ATLANTA - In busy southwest Atlanta, Truly Living Well's 8-acre urban farm grows on land that used to be a public housing community.
"We have greens, we have fruits, we have peas," says Yennenga Adanya, Truly Living Well's Program Services Director. "We have root vegetables, and we have flowers."
Everything here is grown organically.
"(We use) all natural materials to grow, with no chemicals, no chemical fertilizer, no chemical pest control agents," Adanya explains.
Truly Living Well's mission is to bring city dwellers back to healthy food that, Adanya says, we've grown away from eating.
"We are passing away at 40 or 50 years old," Adanya says. "Our elders, their sight is failing them, their kidneys are failing. You see dialysis centers popping up everywhere. And it's really the food, what you put in your mouth is very important. It's important for it to be seasonal, it's important for it to be organic."
And Adanya says "organic," doesn't have to mean "expensive."
She says, try growing what you can. They'll teach you how here.
"People like to do herbs because they're not too scary," Adanya says. "I know some people that start out tomatoes and peppers, then they add cucumber. Then the next thing you know, they have eggplant."
She says don't be discouraged by a "bad" green thumb.
"We all make mistakes, but you just keep trying over and over again," she says. "Mama Earth never fails."
What you can't grow, Adanya says. buy at your local farmer's market, where she says organic produce costs a fraction of what it does at upscale grocery stores. The experience of getting to know your community growers will change how you think about food.
"Once they see it growing, and are able to participate and come out to the farmers' market and spend about $10 versus $50, then it's is like, 'Okay! This makes total sense,'" she says.
Truly Living Well offers gardening boot camps and intensive courses for those looking to get started, or to improve on their gardening skills. You can read more about their mission and programs at trulylivingwell.com.
"Growing actually teaches you a lot, not only patience but the fruit of your labor," Adanya says. "You reap what sow."
For Georgians on a food assistance program, a Wholesome Wave Georgia program called "Georgia Fresh for Less," can help cut the cost of shopping for fresh produce.
The program will match SNAP and EBT benefits dollar for dollar.
So, participants can spend $10 on produce at their local farmers’ market and walk away with $20 in produce.
Learn more about it and find a participating farmers market at wholesomewavegeorgia.org/georgia-fresh-for-less/