By providing farmers and community growers with an ecosystem of support, we are strengthening the local economy while making local, healthy produce abundant and accessible to communities throughout metro-Atlanta. As a result of our work, there is significantly more fresh food in Metro Atlanta, particularly in food insecure neighborhoods. There is also more farmable land, more growers, and more opportunities for growers to sell their produce.
First, we use a combination of land acquisition and management, education, advocacy, and market access to break down barriers and to offer pipelines for expanding production capacity for both community growers and commercial farmers, particularly for those who are new Americans and people of color.
Second, our work is largely place-based, seeking to stitch communities back together by providing collaborative growing spaces that address problems at a local level in ways that are safe, inclusive and mindful of cultural differences.
Third, our work is heavily informed by an understanding of the ways in which racial, ethnic, and cultural practices significantly shape how stakeholders experience the food system as consumers, household growers, and commercial actors.
Last, we address the needs of both community growers and commercial farmers, many of who, despite their agricultural expertise, are food insecure due to their economic status.
Global Growers employs 9 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff to deliver our programs. Our staff bring strong cultural competency skills to their work that reject the prescriptive methods offered by so many other organizations, and instead focus on understanding the unique combination of social, economic, and cultural factors that can constrain or promote an ecosystem of success. We recognize the ways in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in ways that can perpetuate inequities. As a result, Global Growers operates under a system of community-directed decision making that uniquely elevates the voices of our growers and farmers, so that they have leading input into decisions about systems of food production and ownership. Approaching our work in this way deepens and diversifies our impact, especially with new Americans and people of color.
Global Growers uses several different strategies to track and measure programs and activities. Our strategic plan identifies key performance indicators related to each goal and objective. In addition, we invested in a custom configuration of Salesforce, a CRM software, to improve program management and evaluations. Each GG staff member has an annual set of metrics assigned to them and is in the routine of reporting them on a monthly basis to the Director of Programs who compiles the information.
GG manages more than 22 acres in DeKalb County across 8 farm and garden locations. Since 2010, GG’s farm and gardens have collectively produced more than 500,000lbs of produce. More than 90% of this food was consumed or distributed at low or no cost by the growers, the majority of whom are considered food insecure based on their socioeconomic status. In 2017, GG distributed more than $150,000 worth of fresh produce to 140 members of our Farm Share program, farm-to-table restaurants, wholesale buyers, and local farmers markets in which 75% of the sales revenues went directly to the farmers.
Global Growers continues our trajectory of growth and capacity-building including investments in dedicated office space, operational systems, compensation packages, and board development. We are also establishing a more sophisticated donor database, program evaluation tools, and financial reporting systems.