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Planting SEEDS for a better future

SEEDS volunteers take a break from helping to turn a dilapidated apartment complex into food gardens. (click for larger version)
August 06, 2014
Georgia is the perfect place to set an example for how a state can work with communities to provide their own food and energy.

SEEDS Global is one of the participants making a change. The nonprofit hopes their projects will bring healthy food to people living in Atlanta's inner city. Their motto is: "One house, one garden; one community, one farm."

"Atlanta has a great climate for growing food, but it's one of the biggest food deserts in the country," said Todd Mitchell, Alpharetta resident and founder of SEEDS Global. "With all the available space here, it doesn't make sense."

SEEDS Global aims to transform lower-income housing into an urban food paradise that hopes to supply its own energy, as well as help area schools plant gardens and grow hydroponic produce.

The hydroponic systems grow food without soil, often under grow lights.

Mitchell made significant progress after he met David Kessler of Atlantis Hydroponics.

After expressing interest in hydroponics and aquaponics, Kessler connected Mitchell with "The Hunger Games" movie producers. Kessler had installed 35 hydroponic towers at the Atlanta set.

Those towers now belong to SEEDS Global.

"We're planning on building a mall for nonprofits that help inner-city communities," Mitchell said. "We don't want to do it all. We want to partner with everybody."

Mitchell's plan is rooted in his belief that success is dependent upon collaboration, not competition. Mitchell says more people rising above the poverty level and becoming independent is better than fewer people earning more while the rest lack opportunity, funding and, most importantly, healthy food.

When I first visited their location on the west side of Atlanta, it was hard to fathom that an area littered with abandoned housing, old, worn apartment complexes and boarded up businesses was just 30 minutes away from Alpharetta and five minutes away from downtown Atlanta – let alone in the United States.

But the SEEDS Global project is bringing hope and breaking the cycle of poverty.

The income in North Fulton is far greater than South Fulton. A significant portion of tax dollars end up going to fund welfare programs that do little to foster growth.

How about we divert welfare money directly to companies like SEEDS Global — companies that invest in the community, the people and the soil — unlike Washington bureaucrats? The only way we will lift our South Fulton neighbors out of poverty is if we pull together to provide access and opportunity for all, not just those who can afford it.

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