Goodbye summer...Hello fall.

Goodbye summer…Hello fall.

By Chelsea Dye

The carefree summer days are coming to a close or perhaps already have.

Back to school.

Back to the hustle.
If you are less than elated to welcome back the routine and the often rigorous schedules that come along with it, try reframing this as an opportunity. 
Make a Plan for wellness.

You don’t need to live and die by your schedule. Look at the “must do” items (work, activities, deadlines...). Then plan beyond that.
Include your wellness and that of your family into this plan.
Make a list of activities that bring you joy & those that help you work towards your goals.

Above and beyond obligations, the areas I always schedule are connection (with your loved ones and community), health, wellness & me time. 
I want to share Three tips that will help you plan for wellness now and into the future.

Tip #1
Set your health goals.
Include both your mental & physical health goals.
Put them in writing.
Review these goals weekly. Plan each week how to achieve these when you meet a challenge or a fork in the road.
Share your goals with someone (or many people) .
You are more likely to stick to make it happen.

Tip #2
Plan for healthy eating.
Commit to nourishing & fueling yourself and your family in a healthful way.
Make a weekly meal plan and prep schedule.

Choose local, fresh non processed and organic when possible.

If you are exactly where you want to be physically & mentally, this has proven a part of meeting your health goals. For those of us who are not living to our fullest potential, this component may be a game changer in getting you closer to your best self .
The foundation for making these healthful food habits stick is to make it ENJOYABLE, and attainable (meet yourself where you are) .
Don’t forget to add an element of fun!

I craft my weekly meal plan for home and my shop , Blend & Press Wellness Bar, on Saturday afternoons after my visit to the local market.

Allow all of the members of your family to take part in the process. Find ways to make every person be a real contributor and find enjoyment. 
This may be especially useful if you have a picky child (or spouse) like I do.

TIP # 3
Connect & Schedule quality time with loved ones.
Connect with your community.
Set up quality time with your friends, family and most important yourself.

Begin a daily mediation challenge with a friend, bike with your family, attend a yoga class with your mom, go to church with your husband.

Consider bonding over your beautiful bounty from the weekly market. Take the meal prepping from a chore to a joy. 
Quality family time and friend time can be worked into this prepping. Share the tasks amongst your family, friends and even roommates!

And don’t forget to plan and follow through with your self-care time.

The excitement of all the fall has to offer can pose challenges for your health & Wellness. Don’t let it!
Be in charge, make your “best self” plan. Make it your best fall ever.

Here are a few of my picks and culinary plans to make this week fun, flavorful and healthy. Thank you to the Forsyth Park Farmers’ Market for making this possible!

SNACK: Peach, cucumber, tomato, jalapeño salsa with season herbs

SWEET SIPS: Carrot cantaloupe orange lime pressed juice. This sipper is great for the skin!
*Available at BLEND & PRESS Wellness Bar next week

SAVORY DINNER : Thai Basil pumpkin seed pesto with sea kelp Noodles or zucchini noodles
*Available at BLEND & PRESS Wellness Bar next week

BLENDED DELIGHT: A Pear, Fig, Seasonal greens smoothie with maca root & cinnamon. *Check my personal and business social media for this recipe later in the week.

All of the fruits, veggies & herbs in italics will be at this week’s Forsyth market.
I hope this inspires you to make it your best week!

Follow @Blendpresswellnessbar for recipes this week based on the local ingredient form the market. Follow @chelseadye for more inspiration healthy & fun living tips , plant base life, yoga and more .

The Heat of Summer is Upon Us by Chelsea Dye

You may not be a fan of the intense heat or the humidity of our southern summer, there is plenty to be thankful for in the way of fresh local fares. The final weeks of summer bring us the last of this season’s harvest. Our very own Forsyth Farmers’ Market connects the local farmers with our community to savor & share in the fruits of their labor.

As a mom, creative cook, and the owner of Blend & Press wellness bar, our local farmers’ market is a life essential. My family, my team & my customers enjoy my unique and creative approach to fueling, healing and enlivening the body. We couldn’t do this without our local produce and farmers.

As a true lover of the market & all things fresh, my grocery list for the week (both for business and home) is built off the vibrant market array. I have learned to be practical, budget conscious & creative through my commitment to using the market as a primary source. Summer is plentiful & our creative juices are in full swing during this season.

Peaches, watermelon, blueberries & plums are among our favorite sweeter fruits. We wait with excitement for the arrival of pears in August. At my shop & at home we are stocking up on the last of the cucumber as it goes out of season. Tomatoes, okra & beans grace our market basket in these dwindling days of summer . Greens are a mainstay and foundation of our summer fuel.

Journey with us as we think beyond some of the traditional ways produce can be used in the south. No need to fry your greens, sweeten and bake your fruits or stew your produce to oblivion.

Our top market basket picks this week are blueberries, basil, peaches, peppers, sunflower shoot, and micro-greens. Come see how we get creative with these beauties. Every newsletter I will share a recipe on how to get creative in the kitchen with our favorites.

Think fresh. Think healthy. Think what will make your family happy now & In The future. There are SO many ways to please and excite every palette with our local loves.

