In the heart of Atlanta, Piedmont Park redefines the notion of a walk in the park.
Here, where hands hit the dirt, kids learn about gardening and the Green Market offers fresh produce, Georgia agriculture finds a home just 2 miles from downtown. The only thing growing faster than plants is knowledge. Education tops the list of priorities at Piedmont, where more than 800 children explore the park’s Education Garden each year, learning how to grow food and identify plants.
Through Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Seed to Market program, children witness the seasonal circle. Children plant seeds and maintain plants, harvest fruit and veggies, and even participate in culinary classes. Produce harvested from the garden is sold at the Green Market, and all the money raised goes back to the garden to purchase seeds and materials for the next growing season.
“What better way to teach kids to be healthy than to let them participate in growing the good food they eat,” says Yvette Bowden, president and CEOof the conservancy.
Founded in 1904, Piedmont Park is referred to as “Common Ground” where food and the great outdoors become the great common denominators for everyone. Each year, kids take full advantage of the garden, wetlands, swim areas and more as part of the Enviroventures summer program.
With its long history spanning nearly two centuries, the park began as a forest. The original pioneering owners, Samuel and Sarah Walker, transformed the thick forests into farmland, scraping out a living from the earth. While the park changed faces through the years from fairground to exposition center, its original mission of promoting agriculture and industry has stayed the same.
Today, Piedmont Park’s agricultural past continues to thrive, teaching kids about food and the origins of food in one of the biggest cities in the U.S. It is a garden without borders, rich in growing possibilities.