Urban farmer K. Rashid Nuri told Liberty County Chamber of Commerce members that quality food can and should be grown anywhere, including the concrete jungles of inner cities. Nuri said the United States is the richest country in the world, yet many Americans are food-insecure.
“Quality food should be a right, not a privilege,” he said.
Nuri is the CEO of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture based in downtown Atlanta. He spoke about his organization’s edutional outreach and efforts to improve people’s lives through urban farming Thursday during the chamber’s Eggs and Issues Breakfast sponsored by Keep Liberty Beautiful.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said he first read about Nuri’s work in Georgia Trend magazine and stressed the importance of Nuri’s efforts. Nuri is a Harvard graduate and former senior executive in the Foreign Agricultural Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Clinton years. He founded TLW in 2006.
“We have to change the way we think about food,” Nuri said.
Nuri’s nonprofit organization teaches people how to farm and market organic foods.
“No one in my organization knew anything about agriculture before they started,” he said. Nuri said volunteers are the backbone of TLW. Volunteers logged more than 3,000 hours last year, the TLW CEO said. He added that much of the urban farm’s produce winds up in some of Atlanta’s finest restaurants.
According to Nuri, more than 4,000 people connect with his organization each year, through volunteering, programs and tours. Last year, about 100 students participated in a TLW summer camp.
Nuri cited the many benefits of urban agriculture, including the growing of chemical- and pesticide-free food, creating jobs, increasing property values, educating youth, promoting self sufficiency and reducing crime in neighborhoods that have community gardens. The ecological benefits of urban agriculture are: horticultural literacy, storm-water management, soil improvement, increased biodiversity and reduced urban heat islands, he said. Urban agriculture also brings beauty to city spaces, Nuri added.
He said his organization’s success cannot be measured in dollars and cents. He prefers to measure TLW by its “gross domestic happiness.” Nuri defines GDH as “a measure of productivity and quality of life that goes beyond traditional economic measures.”
“There is no culture without agriculture,” he said.
For more information, go to trulylivingwell.net.