Now it’s your turn to make the market a foundation in your kitchen!

With GREENS & Gratitude,

Chelsea Dye

Final Note:

Follow Blend & Press Wellness Bar through our social media for exciting new, practical and wallet wise ways to eat our local fresh fares. Get creative & healthier in your kitchen with our favorites! Dig deeper into our plant based wellness summer tips, tricks by following us @blendpresswellnessbar. Visit our site


Savannah Summer limeade cooler

Serves 2-3

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup peaches, chopped & pits removed

8 ounces coconut water

1/2 cup ice

Juice of 1-2 limes depending on your preference for sweetness.

Touch of Himalayan salt

Sweeten to taste if needed. We suggest

*1 tbsp local honey

*1/2 ripe banana (not local but will give a creaminess )

MAKE IT a summer BASIL cooler

Add 2 tablespoons finely Chopped ( stems removed ) fresh basil to recipe above prior to blending.
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender without the sweetener of choice

Blend until Combined completely.

Remove and taste (*just like people, every fruit tastes slightly different based on harvesting, ripeness, and origin)

Add sweetener of choice

Meet the Farmers: George's Gorgeous Greens

George and Jake and Their Gorgeous Greens

By: Jessica Leigh Lebos


From the street, the old Victorian house looks like any other in its west side neighborhood, its porch crowded with folding chairs, shaded by a tall magnolia tree planted long ago.

Peek into the carefully tended flower garden to the side yard, however, and it’s clear the residents do more with their time than sit in the shadows, watching the world go by. Wildflowers ring a goldfish pond as lilies and amaryllis give way to a path lined with herbs, not a weed to be seen. Azaleas and lantana train up the white picket fence, festooning it with oranges and pinks. It becomes even more lush towards the back, where a glimpse through the gate reveals one of the city’s most profuse and vibrant small farms in Savannah.

George Wilson and his partner, Jake Kawatski, have been tilling this patch of urban paradise since 2006. Utilizing every square foot of space, they’ve cultivated an impressive variety of blooms and veggies for favorite friends and selling the rest under the banner of George’s Gorgeous Greens at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. On a sunny afternoon in late spring, a small forest of chard, kale and lettuces pushes up above the rim of an old swimming pool filled in to create more growing room on the urban lot.

“We grow a little of everything,” says George, stooping down to brush away a few dead leaves from the tightly packed rows. “Who wants to be bored?”

Also among the plots are rarities like French sorrel, radicchio and sen posai, a collard-like green from the Asian tropics. George starts seeds indoors, then transfers the strongest seedlings to the ground, which Jake amends with coffee grounds from local cafés. Though our sandy Savannah soil requires constant composting, they promise that growing food on a meaningful scale is feasible at any age.

“We’re like missionaries,” muses Jake. “Part of it is showing people, ‘hey, we’re doing this in our backyard, and you can, too.’”

“Yep, we’re changing the world, one head of lettuce at a time,” adds George with a chuckle. “Of course, we have about a hundred years of experience between us.”

Born and raised in Miami during its art deco heyday, George married and raised two sons in his former wife’s native Atlanta. After an unhappy stint as a public school teacher, he opened Le Papillon in 1978, a traditional French restaurant where he grew herbs and edible flowers to serve on the plates.

“I got turned on by Julia Child!” he says of the career change. “But the long hours got to me.”

In the 90s, George and his wife founded an intentional community in a “big ol’ house” in Inman Park, sharing the work and bounty of a giant home and garden with 15 to 20 others. After the marriage ended, he wanted to continue living the communal life, but needed a change.

“I was looking for another commune and another partner, a guy this time. I found both at the same time,” recalls George with a grin. 

He met Jake, a midwesterner, in 2000 at Twin Oaks, a radical LGBTQ-friendly intentional community in rural Virginia. Founded in 1967, it is one of the longest-running secular farming communes in the country, with a wholesale seed company and thriving tofu business.

“We met on Beltane,” adds Jake, referring to the ancient mid-spring tradition celebrated with flowers and fire. “We had a lot in common.”

The two lived and worked at Twin Oaks for several years, until the climate called them south.

“The garden there was marvelous, just huge, and I worked in the orchard for a while. But I got tired of those winters—it was cold as hell!” remembers George.

George’s younger son was living in Savannah at the time, and the partners decided to try their hands in balmier Zone 8b. The long growing season yielded more than they could eat themselves, and they soon found themselves with a booth at the local farmers market, then hosted on Desoto Row in the Starland District. George’s Gorgeous Greens was one of the Forsyth Farmers Market’s first vendors, and they’ve been delighted to be joined by so many others over the years.

“Seeing the growth of the market has just been wonderful, especially people like Rafe and Ansley of Canewater Farms,” says George. “It’s so inspiring to see young people trying to make a living farming and for the community to come out and support them.”

The mates still enjoy something of a communal life, sharing their rambling home with a couple of roommates and occasional couchsurfers from around the globe. Jake serves tea and cookies in their cozy living room, the coffee tables covered with George’s seed catalogs and sewing projects that Jake oversees with the children of Charles Ellis Montessori Academy.

