Fred Conrad, community garden program manager at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, remembers seeing the first cluster of community gardens appear in 1997, started by a group of older African-American women looking for ways to improve their neighborhoods.
One was on the grounds of what was then Carver Homes in southwest Atlanta and the other was at Tobie Grant Manor near the DeKalb Farmer’s Market in Scottdale.
“The gardens were dynamic and beautiful,” Conrad said.
Eventually gardens began popping up all over. Today Conrad estimates there are more than 300 active community gardens in metro Atlanta. He credits First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign with helping fuel the movement.
“People were making the connection between their health and the foods they ate,” Conrad said. “They were thinking about where the food was grown, whether it was in season and how farmers were impacting the local economy and if they were being treated well.”