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Agriculture is the state’s largest industry, contributing more than 350,000 jobs and more than $74 billion to Georgia’s economy. With high risks and, often, thin profit margins for family-owned farms, social isolation, the vagaries of weather, and the burden of a multigenerational family legacy, the work can wreak havoc on mental health.
With COVID-19, Georgia farmers—and the organizations designed to support them—have had to rethink nearly every aspect of what they do with their bounty.
Georgia pecan farmers have thrived for a century. After Hurricane Michael, they’re unsure if they’ll survive another generation.
After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017, and Hurricane Michael in 2018, Georgia's pecan farming industry is suffering. Georgia lost a sixth of its total pecan trees from Hurricane Michael and generations of farmers lost their crops—giving them a long road to recovery. Combined with increasing tariffs, many farmers are uncertain about their future.
A few blocks south of the Lakewood amphitheater at the end of a dead-end street, something unexpected is sprouting: rows upon rows of certified organic kale and collards and beets (and, come summer, tomatoes and eggplants and okra).
Maricela Vega's complex "modern Mexican" dishes are often entirely plant-based and always Instagram-worthy. She currently hosts pop-ups at the Spindle and LottaFrutta, and hopes to eventually open a bodega where she can give back to her community.