Black farmers, Local Lands, food desert, deserts

Local Lands, A Black-Owned Farm, Widens Reach For Georgia Residents To Combat Food Deserts

Black-owned family farm, Local Lands, is widening its access with the help of a nonprofit grant.

Local Lands, a Black-owned farm in Georgia, is widening its reach to provide healthy food options to more communities in the state. A grant from a local nonprofit is helping it achieve its mission. 

The nonprofit organization, The Common Market Southeast, has secured funding for Local Lands as part of its distribution program benefitting Black, Indigenous, and women farmers. This grant program will allow Local Lands and other diverse farms to produce food on a larger scale and enable underserved communities to access sustainable, nutritional goods. 

On the grant, Local Lands spoke to 11Alive about what the additional monetary support means to its production, which is now expanding to produce for local consumers and larger establishments such as schools, hospitals, and governmental entities.

The grant has allowed the farm to increase its production of pasture-raised eggs at five times the previous rate. “The grant has helped us decrease the cost of our eggs,” explained a member of Local Land, Raphaela Ysrael. “Small family farms like ourselves, we don’t necessarily have the capacity, you know, certain generational wealth, that we’re able to decrease the cost of our eggs to the general public.”

This financial assistance will increase options and production capacity for diverse farmers to thrive within the food industry while directly impacting the communities they initially intended to serve. This initiative grants these farms the resources and security to grow more crops and allows for more lucrative purchase commitments, as evidenced by Local Lands securing over $80,000 in purchase commitments.

“Historically underserved farmers have long been excluded from wholesale opportunities,” explained The Common Market Southeast Executive Director Bill Green.

“This program builds on the work begun during the USDA’s pandemic-era contracts to engage historically underserved producers, promoting sustainability and equity in local food systems while delivering fresh, ecologically responsible produce to communities.”

Although widening sales opportunities, these farmers are also remedying concerns surrounding food deserts, often found in underserved communities, by prioritizing and providing accessible and affordable groceries to these areas. According to Asa Ysrael, head farmer at Local Lands, this “target focus” will be crucial to addressing Georgia’s food concerns.

“With that kind of target focus, we’re trying to help out the southern side of metro Atlanta, especially because access to organic, local fresh food is at a very minimum, like we said, that we’re in one of the food deserts.”

According to Oxford Languages, a food desert is defined as “an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. Many poor people live in food deserts—where they have plenty of food but none of it healthy.”

These farmers remain committed to their growth and sustainable business practices by standing firm in their values and mission to their communities. According to Local Lands’ EliYahu Ben Asa, fostering these relationships with the people this food is ultimately grown for is a responsibility they hold in the highest regard,

“As farmers, not just farmers, but Black farmers, we’re pillars of the community, and people really look up to us and the way that we function.”

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