“It’s important for kids these days to know how to do things with their hands,” says Jake pointedly, looking over his reading glasses as he threads a needle.

When they’re not in the garden, George and Jake can be found volunteering for local progressive political candidates and volunteering for the Savannah Music Festival. George also continues to manage the garden at the Owens Thomas House and keep up this qi gong practice, though he admits to tiring more easily these days.

Come Saturday morning, the gray-haired gents are always in Forsyth Park, with artfully-arranged bouquets of flowers and bales of crisp, freshly-picked greens. At 81, George lets Jake, a spry 68, do the set up, then takes over sales while Jake returns home to tend the garden.

“That’s fine by me,” says Jake. “It says ‘George’s Gorgeous Greens’’ on the sign. ‘George and Jake’s Gorgeous Greens’ was too long and doesn’t have the same ring to it, anyway.”

George doesn’t mind keeping the conversations going as the market bustles into the early afternoons.

“At the market, I get to interact with the customers and the community—even the tourists are so interested in what we grow and how to prepare it,” he says.

“That gives me the strength to keep going. And I enjoy every minute.”

Food Security Amidst Shutdown

Food Security Amidst Shutdown

By Kirsten Breau

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Thursday, January 24th marks Day 34 of the partial government shutdown. In the longest partial shutdown in our nation’s history 800,000 federal workers will be going without a paycheck for the second time this month. Forty-two million people on SNAP received their February benefits nearly a month early and will not be receiving more funds until March at the earliest. This poses major concerns for the food security of these individuals over the next month.

Those without pay are facing financial crisis with mortgage or rent payments, food costs and bills piling up. For those continuing to work during this time they are also pulling from savings to cover gas or travel expenses during their commute and other associated fees. Due to the shutdown, government employees are frequenting food pantries, applying for benefits such as SNAP, for deferment on loans, or even for new loans to help cover expenses during this time.

For SNAP participants, even with February funds secured they are facing a new challenge with budgeting and a growing sense of insecurity when it comes to the future of their food access. SNAP participants are having to budget their benefits to last them at least a month and a half to bring them to the end of February, a skill many have not practiced due to the consistency of SNAP payments. This becomes even more imperative with the possibility of not receiving benefits in March remaining very real.

If you are able, and would like to contribute to a family’s security at this time you can donate to the Full Plate Program through our website’s GIVE button. The Full Plate Program is an intentional free-food program focused on nutrition security for Savannah’s low-income families and those who have been affected by the government shutdown.

If you or someone you know is has been affected by this government shutdown and needs resources or food at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization. You can contact Kirsten Breau at

To find a list of local food assistance programs in your area, search your Zip Code here:

Remember you can double your SNAP dollars when you shop at Forsyth Farmers’ Market. This can be an important budgeting tool during this time.

Forsyth Farmers’ Market is committed to the food security of our Savannah community and will continue to update our readers with all relevant information moving forward.

What the Shutdown Means for SNAP

What the Shutdown Means for SNAP

By Kirsten Breau

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As of Wednesday January, 16th the government shutdown has persisted for 26 days. Amidst the longest partial shutdown in our nation’s history few sectors of our government have not felt the effects. The impact on SNAP recipients has been of growing concern for Forsyth Farmers’ Market. As noted in a previous post, Georgia’s February SNAP dollars were distributed to participant’s accounts early. These additional funds, which were received for most at approximately the same time as their January benefits, must be budgeted to last participants until their March date of distribution.  We stress there will be no benefit payments in the month of February and with the shutdown persisting there is no word on the availability of March funds.

The funding needed to cover February’s SNAP distribution was secured through a provision in the previous appropriations bill. Since this bill was no longer in effect, state’s were limited to a 30 day window to apply for this funding. This window expires January, 20th, forcing states to receive and distribute funds nearly a month early. This shift in distribution time affects 12.9% of households in Chatham county and 15.3% of households across the state of Georgia. Of the households in Savannah receiving SNAP, 57.2% have children under the age of 18 years old.

The government shutdown has not affected WIC participants in the same way. WIC is a federal assistance program specifically for low-income expectant or new mothers and their children. WIC is administered through USDA grants, but on a state and local level. Their funding is secured through at least the end of February with no significant changes to distribution.

For SNAP participants, even with February funds secured they are facing a new challenge with budgeting and a growing sense of insecurity when it comes to the future of their food access. If you would like to contribute to family’s security at this time you can donate to the Full Plate Program through our website’s GIVE button. The Full Plate Program is an intentional free-food program focused on nutrition security for Savannah’s low-income families and those who have been affected by the government shutdown.

If you or someone you know is has been affected by this government shutdown and needs resources or food at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization. You can contact Kirsten Breau at

Forsyth Farmers’ Market is committed to the food security of our Savannah community and will continue to update our readers with all relevant information moving forward.

Fu, Jessica. “USDA Finds $5.1 Billion to Fund Food Stamps Program through February.” New Food Economy, New Food Economy, 11 Jan. 2019,

Forsyth Farmers’ Market Launches 2019 Season

Forsyth Farmers’ Market Launches 2019 Season

The Forsyth Farmers’ Market, a local non-profit organization that seeks to promote a local food system in Savannah, looks forward to new changes and continual growth in the 2019 year. The first farmers’ market of 2019 will be Saturday, January 5th in Forsyth Park from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm.

