Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 4/23/20
GEORGIA ORGANICS & THE JAMESTOWN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION LAUNCH ‘FOOD FIGHT GA,’ WITH A MISSION TO RELIEVE FOOD & INCOME INSECURITY FOR FOOD SERVICE PROFESSIONALS & GEORGIA’S SMALL FARMERS
Sourced Directly from Georgia Farms & Root Baking Co., the Initiative Provides Weekly Boxes of Fresh Produce, Eggs & Bread to Food Service Workers
Participating Restaurants in the Pilot Phase include Bacchanalia, BoccaLupo, The Deer & The Dove, Floataway Cafe, Miller Union, Staplehouse & Star Provisions
Georgia Organics, a nonprofit that connects organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families, and the Jamestown Charitable Foundation, a public charity from the Atlanta-based real estate investment and management company behind Ponce City Market, have collaborated to launch Food Fight GA with the goal of “Championing Our Farmers and Feeding Our Restaurant Family.” The new initiative’s pilot phase is providing weekly grocery boxes to approximately 200 unemployed restaurant workers at Atlanta restaurants with long-standing commitments to local sourcing, all while helping to relieve income insecurity for small Georgia farms amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funds donated to Food Fight GA by the Jamestown Charitable Foundation, Ponce City Market, the Wilbur & Hilda Glenn Family Foundation and the USDA are used to purchase fresh produce from Georgia farms and ingredients like eggs and Root Baking Co. bread that are assembled into weekly boxes for food service workers to pick up for free at participating restaurants. At this time, the program is open to current and former staff at Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Staplehouse, Star Provisions and Georgia Organics Farmer Champion restaurant partners, including BoccaLupo, The Deer & The Dove and Miller Union.
“Restaurants think of their teams as family, not to mention the farmers from whom we source and who become our friends, and the Atlanta food community is doing what we can to make sure our people are safe and cared for during this uncertain time,” says Chris Wilkins, Owner & Head Baker at Root Baking Co., who was instrumental in ideating the program from its inception and is providing fresh baked loaves made from organic, locally sourced flour for every box.
“The food community is at the heart of our city, and restaurants and small farms have been especially impacted by this crisis,” says Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown. “We are grateful to partner with Georgia Organics to take action now against food and income insecurity in these affected industries, while providing fresh, healthy ingredients for restaurant staff to feed their families.”
By bringing fresh produce to restaurant workers, Food Fight GA is simultaneously helping to support Georgia’s local food system by mitigating farmers’ lost revenue due to COVID-19. Many small Georgia farms derive revenue by selling to restaurants who are now closed or operating on a limited model of takeout or delivery in response to the crisis. The program sources directly from farms who are existing sellers to the participating restaurants or are members of the Georgia Organics Farm to Restaurant Cohort program. Participating farms include, but are not limited to Ellijay Mushrooms, Hickory Hill Farm, Levity Farms, Pinewood Springs Farm, Rodgers Greens & Roots Farm, Snapfinger Farm, West Georgia Farmer’s Cooperative and Woodland Gardens.
“We have this chance to take care of the people that always take care of us,” says Ilana Richards of Levity Farms in Alpharetta, Georgia.
“During the program’s pilot in the last two weeks, Food Fight GA put nearly $10,000 back into the hands of farm partners and has provided approximately 200 produce boxes to Atlanta restaurant workers each week,” says Alice Rolls, Executive Director of Georgia Organics. “Thanks to donors like Jamestown Charitable Foundation and Ponce City Market, we’re hoping to expand the program to feed more food service professionals and support additional farms across the state over the coming weeks.”