How robust is metro Atlanta’s local food scene? The Atlanta Local Food Initiative is trying to find out. Organizers want to count all of the area’s edible food gardens, community gardens, farms, farmers markets, apiaries, henhouses … any place where food is being produced locally, or where local food is being made available to others. And then they hope to compile all that information into a local food inventory report.
They’ve started the process by creating a short and sweet survey for gardeners. If you’ve got a pot of herbs in the window, a row of peppers in your yard, an apple tree or a beehive, you can let ALFI know that you’re part of the sustainable food movement (even if you don’t call it that). With just five questions, the survey doesn’t take more than a minute or two to complete.
Launched in 2005, ALFI seeks to create a more sustainable food system for the Atlanta area for the benefit of the local economy, environment and public health. The surveys mark an important step toward proving the point.
“People say that a local food system is so good for so many reasons—health, job growth, the economy, the environment—but at this point … we don’t really know,” says Laura Whitaker, a public health graduate who is creating the surveys for ALFI. “We’re creating a baseline. In the future, we’ll be able to say what changes have been made in our local food system, and compare it to all the things we say a local food system is good for.”