In addition to all of your old favorites, several new vendors will be joining farmers’ market this year.  We have two new farms: Whippoorwill Farms and Ebenezer Greens. We will also be bringing in several new prepared food vendors: The Blissful Whisk, Savannah Cheese Rolls, Savannah Square Pops, and The Grey Market.  Savannah Hydroponics and Analog Public House will also be joining us later in the spring. Each year, the market continues to provide local entrepreneurs with a downtown venue to sell products while maintaining a 60/40 ratio of whole food vendors to prepared foods vendors in line with our vision of supporting local agriculture. All the vendors at our market are chosen by a volunteer led committee.  

Jeb Bush, executive director of FFM states, “I am excited for our 2019 season to start. It is great to see new vendors coming on board while our current vendors continue to grow their reach. Each vendor brings their own unique foods and perspective to our market.  I’m glad to see so much growth this year.”

The market will be open for 50 weeks this year.  The market will be closed the weekends of St. Patrick’s Day and the Rock & Roll Marathon.

2018 Farm Bill Vote Approaching

Photo from Politico article, “Farm bill deal blocks major GOP food-stamp overhaul”

Photo from Politico article, “Farm bill deal blocks major GOP food-stamp overhaul”

2018 Farm Bill Vote Approaching

by Kirsten Breau

As many of you know, Forsyth Farmers’ Market has been closely following the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a nearly trillion-dollar legislative policy that encompasses a huge range of federal food and agricultural programs, from crop subsidies and crop insurance to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill is only updated once every five years. We have lobbied our local officials, advocated for changes that are inclusive of our community and worked to educate the public on the importance of the bill.

Over the summer, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed different versions of the Farm Bill,  each reflecting their stance on SNAP and other agricultural programs. Over the past few months, representatives from both houses have met in a conference committee to iron out the differences of the two bills. The House of Representatives passed a bill that included huge cuts to the SNAP program and enforced inflexible restrictions through strict and unjust penalties. These restrictions and work requirements became the largest barrier to negotiation between the House and the Senate as the Senate did not support the inclusion of the new work requirements (NYT, 2018). Now, a compromised bill negotiated by the conference committee will be brought before both the House and Senate for voting. This revised bill is much more aligned with the Senate’s previous version than that of the House’s, according to Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (Politico, 2018).

Full details on what the compromised bill includes have not been released, but will be made public once the Congressional Budget Office scores it (says how much it will cost). Dan Gunderson and Elizabeth Dunbar wrote a summary of what is expected to be found on the most recent version of the bill for MPR News. That summary can be found below. Collin Peterson, mentioned in the summary, is the lead Democrat for the House Agriculture Committee. You can find an update from us on the 2018 Farm Bill following this month’s vote.

Here is the summary from MPR News’, “Peterson: New farm bill preserves status quo, but will it help farmers enough?”:

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will not be subject to work requirements, as Republicans in the House had wanted, Peterson said. SNAP accounts for the largest part of the farm bill, making up 80 percent of the hundreds of billions of dollars authorized in the bill. Peterson says the final bill includes some language from the Senate proposal focused on preventing fraud in the program.”

“Small dairy farmers come out ahead in the bill, Peterson said. "If you have less than 5 million pounds of milk, and that's about 240 cows, under what we've put in the bill, you will not be able to lose money," he said. "Hopefully we'll give the safety net dairy farmers need to stay in business."

The Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to set aside land for conservation, will grow by 3 million acres, he said. But Peterson added that payments will be capped and landowners won't be able to get extra money to pay for things like planting pollinator habitat. "We're trying to simplify the seed, trying to get rid of the pollinator habitat stuff, trying to get this back to what it used to be," he said. "If I had my way, we'd have alfalfa and bromegrass," grown for cattle feed, in the program.

Crop insurance programs will see some minor changes, Peterson said, aimed at achieving more consistent payments for farmers.

He said the bill preserves the Conservation Stewardship Program, which pays farmers to use practices that reduce soil erosion and promote better water quality, such as planting cover crops and altering the way fertilizers and herbicides are applied. Minnesota has been a top recipient of the program. "There was a big fight over that," Peterson said, explaining that some in Congress had wanted to change the way it works. Ultimately, he said, the program will remain in place as is.

Additional money for forestry management, which President Trump had called for following the wildfires in California, did not end up in the bill, Peterson said.

