The tragedy of our food system is that we grow more than enough to feed everyone, but the logistical challenge of distribution is gigantic. Food is grown thousands of miles from where it's eaten and touches a ton of hands on the way to the consumer -- the farm laborers, transports, processors, distributors, retailers, chefs, and consumers. When you factor in the additional steps of getting food to people in food deserts, the obstacles can appear nearly insurmountable. Even with all those miles traveled by our food, if someone doesn't have reliable transportation, fresh food can still be far away.
Simply put, the biggest barrier to healthy food access is the distance between where it’s grown and where it’s consumed. One of our goals is to grow culturally relevant food as close to where it’s going to be eaten as possible by engaging the community and offering educational resources to help people grow as stewards of their own landscapes. By re-establishing our connection with nature, we can unlock the tools we need to feed people.
There are opportunities all around us to create abundance. We spend billions of dollars mowing grass and planting ornamentals like Crepe Myrtle trees as residents, landowners, parks, schools, churches, etc, while nearly 1/4 of Atlanta metro residents are food insecure. That is simply not right. The Fruitful Communities initiative is a part of the solution to food insecurity. Integrating passive food systems into our landscapes is a way to leverage landscaping budgets to address a pressing need.
We believe that one of the best way to solve food insecurity is to train people to reimagine spaces with the lens of food, ecology, and community. Opportunities to grow healthy, local food are all around us, including the lawns of most American households and large, grassy fields at our public schools. We have tremendous resources at our disposal that are currently unproductive and underutilized. Additionally, we have indoor spaces that are unsafe for people to gather in and don’t have a great carbon footprint. Everything is up for reimagination.