Since 2008, the Sunbelt Ag Expo has featured backyard gardening seminars and demonstrations. In 2015, a permanent exhibit space was established that has proven to be a popular spot for visitors to learn simple ways of growing a backyard or community garden. In 2019, Flint River Fresh and Fredando Jackson aka “Farmer Fredo” began working in the space. With the help of CCHS FFA and volunteers from the Moultrie Federated Guild, Farmer Fredo has been instrumental in growing and harvesting crops for the Colquitt County Food Bank.
Flint River Fresh is also active in Dougherty County, Sumter County, and at the Georgia National Fairgrounds. The entity is the urban agricultural arm of the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District and operates on five pillars. The main priority of the organization is food access. Ultimately, the group works to make sure everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. Additionally, they focus on providing local growers an avenue to distribute food that may otherwise be unsold or go to waste due to lack of commercial demand. By purchasing food from the farmers, they are able to help feed the community and also create economic opportunities for these farmers. The organization fosters youth development through partnerships with groups such as the FFA. FRF teaches conservation of land by planting fruit trees and converting old ballparks into gardens. The organization also promotes school engagement. In some school settings, the students grow the crop, harvest the product, incorporate the food into the school lunch menu, and donate extra food to those that need it.
Farmer Fredo says, “All you need to grow food are the basics. You don’t need heavy equipment or tools.” All you need is the desire to do for yourself and for others. Flint River Fresh strives to give people the confidence to grow food for themselves and for others. Growing food together creates camaraderie and builds community. During this season of love, share the gift of food by planting a garden with others or giving something you’ve grown to a neighbor.Love comes in all types of packages. To learn more about how you can share love with your family and your community through food, visit flintriverfresh.org.