Industrial hemp is considered a commodity crop in the bill, opening the door for farmers across the country to try growing it. Industrial hemp can be grown for its fiber and a popular health supplement called CBD oil. "I may grow some hemp on my farm. I'm looking at it," Peterson said. "There's a big market for this stuff that we've been ceding to Canada and other places."” (MPR, 2018)

One Year as the Executive Director of Forsyth Farmers' Market

One Year as the Executive Director of Forsyth Farmers' Market

By Jeb Bush


As I approach my one year mark as the executive director of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market, I keep coming back to that word to describe my feelings toward this past year.  As soon as I started in this position, I realized just how big the team was behind the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. As a vendor, I saw the staff on Saturdays that did so much to make sure markets went off without a hitch.  Moving into a role on that staff, I learned there was also a whole team in the background supporting this organization. There is a community around the Forsyth Farmers’ Market who cheer us on every week. This community is filled with volunteer leadership through our board, volunteers who help on a weekly basis, donors who ensure we are able to operate successfully each week, and of course the shoppers who no matter the weather, come out in full force to support our organization and the farmers.  I try to make it my mission to thank each of you weekly. Whatever your role is on this team, I want you to know how much you are appreciated.

Of course, I need to spend some time talking about the heroes of this operation.  I can tell you from my own experience that our farmers are some of the hardest working people in this area.  And every day they go to work on a hope and a prayer that they will be successful in not only growing produce but have the ability to sell it as well.  Even as hot as it’s been this summer and as wet as it was this spring, these farmers don’t ever seem to give up hope. To these amazing men and women, thank you so much. You feed us, you teach us and you inspire us.

I’m also thankful for the community that has rallied around the Farm Truck 912 program.  This past year has seen tremendous growth in the farm truck program. We expanded to eight stops.  While only adding one stop, we have doubled the number of customers. The reach of the truck grows weekly due to community support.  A big supporter of all of this growth is our local non-profit community. While each organization has its own work, we are all working for a common cause.  There are countless e-mails between organizations making sure that no clients are slipping through the cracks and that the organization who can best serve someone in need is being contacted.  These folks cheer for a group success, not just their own. I’m impressed daily with the work of all of our partner organizations. This group is also filled with career nonprofit professionals who are happy to share their expertise from years of service.  Thank you all.

I do want to take a moment to thank our Board of Directors and all of our committee volunteers.  When people use the term “working board” they are clearly talking about our board. Our board and committee members work hard to make sure we have the funds necessary to operate, our programs are functioning at their greatest potential, and the community is aware of the work the organization does.  These folks are all amazing. Thank you for your trust in me, your belief in our mission, and your leadership.

Finally, I want to thank the staff of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market.  Every day I am surrounded by a group of individuals who truly believe in our mission of helping farmers and improving food access.  Each person brings their own, unique, set of experiences when it comes to food and farm issues but they all share a passion for seeing the local food movement grow.  The market staff works so hard in all they do, whether that’s making a welcoming environment, offering a farmer support, or explaining how our SNAP doubling program operates.  I’m inspired by each one of them and so appreciate them all.

As I start my second year, I can’t help but be excited about where we are going.  So many people want to help make our farmers successful. There is a ton of work being done to make produce accessible to everyone in Savannah.  I am proud that we are helping to lead the way to make this the most delicious, nutritious, scrumptious city who supports one another and our broader community.   And more than anything else, I am grateful to all of you for being a part of this journey.

Immigration on the Farm

Every now and then FFM staff reads an article that we wish to share with our broader audience. Here we highlight the article "The High Cost of Cheap Labor" by Brian Barth summarized by Kirsten Breau.

Barth, Brian. “The High Cost of Cheap Labor.” Modern Farmer, Modern Farmer, 21 Feb. 2017,

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Immigration legislation has become one of the most divisive policies under the current US administration. Headlines describe children forcefully separated from families at the border and major cities cutting ties with ICE over policies that are harmful to immigrant communities - even at the cost of millions of dollars in revenue for the local governments. Amidst the Trump administration’s aggressive crackdown on immigration, a major concern for farm owners is labor shortage. According to a 2009 survey by the US Department of Labor, 67% of all farm workers are not US citizens and 93 percent of all immigrant farmworkers in the US hail from Mexico.

In the article, “The High Cost of Cheap Labor” by Brian Barth for Modern Farmer, Barth recounts how the facilitated movement of individuals across the border has ebbed and flowed based on the US’s perceived labor needs. The Great Depression pushed the US to deny and deport those seeking employment, while WWII led to the “Mexican Farm Labor Agreement” which welcomed people across the border to fill labor shortages. The “Mexican Farm Labor Agreement” program was shut down in 1964 because of worker accusations of abuse and US citizen’s complaints about being robbed of jobs.

A case study conducted over the course of fifteen years, 1998 through 2012, in North Carolina looked into the claim that US citizen’s job security was negatively affected by migrant labor. Barth summarized the findings,

              “Upon being advised about openings on area farms, less than 0.1 percent of                                                   [unemployed individuals], on average, asked to be referred each year. Of the                                           several hundred referred, 97 percent were hired. Of those, less than half                                                 reported to work on the first day. And in no year did more than 11 individuals                                         finish out the season on a farm.”

The year those 11 individuals completed a season on the farm they represented only .004 percent of North Carolina’s unemployed population. It's clear immigrant labor is crucial for agriculture, a strike organized by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the National Farm Workers Association in the 1970s caused national lettuce prices to double overnight. The US is especially vulnerable to these price spikes as we expect and insist on unsustainably low food prices, a sign of our populations growing distance from and ignorance around food production.

