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Phoebe Partners with Flint River Fresh to Open Community Garden

Phoebe and Flint River Fresh (FRF) are partnering to provide fresh, locally-grown produce to people throughout the community who have limited access to healthy, affordable food.  Leaders from both organizations officially opened a new community garden in the 200 block of W. 5th Ave. during a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.

“Phoebe and Flint River Fresh are both vital community organizations committed to improving overall health and wellness in southwest Georgia,” said Scott Steiner, President & CEO, Phoebe Putney Health System.  “Our partnership is a natural alliance, and we are excited to work together to revitalize this neighborhood by transforming this block into an asset we believe will benefit people in Albany for years to come.”

Phoebe donated three plots of land – a total of about three-quarters of an acre – to use for the garden.  “This is by far the biggest community garden in Dougherty County,” said Fredando Jackson, Executive Director, Flint River Fresh.  “It will allow people to see crops growing in an urban, open space and will provide an area to host community-focused activities such as hands-on educational workshops, harvest events and markets.”

Food harvested from the garden will be provided to those in need in the community in multiple ways.  A large percentage will be donated to hunger relief organizations such as Feeding the Valley Food Bank.  Some will be distributed to residents in nearby public housing units such as Arcadia Commons.  In the summer, some of the produce will be provided to participants in the health department’s Women Infant and Children (WIC) program.  FRF will also host community you-pick days during which volunteers who help harvest crops to benefit others can keep some for their personal use.

Crops currently being grown in the garden include carrots, onions, radishes, beets, lettuce, spinach, collards and strawberries.  Jackson will grow various other crops in the garden year-round and plans to add fruit trees to the site soon.  “Teaching people to grow food is the calling card for Flint River Fresh,” Jackson said.  “This garden will allow us to do that, but it’s really an investment in the comm

unity.  Planting fruit trees will show that this is not just a short-term opportunity.”

FRF gained its 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service as an official nonprofit in Dec. 2017 with a mission of increasing access to fresh, healthy food in underserved areas of the community, creating new economic opportunities for local farmers and developing young people through agriculture.  “In such a short time, Flint River Fresh has become one of the most vital and vibrant charity organizations in this community.  We’re proud to work alongside Farmer Fredo and all his dedicated volunteers and board members, and we look forward to building on our partnership in the future,” Steiner said.

Phoebe’s Network of Trust also works with FRF, Albany Recreation and Parks Department, UGA Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardeners, Georgia Farm Bureau and Southwest Georgia Project to sponsor gardens in all 14 elementary schools in the Dougherty County School System.  FRF also has school gardens at the 4C Academy and both campuses of Deerfield Windsor School, in addition to gardens at four Albany Recreation and Parks Department community centers, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Boys & Girls Club in Plains and a demonstration garden at the Sunbelt Ag Expo site in Moultrie.

Thursday evening following the opening of the newest garden, FRF will host a partner appreciation dinner to thank donors and community partners for their support.  An ongoing fundraising drive to sustain FRF’s mission has raised nearly $100,000.  Phoebe’s donations that include clearing and preparing the garden property total around $20,000, so far.  Anyone interested in donating to FRF or volunteering in the new garden can learn more by visiting

Posted: 12.6.2019