Developing Sustainable Farmers Markets

Emilia Fuentes

Decatur residents know of the DeKalb Farmers Market, but not many know of the Decatur Farmers Market that appears every Wednesday and Saturday at different outdoor Decatur locations.

The DFM focuses on developing and strengthening farmers markets for sustainability and community impact. The vendors that participate in selling their produce come from not just local Atlanta farms, but also from places as far north as Blue Ridge and as south as Macon, such as Global Growers.

Global Growers is a nonprofit organization in Atlanta that focuses on creating opportunities in sustainable agriculture in Ga. by training farmers and providing economic opportunity. They sell their produce at the DFM along with other farmers markets around the Atlanta area.

The Global Growers farm began because of refugee farmers who arrived in the United States, looking for land. Refugees who didn’t know where to get land in the city or how to go about leasing land approached the creators of Global Growers, Susan Pavlin and Robin Chanin, who started the farm soon after.

Todd Eittreim, farm manager at Global Growers, believes the farm is important because of the opportunity it provides for refugees.

“The organization really spawned from the need of people who have resettled in America and wanted to continue their farming traditions because that’s their trade,” Eittreim said.

Global Growers offers Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) to its farmers, allowing consumers to buy their shares of vegetables ahead of time in early spring .

All of the farmers at Global Growers are CSA farmers, which means they are contracted ahead of time to grow their produce.

“Their vegetables are already sold before the farmers put the seed in the ground,” Eittreim said.

When most consumers think of a farm, they think of the Pearson Farm in Fort Valley Georgia. It is a family run farm since 1885, that grows peaches, pecans, asparagus and corn.

Al Pearson, the current overseer of the farm, believes “it is all due to the knowledge and experience that has been passed down to younger generations that allows the farm to continue growing.”

Similar to Global Growers, the Pearson farm grows, picks, packs and ships the produce to farmers markets across Georgia. The Pearson farm also owns a retail outlet on their farm.

Pearson considers himself a dedicated farmer and enjoys his job, no matter the outcome of the crops.

“If I was ever gonna be successful, I would make it off of a tree,” Pearson said. “Every year, there is a chance that we might lose the crop, but we are glad to grow the crop. We are willing to lose it.”

Organic foods are not only important to the farmers but also to the consumers. Junior Nancy Jones is a regular shopper at the Decatur Farmers Market and believes it is important because of the environmental and personal effects.

“Eating organic is important to me because I can make an impact with the small choices I make,” Jones said. “The use of pesticides is severely harmful to the environment, so even outside of what eating pesticides does to my body, it’s a choice that I can make to support organic growers.”

I can make an impact with the small choices I make,” Jones said. “The use of pesticides is severely harmful to the environment, so even outside of what eating pesticides does to my body, it’s a choice that I can make to support organic growers.”