A number of farm owners have taken it upon themselves to create safe and sustainable practices to protect this vulnerable population that our food system is so dependent on, even before national trends financially support these moves. Barth highlights a number of farms with Food Justice certification or programs constructed around fair wages, sick days, paid holidays etc. Valuing the workers who do the jobs that many refuse, because it’s an opportunity that they didn’t have in the homes they left behind. A farmworker interviewed whose name was changed for the publishing of the article summarized, “We didn’t come here to take anyone’s jobs away. We came to escape the poverty that we have in our country and to provide our children with a better future.” In turn they provide the backbone of our country’s food system.

Image from the article. 

Forsyth Farmers Market Disappointed in House Passage of Unfair Farm Bill

If we remain educated and vocal, we can help ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill helps build a more vibrant local food system.

By: Jeb Bush, Executive Director

The Forsyth Farmers’ Market is disappointed by the passage of the Farm Bill yesterday in the US House of Representatives. The Farm Bill as passed includes huge cuts to the SNAP program, creates unfair and inflexible restrictions for SNAP beneficiaries, and enforces strict and unjust penalties.   

In our district, there are 36,500 households receiving SNAP benefits and 58% of these households have children under the age of eighteen. Annually, 1,700 people in Chatham County spend $50,000 in SNAP benefits at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. The benefits of SNAP allow these families the economic access to purchase fresh and healthy foods from the market for their families. Beyond this, these funds are a lifeline to our small farmers whose margins are already slim. Inflexible barriers to SNAP benefits for those who truly need it will hurt Savannah’s families, farmers and the broader community in which we serve.  

We have reason to be hopeful as the process moves forward.  The current version of the Senate bill is very similar to the previous Farm Bill.  The Senate is expected to pass their version before July 4th.  If that happens a conference committee will iron out the differences between the House of Representatives bill and the Senate bill.  We remain optimistic that our community will not be negatively affected by this legislation.

Because there is a long road before final passage of the bill, it is important for all of our community to stay vigilant and involved.  We encourage everyone to continue to study the legislation and how it affects our farmers and our community. Then let your elected officials know how you feel.  If we remain educated and vocal, we can help ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill helps build a more vibrant local food system.

The Forsyth Farmers Market is committed to keeping everyone abreast of how this legislation affects our farmers and our community.  Please follow our social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn more.

Digging into Sustainability with Chris Molander

A farm includes the passion of the farmer’s heart, the interest of the farm’s customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm — it’s everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism.
— Joel Salatin

Come most Saturdays, you’ll find Chris Molander, owner of Vertu Farm, at the farmers market selling naturally grown microgreens, mixed greens, and other produce. Chris is a part of the Roberd’s Dairy Farm community, a hub of small agricultural based businesses that share green space off of Pennsylvania Avenue in Savannah.

Chris may have inherited his green thumb as his family has always had an affinity toward agriculture and growing food. His great grandfather was a salesman for a seed company in California called Germaine’s and his grandparents tended a garden. One of his uncles has farmed on and off for 20 years. Chris also recalls memories of seeing fruit trees always around with his uncle as an arborist. Prior to starting Vertu Farm, Chris himself had farmed on and off for eight years in South Carolina and California. Savannah became his home when he followed his girlfriend, now wife, Mariana here after they finished college. In early 2016, Chris decided to take a stab at urban farming in the sandy soils of our coastal city.  

If you spend a day at Vertu Farm, you will quickly see for yourself the result of intensive soil management. Vertu Farm is booming with biodiversity; snakes, frogs, bees, fungi, weeds, earthworms, spiders, etc. He doesn’t use pesticides, herbicides, or inorganic fertilizers. Instead, he has focused primarily on building a strong foundation through soil health. He plants productive leguminous cover crops which allow nitrogen-fixing bacteria to live in their root nodules, replenish the soil, and help to sustain future growing. He controls weeds with suppression and prevention practices such as; ground covers, mulching, and torching. He uses compost and applies organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion to meet the nutrient needs of his plants. He is cultivating an ecosystem out there – one in which the macro and microorganisms contribute to and replenish soil health. His sustainable farm practices are similar to those values advocated in the early organic movement by Sir Albert Howard.  


On Urban Farming

Q: Of all the things you could do, why urban farming?

A: I love being outside, and I love growing. Additionally, I love all of the little problem-solving, troubleshooting, and planning that being a farmer requires. I think it is the perfect job for me, and I find it very fulfilling. There is a reason that many people celebrate farmers in the way that they do, and a reason why the profession is kind of “glorified” as it is today: it is truly a wonderful profession, and very important one for all of society. As far as the “urban” part of farming, I didn’t exactly “choose” that, it’s just what was available to me at the time. I’m so blessed to be a part of the Roberd’s Dairy Farm community. It’s truly a beautiful and special place.

On Natural Growing

Q: You mentioned you grow naturally out of tradition -- because it’s something you did at your job in South Carolina. But is there something more that keeps you growing this way?

