MARTA is partnering with nonprofit organization Global Growers Network to establish a farm near the Indian Creek rail station in DeKalb County this summer. Produce from the farm, run by a collaborative group of local farmers called Umurima, will be available at MARTA Fresh Markets inside rail stations in the city of Atlanta and DeKalb County.
Umurima, founded in 2010 by Burundi refugees and supported by Global Growers Network, was previously farming on private land near the Avondale rail station. The women running Umurima take MARTA to and from their homes in nearby Clarkston and Stone Mountain to work on the farm. However, the group was recently “uprooted” from the Avondale location.
“Indian Creek Station is located in an area identified as food insecure by the USDA and this partnership with Global Growers Network will support these refugee families and food equity in the surrounding communities,” MARTA Interim general manager and CEO Collie Greenwood says in a press release.
Robin Chanin, the co-founder of Global Growers Network, says the agreement between MARTA and the nonprofit allows Umurima to continue farming in DeKalb County and “to play a leading role in addressing” access to fresh produce in an area deemed by the USDA as food insecure.
Global Growers Network assists refugees in Atlanta with setting up local farmsteads in order to grow food for their communities, while also providing access to opportunities for farmers to sell what they grow at local markets around town.
This isn’t the first time MARTA has partnered with a local nonprofit to provide access to fresh food for its riders. In 2015, the transit authority established the MARTA Fresh Markets at stations throughout the city in partnership with Community Farmers Markets. Supplemental support for the markets comes from Open Hand Atlanta, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Urban Recipe, and several local growers.
The markets operate weekly and on various days at the West End, H.E. Holmes, Bankhead, College Park, Doraville, and Five Points stations. A market at Kensington station in DeKalb County opens later this summer. All of the MARTA Fresh Markets double SNAP and EBT dollars and often offer free produce.