atlanta getting to implement on a local level what she’s done on an international level.
The Community Farmer’s Market is partnering with local civil society organizations to build back better civil society that cares about the issues happening in this community. They focus on food access within our community by entering into the community and reaching people where they live. They have three main aspects to their program: food distribution, educational programming, and financial incentives. They focus on distribution by placing farmers markets in “edge” neighborhoods where there is both a high income and low income population. They are also constantly working towards finding a solution for communities where farmer’s markets wouldn’t work. One solution has been the Marta produce stands. The current Marta produce stand is located on the west side of Atlanta near a food desert and has been a success so far. They are hoping to grow this project in partnership with Marta. In the educational programming, they are working towards enhancing accessibility and ease of preparation. They are uniquely tailoring these programs to their audience and trying to make prepping your own food more attractive and a simpler concept. Overall, the Community Farmer’s Market is working towards their main mission point: that every farmer makes a fair living wage and people have access to affordable food. This is a difficult balance but they have made large strides in this.
The root of the Community Farmer’s Market is that all people deserve access to good food. It was exciting to get to listen to how they are working towards this initiative and pursuing local development here in Atlanta!
To learn more about the Atlanta Community Farmer's Market, visit their website: http://www.farmatl.org/.