Augusta Locally Grown bringing fresh foods to underserved counties

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 8:39 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta Locally Grown has been connecting farmers within a 100-mile radius of Augusta, providing fresh locally grown produce and meat. Now, they’re expanding even more providing more healthy options for rural counties.

“It’s your everyday groceries,” Rebecca Vanlonen said. “Rural areas are no different. The population is less dense, but we know we have diabetes, hypertension in these...But they don’t have the same access.”

Vanlonen is the executive director of Augusta Locally Grown. She says oftentimes rural counties lack love and attention when it comes to fresh food access.

That’s why they’re working to fill the gaps, partnering with rural areas like Harlem, Georgia

“Evans is usually our biggest order area,” Vanlonen explained. “But in the month that we have been open in Harlem for online pickup, the number of sales the dollar sales amount has exceeded Evans.”

She says the number of sales indicates the need, and right now, they’re working to bump up the order amount.

“We want to come into these areas we want to promote this,” Vanlonen said. “This is supporting your local businesses and helping to build that fresh food that we know we need.”

She says they’ll also be opening a pick-up location in Waynesboro next month and they’re currently setting something up with the Family Y in Thompson.

“We are starting a pop-up market that’s low-income based in partnership with the city,” Vanlonen explained.

She says the goal is to have a location in each county, bringing healthier options as well as job opportunities.

“You’re building a community, you’re building health and wealth in a community,” Vanlonen said.

Augusta Locally Grown says the last year the surge of food supply created 30 jobs and supported 160 local jobs in food access.

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