It’s almost summer, and for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension staff in DeKalb and Clayton counties, that can only mean one thing — road trip!
Both offices will be taking their nutrition education programming on the road this summer along with all the fresh fruits and vegetables needed to put those good dietary intentions into action.
DeKalb County’s Mobile Market program, which is beginning its third season on Saturday, May 20, will be crisscrossing the county providing supermarket-priced produce at schools, apartment complexes and community centers located in neighborhoods that are underserved by full-service supermarkets.
“Over the past two years we've seen the number of people who shop at our market double," said Vonsuela Baker, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) agent for UGA Extension in DeKalb County. "That tells us that there is an unmet demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in the neighborhoods that we're serving, and we're excited to continue to meet that demand this summer.
"Our goal is to help to DeKalb Countians eat more fruit and vegetables, and with the mobile market and the cooking classes that are part of the market experience, we're doing just that."
Baker urges everyone in DeKalb County to keep a look out for the mint green “Fresh on Dek” bus in their neighborhoods and give the market a try.
The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sponsored by UGA Extension, the DeKalb County Board of Health and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.
The DeKalb Mobile Market begins its weekly schedule on June 6, and the program will run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at locations in Decatur, Lithonia and Stone Mountain.
The complete schedule is posted at www.dekalbmobilemarket.com.
In Clayton County, UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Winston Eason is working with the office’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) staff to coordinate a mobile market to serve areas of the county designated as “food deserts” by the USDA.
Their mobile market program, dubbed Clayton Fresh, held a kickoff party on May 13 at the Jonesboro Farmers Market. The Clayton Fresh program will travel the county throughout the summer and provide nutrition education classes and bags of fresh produce. All of the produce will be provided by the Lovejoy Community Garden, a 10-acre small suburban farm in Lovejoy, Georgia.
The produce will be available for free for those who take the nutrition class and will include the ingredients that they need to try the recipes used in the class's cooking demonstration.
“Our goal is to provide nutrition information to the public, and this is a roundabout way to reach targeted groups with information about health and nutrition,” Eason said.
Clayton Fresh will kick off its weekly schedule in June and a complete schedule will soon be listed at ugaextension.org/county-offices/clayton.html.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Lyndon Waller, left, a DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market program assistant, and Rickeia Stewart, a UGA Extension administrative assistant in DeKalb County, are part of the team helping bring fresh vegetables to underserved communities in DeKalb County. UGA Extension offices in both DeKalb and Clayton counties will run mobile produce programs this summer.Download Image
UGA Extension's metro Atlanta mobile markets launch full schedules next month.Download Image
UGA Cooperative Extension in Clayton County is launching the Clayton Fresh mobile farmers market program this June.Download Image