Atlanta farmer named to USDA committee
Urban agriculture is moving into the spotlight with the creation of a new advisory committee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Georgia will have an experienced voice at the table. Bobby Wilson, the CEO and co-founder of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF), joins 11 other members who were recently appointed the inaugural USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture.
Members will serve terms of one to three years, provide input on policy development and help identify barriers to urban agriculture.
Wilson, who was featured in our January article “Deep Roots,” created the five-acre MAUF in southwest Atlanta with three pillars in mind: to serve as a teaching tool and an economic empowerment zone, and to help bring healthy food options to an area where many residents are food insecure. One of Atlanta’s earliest urban farmers, Wilson was program director for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s Atlanta Urban Gardening Program for 20 years before starting MAUF more than a decade ago.
To help teach neighbors about healthy food, space is set aside for a community garden. “We realized that there are a lot of people that want to learn how to grow,” Wilson said. The American Community Garden Association is headquartered at MAUF.
And of course, the farm produces and sells crops itself. “On the production side, what we want to be able to do is to create that model program to show a farmer that he or she can make a significant income on producing food,” Wilson said. His dream for MAUF is that it will serve as a “one-stop shop” for anyone who needs resources about urban farming. With his appointment to the committee, Wilson now has the chance to help shape urban farming all over the country.
Photo by Kevin Garrett. Bobby Wilson, left, and Georgia Organics President and CEO Alice Rolls were photographed at MAUF.