Dougherty County, Flint River Fresh, and UGA Extension Service Hold First Dougherty Fresh Kickoff Workshop

Staff Report

Friday, November 20th, 2020

On Thursday, November 19, 2020, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dougherty Fresh will hold its first kickoff workshop in the Southgate Community at the Robert Cross Community Center at 3500 MLK, Jr. Drive. The purpose of the workshop is to engage a se- lect group of citizens in this region of Dougherty County in considering a community garden, as well as nutritional education information provided by the University of Georgia Dougherty County Exten- sion Agency and tips on growing food by Fredando Jackson, Executive Director of Flint River Fresh.

Created from a Healthiest Cities and Counties Grant in the amount of $100,000, the two-year grant program is funded by the Aetna Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), Dougherty Fresh is an initiative to provide support to counties and communities that desire to change the way they work together across sec- tors in an effort to reduce disparities in chronic disease outcomes.

A collaborative partnership between Dougherty County, Flint River Fresh, and the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension Service in Dougherty County, Dougherty Fresh will work to support the ini- tiative of the grant in several ways, including: developing a strategic vision for urban agriculture conversation within our community; working with local government and area businesses to en- sure continued success and sustainability of this program beyond inception; coordinate an ur- ban agriculture program to complement and expand current community initiatives, such as ad- dressing food deserts, work with local government to secure the food system, and support farm- ers and local food hub plans; build partnerships with local government, business, farmers, and others; increase access to healthy, local foods in low-income areas; develop a plan to address food deserts; create opportunities to merge existing initiatives into one large-scale, long-term coordinated effort; develop financial opportunities to support long-term viability of the initiative; and secure funds in partnership with this initiative to ensure longevity and impact.

As part of the Dougherty Fresh strategic plan for year one, three goals have been identified: 1) to increase the availability of fresh foods and nutritionally sound resources for Dougherty County residents (some of the strategies to achieve this goal include assessing food insecurities, in- creasing food access through community gardens, mobile markets, and corner store fresh mar- ket freezers, as well as build capacity through education and training); 2) establish a Food Council for the advancement of nutrition and health in Dougherty County (some of the strategies to achieve this goal include aligning services and resources through coordinated partnerships); and 3) to create a replicable model for use in other location of Dougherty County.

For the kickoff workshop and for COVID-19 safety purposes, a small group of residents have registered to participate in the Southgate community. After registration is complete, Scott Addi- son, Assistant County Administrator, will provide a welcome, introduction of partners and special guests, and an overview of the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Grant. Healthy Food Preparation Tips and Nutritional Education will be provided by Suzanne Williams, Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Agent for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Fredando Jackson, Executive Director for Flint River Fresh will provide a segment entitled “Grow Your Own Food Where You Live.” The workshop will conclude with input from the Southgate residents on the idea of a Community Garden and they will be asked to complete a survey to help Dougherty Fresh gain a better understanding of the needs for this portion of Dougherty County.

For more information on Dougherty Fresh, visit