Chris: Yes I started growing organically because that’s how it fell out on my first farm, but it’s definitely developed for me from there. I think it’s primarily the concept of sustainability that keeps me rooted in the organic movement now. People have been worried for years about the over usage of antibiotics in hospitals and prescription applications. Pesticides and herbicides are no different, and I would venture to guess that the amount of those chemicals that are applied annually outweigh antibiotics by a vast margin. The long and short of this is: mankind is speeding up the evolution of farm pests by the use of conventional agricultural practices: e.g. monocropping, pesticide, and herbicide use. This is to say nothing of soil development and conservation practices! I have always been one to sort of go against the grain, so when I hear people touting the latest “studies” about how much more you can grow in an acre conventionally, or with GMO seed, or with whatever other methods I disagree with ideologically… I want to prove that wrong! And of course, some farmers do claim that they have. I want to be one of those someday. This movement is still very young and not a lot of people understand it well—myself most of all! I’m really just kind of winging it, doing the best I can, and seeing what happens!


On Organic

USDA organic certification is a tedious process that requires annual fees and inspections.  For many small farmers sometimes, the benefits of certification do not outweigh the costs. And for Chris, differentiating his product to increase demand is not necessarily a priority. He’s putting all of his energy into the farm and producing food in a sustainable manner. He says, “There is a massive amount of demand for local produce here in Savannah across the board. There aren’t many farmers around! We need more!”

There’s a question that consumers tend to habitually ask farmers. It’s “is this organic?” And while that question is understandable when we think about the overall values of the organic movement and the push toward more environmentally friendly and consumer conscious food production practices, this question is too simple of a question for some and does not give a truly accurate depiction of how our food is produced.  

Chris encourages consumers to not blindly accept labels at face value:

“People should remember that there are things that are sprayed on organic produce that would kill you or make you extremely sick if you were to, say, drink it right out of the bottle. Conversely, there are some non-approved chemicals [by USDA Organic Standards] out there that probably aren’t as immediately harmful as certain organic products. I guess what I’m saying is we shouldn’t praise or vilify any particular produce simply because it’s labeled as “certified organic” or “conventionally grown.” We need to dig deeper than that. And always remember that the main reason why supermarket produce is less nutritious than local stuff is because it is far less fresh.”

As Michael Pollan says, “The final standards do a good job of setting the bar for a more environmentally responsible kind of farming, but, as perhaps was inevitable as soon as bureaucratic and industrial thinking was brought to bear, many of the philosophical values embodied in the word organic – the sorts of values expressed by Albert Howard – did not survive the federal rule-making process.”

We must remember that there is no one right way to farm; whether it’s conventional vs organic, no-till vs till, permaculture, etc. When individual farmers invest in land rather than giant international corporate farms, they are inherently invested in creating sustainable farming systems and good practices that will keep the land viable for years and years to come. Instead of focusing adamantly on ‘organic’, we should talk more about the basics of sustainable practices and policies that keep small farming a viable economic opportunity.

Often, asking such polarizing questions prevents us from delving deeper into issues or understanding an issue from a different perspective. With this in mind, we encourage you as a conscientious consumer to ask meaningful questions, as Chris suggests, and delve deeper into the issues. We challenge you to think of an alternative question to, “is this organic.”


According to Chris, a considerable amount of his weekly revenue is accounted for in direct sales to consumers. It seems we, as a community, have done a good job in supporting local farmers. And naturally, this particular producer-consumer relationship is mutually beneficial. But, there’s always more support to be garnered and change to be had. As a community, we have a collective purchasing power to effect positive change in our food system; a food system that serves the values and needs of the community. And that begins by supporting the efforts of small and local farmers, restaurant owners, non-profit organizations, institutions, and other entities who seek to challenge what is.

Death Cafe

Next date: March 22nd, 6:30-8pm @ Coffee.Deli

Death. It’s a taboo topic that most people tend to avoid speaking of. But for as long as the sun shines and the seasons change, death will be an inescapable fate for all the living. The concept of death is hard to acknowledge, let alone grasp. And the topic of death is hard to speak about. 

But Jon Underwood and Sue Reid of Britain have started a “social franchise” in an attempt to bring death into open conversation. Jon and Sue began the international Death Café movement in September of 2011. Since then, there have been 4,790 death café events in 50 countries. Despite the complexity of the topic: the concept is simple. People, usually strangers, gather over cake and tea to talk about death.

To join in on the international movement, Mixed Greens has been hosting Death Cafes here in Savannah. The next Death Cafe will take place at Coffee Deli on Habersham. We bring no agenda – only cupcakes and cake. Join us. Because we all have sweet, finite lives. It’s time to talk about it.

Better Fresh Farms, Growth in Demand

Grant Anderson, owner and operator of Better Fresh Farms, has seen a growth in demand for his product over the past few months. It's truly no wonder why. He has been able to provide the Savannah community with a consistently unique product despite the challenges faced by the climate and weather. His method? Growing vertically & hydroponically inside of shipping containers. 

Grant began his company with a strong desire to improve the local food scene in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner. He not only challenges perceptions surrounding fresh food by engaging in meaningful conversations with people, but he also provides us with an alternative product -- one that is truly fresh, tender, and will last an impressively long time in the fridge despite being perishable. 


