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Georgia Farmers Markets Bring Sustainable Food To Communities

Photo Courtesy Cartersville Farmer's Market

Farmers markets across Georgia provide local communities economic, social, and health benefits. From Atlanta’s Freedom Farmers Market to the Cartersville Farmers Market, the Peach State has a large number of thriving community operations. Often operated by nonprofits or local governments, the markets allow farmers and vendors to sell directly to their neighbors, offering a more sustainable approach to good nutrition.

Freedom Farmers Market

The Freedom Farmers Market (FFM) is located at former President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center in Atlanta. FFM began in 2014 and was founded by a small group of Georgia farmers who wanted to bring local, sustainably grown food to Atlanta neighborhoods. 

It’s open year-round on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon and is known for a wide range of local and organic products such as grass-fed meats, dairy, and farm-fresh eggs.

The market, one of the most popular in the city, also holds monthly events focused on seasonal fruits and vegetables and often showcases local chef demonstrations. 

The market’s name, “Freedom,” has a double meaning — it’s located near the capital city’s popular Freedom Park Trail and hopes to demonstrate a sense of independence by eating and shopping locally. Each week, an estimated 3,000 Atlantans visit the operation.

Photo Courtesy Freedom Farmers Market at the Carter Center

The market, located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, has forged significant partnerships with community organizations, often recognizing community members who serve the city. Some of the groups that the FFM works with include Second Helpings Atlanta, whose volunteers pick up perishable and frozen prepared food from grocery stores, hospitals, and large events to feed those in need. 

FFM also works with the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, which offers annual Scholarships for Education and Continuing Education Grants to female applicants pursuing culinary or pastry arts, farming, beverage management, hospitality, or agriculture coursework. 

Snellville Farmers Market

Just outside the eastern Atlanta suburbs, the Snellville Farmers Market (SFM) is held in the

parking lot of Snellville City Hall. The extended session is open from October through May, and the market is run by residents who operate it without any funding from the city. SFM attracts nearly 20,000 visitors yearly and hopes to nourish the community with local, seasonal produce.

Photo Courtesy Snellville Farmers Market 

Wiregrass Farmers Market

Further south in Tifton, the Wiregrass Farmers Market (WFM) sets up shop every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture, April to July for spring and October through November for fall. Founded in 2011 and run by a board of directors, Wiregrass is a community-based producer’s market. Vendors are expected to produce the majority of the items they sell. 

WFM is known for a wide variety of products, each tied to the South Georgia growing seasons.

With a mission to inspire the community to learn more about healthy food, farming, cooking, and sustainability, the operation offers regular workshops and demonstrations on growing, preparing, and preserving food.

​​Photo Courtesy Randi Hickman 

Cartersville Farmer’s Market

In the northwest part of the state, the Cartersville Farmers Market (CFM) is one of the oldest in the area. The market, established in 1982, is dedicated to connecting people in the city and the surrounding areas with local farmers and producers. 

Farmers sell a variety of in-season products on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from May to September. The community-led operation is sponsored by the Bartow County Government, the Cartersville-Bartow Convention & Visitors Bureau, UGA-Bartow County Extension, the City of Cartersville, and the Downtown Development Authority.

Many of Georgia’s farmers markets use the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Freedom Farmers Market partners with Wholesome Wave Georgia in the Georgia Fresh 4 Less Program, which allows it to double SNAP dollars. 

The market also uses a token system to make using debit, credit, and SNAP/EBT cards easy. CFM also ensures its products are available to all and has partnered with Wholesome Wave GA’s Georgia Fresh For Less program to double SNAP/EBT benefits.

Photo Courtesy Cartersville Farmer’s Market 

The popularity of farmers markets across Georgia follows the national trend of food buyers who want an experience outside of grocery store chains. Consumers are demanding local, sustainable, and healthy food options to not only live healthier lives as individuals but to make communities safer, more sustainable, and livable for all.

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