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Let's GROW baby!

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

Hi, my name is Diana Dudas and I'm the founder of grow dudas, LLC. Our mission is to 'cultivate a sustainable future in urban agriculture' by expanding access to fresh and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and herbs within low-income/low-access communities in the metro Atlanta area. We started our search for land to dedicate to urban farming in the beginning 2021 and on February 18, 2022, we successfully closed on a .54acre vacant residential lot in northwest Atlanta (Carver Hills).

What does a year of searching entail? I downloaded and installed a few residential and commercial real estate apps on my phone which I reviewed daily to ensure I didn't miss any new or updated listings (e.g. reduced price). I also asked a few commercial and industrial realtors if they knew of any unlisted lots or organizations that may work for my urban farming needs. Unfortunately, I chased my tail for a few months reaching out to all the contacts to include Atlanta City Council members, the Mayor's Office of Resilience, the Department of Parks and Recreation and Georgia Power as they allow urban farming on their land along high-power transmission lines with no luck.

Over the past year, we submitted several offers and was very close to purchasing a 1/4 acre vacant residential lot in Adamsville in December of 2021. Unfortunately, the closing attorney was unable to obtain a clear title and the sellers agent was unable to determine who sold the lot. Upset with the news, we were left with no choice but to terminate our contract and continue searching. Luckily our perseverance paid off, as we were able to secure a lot double that size not even a week later! I truly believe we were redirected towards something bigger and better and we haven't looked back since.

What's next? Were currently preparing the lot for the spring 2022 growing season. We collected and sent soil samples to UGA for testing in order to understand what amendments would be needed. We also had a survey of the lot completed to mark where our lot begins and ends and to understand our boundaries for installing a perimeter fence. We also requested quotes from a few tree service companies to remove six trees as they will impact the amount of direct sunlight our farm would receive once the trees are back in full bloom this Spring/Summer. We have applied to setup utilities with the Atlanta Watershed Department for water/sewer and Georgia Power for electricity. We applied for a farm and tract number with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to be able to apply for grants and resources with the Natioinal Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). We’re currently in the process of applying for a Special Administrative Permit (SAP) with the City of Atlanta to exclusively farm our lot. We’re developing a site plan to include a description of use for any structures/buildings, the locations and dimensions. In addition to site planning, we’re researching and applying for grants to help fund the build out of our urban farm.

Stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities and remember to like, follow, share our journey on Instagram via @grow_dudas or Facebook Grow dudas, LLC! #letsgrowbaby



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