A collaboration between Fulton County and the University of Georgia extension program, it has expanded from two days a week to three, from 900 participants to 9,000 and from four locations to 24.
South Fulton locations include the new Aviation Cultural Center at Fulton County Airport, the Healing Community Center and Barge Road high-rise in Atlanta, the Palmetto Neighborhood Senior Center and the Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church in Atlanta, which hosted the program’s kickoff last week, drawing about 100 attendees.
Rev. Fredrick Russell, the church’s pastor, said the program dovetails with his congregation’s ongoing mission to provide for the community.
“One of the things in this congregation we celebrate is this thing of healthy living,” Russell said. “We know that during this day, you’re going to grow, you’re going to learn, you’re going to celebrate the precious commodity that God has given us, and that is good health.”
County Vice Chair Emma Darnell, in whose district the event took place, said the county fully supports the program.
“We believe that while diabetes may run in families, and [high blood] pressure, and all of the other chronic diseases we all have, it’s not all about running in families, is it? Some of it comes from what we do, how we eat and what we eat,” she said.
County Extension Office Director Menia Chester explained how the program works – participants fill out a short questionnaire and receive a grocery bag containing a cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, potato, sweet potato, beet, collard greens, an ear of corn and an orange – then learn how to cook them in a healthy manner.
“We let you taste it, we give you a recipe and a small bag of vegetables to go home and actually try. That is the basis of the Fulton Fresh mobile market program,” she said.
In 2013, the program distributed 19.2 tons of produce, some of it trucked from the East Point farmers market by county Facilities and Transportation Supervisor Derrick Anderson.
“I feel awesome,” he said about contributing to the outreach. “It does real good and it gives a good example for the community.”
Information: (404) 332-2400 or www.fultoncountyga.gov/fcced-home