Metro Atlanta is experiencing a cultural transformation. The landscape of agriculture in metro Atlanta has transformed
from rural farms into residential and commercial development. But, don’t be deceived. Agriculture still exists here.
The faces of the farmers have changed significantly and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
Service is blazing the trail and addressing the changing conservation needs of today’s
farmer. “I can’t believe the carrots are this big.
I planted them way late,” Seth Hancock comments on some of his vegetable crops. Farm manager Seth Hancock is growing chemical
free fruits and vegetables and improving soil erosion at Dillwood Farms in Loganville. “We came out and worked with the landowner
and that landowner applied for what we call the EQIP program, Environmental Quality Incentives
Program. And, he got cost-share from the EQIP program to put in the hoop house at this particular
farm,” NRCS District Conservationist Jerome Brown explained. “It’s nice being part of it. It’s nice having
an agency that’s looking after all of this,” Seth Hancock added.
Mr. Yang and his wife are combining decades of experience from their native country of
Laos to create a successful farm in Walton County.
Vang Yang said, “I’ve been farming in Georgia…ahh, this will be the 5th year.” “They were using the well of the house which
isn’t enough to irrigate all that so that was one of the things we encountered,” NRCS
District Conservationist Jose Pagan explained. First generation farmer Pilar Quintero started
her farm in 2004. After being inspired by farmers in her native country of Columbia,
she realized the potential of agri-tourism. “And, so people can see how things used to
be and bringing them back to agriculture…back to the land. So, part of it at this moment
is for us is ‘how can we showcase that’? So that people can find it interesting and people
will want to basically set a seed for kids,” Quintero said. When you drive onto the farm of former IT
executive Brennan Washington, it’s hard to believe that you’re still in the city. “Phoenix Garden is a certified naturally grown
operation,” Washington said. NRCS District Conservationist Jerome Brown
added, “They call it underground containers that conserve water from the surface water
from the rain. He’s going to store it in a tank and irrigate the land.” As we look to the future of conservation in
metro Atlanta, one thing is very clear; the demand for sustainable agriculture is increasing
among all cultures. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is committed to serving
our changing population through new and innovative outreach channels. This commitment will help NRCS continue a
legacy of excellence in conservation stewardship for all people. “Conservation.” “Conservation.” “Conservando. And, conservando means conserving.”