Grant has been incredibly thankful for the connections he has made at the Forsyth Farmers' Market. Unfortunately, he will be taking a break from the weekly farmers market until the summer. He says, "I've been blessed to have an opportunity to work with Bon Appetit (SCAD's food service coordinator) through their "Farm to Fork" initiative to encourage purchases from local farmers. They have agreed in conversation to buy all of my lettuces for the remainder of the spring semester to feature at their campus restaurant "beeFUEL" in The Hive near student housing. I am also very grateful to be selling some of our whole head lettuces & chervil to Chef Tyler Williams at Husk Savannah each week. All of my remaining kale, swiss chard, pac choi, and radishes that I typically bring to FFM are currently going to Brighter Day Natural Foods Market at the end of each week."

It's important that farmers have the opportunity to diversify their clientele to ensure sustainability. We are so excited he's been able to secure gigs that are incredibly valuable for his company going forward. The Farm to Fork initiative with the SCAD community will be a great opportunity for Grant to bring more awareness to college students the power of their purchasing power and the importance of supporting local farmers. Grant will return soon to the weekly farmers market to continue connecting with his consumers and growing his demand base.


Farmsgiving 2017 A Success

The Forsyth Farmers' Market annual fundraiser, Farmsgiving was held on Saturday November 11th. A special thanks to the organizers, local businesses, donors, and attendees who made the event a great success!

We invited community residents and businesses to host a dinner party event for friends and family while accepting donations on behalf of the Forsyth Farmers Market. The dinner party specifics were left up to the preference of the party host -- and they ranged from a back yard casual get-together to more formal events. Party hosts were also encouraged to support local farmers in their purchasing of ingredients! Lulu's Chocolate Bar donated beautiful cakes for the deserts of the party.   

If you'd like to be a part of next years' Farmsgiving, stay tuned. Details will come out around October 2018. 


Oldways in Savannah, A Taste of African Heritage

“Diabetes is not part of your heritage. Neither is heart disease. What is in your heritage is a healthy heart, strong body, extraordinary energy, vibrant and delicious foods, and a long, healthy life.”
-OldWays, African Heritage Diet.

Our nutrition educator, herbalist, and community activist, Ayo Ngozi taught the first 6-week session of nutrition education classes here in Savannah this past summer, 2017. In the coming 2018 year, this course will be taught in community centers in Savannah [dates pending]. 

The course is based on the Oldways, A Taste of African Heritage curriculum. The course is designed to teach people how to eat and cook healthfully, traditionally, and enjoyably through hands-on experience. The class covers a specific food group each week from the African Heritage Diet Pyramid.


The outline of the class is as follows:
Week/Lesson 1: Traditional Herbs and Spices
Week/Lesson 2: Greens
Week/Lesson 3: Whole Grains
Week/Lesson 4: Beans and Rice
Week/Lesson 5: Tubers and Stews
Week/Lesson 6: Fruits and Vegetables

From the Food Guide Pyramid (1992-2005), to MyPyramid (2005-2011), and now – to MyPlate, the USDA has gone through many graphical representations in attempt to help people better understand how to eat healthily. The opinions surrounding these graphs are certainly not few and far between, to say the least. But that’s to be expected with an attempt to standardize and simplify something so complex, variable, and culturally dependent — our diets.
A Taste of African Heritage introduces to us a food pyramid which intimately connects culture and food – in a way that can add value to our lives, deepen our connection with our food, and strengthen social connections. This diet specifically places an emphasis on eating like our ancestors – because we are evolutionarily adapted to an environment quite unlike the one we live in today.
The modern American diet has been shaped, to a great extent, by the industrial food system. At its core, the food system promotes standardization of inputs to maximize efficiency and market success. We have become highly specialized in producing commodity crops (corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, etc.) – and as a result, we have experienced a great loss in biological diversity and cultural diversity. This can be exemplified in the simple fact that there are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food.2Our industrial food system has – in a way, created its own culture around cheap, convenient, delicious food – while disregarding the cultural identity and health of its consumers. The modern American diet has contributed to one of the most serious public health concerns. More than 64 million Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease, which represents the leading cause of mortality (38.5% of all deaths) in the United States.3 Fifty million Americans are hypertensive; 11 million have type 2 diabetes, and 37 million adults maintain high-risk total cholesterol concentrations (>240 mg/dL)3

As a society, we have done a great deal of damage to our health. Profound changes have occurred in our diets over time; from the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry to the use of genetically modified foods. The interaction of the environment, genes, gene expression and the relation to food and disease is a whole mess of complicated. There is not easy explanation for the prevalence of chronic disease in our country. But there is an increasing awareness that a disease does not arise from one single dietary element (say for example, saturated fat). It is the interaction of nutritional factors directly linked to excessive consumption of novel Neolithic and Industrial era foods (dairy products, cereals, refined cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, fatty meats, salts, etc.) —  our environment has changed too fast on an evolutionary time scale for the human genome to adjust.3 And paradoxically, food has become a poison in our Westernized diet. Simply put, we must get back to our roots. And that is what Oldways is about, at it’s core — our cultural roots.

For more information or to express interest in being a part of the 6-week course, please e-mail Ayo at