Eugene Cooke

Eugene Cooke
Location: Atlanta, Georgia Cohort Start Year: 2017 Project Topic: Food Systems and Nutrition Population Served: Urban Communities
Grow Where You Are

As urban farmers in Atlanta, we see the main barrier to food sovereignty in urban areas as a land justice issue. Real estate speculation diminishes the value of urban farming by ignoring its qualitative impacts, such as public safety, ecological restoration, and civic engagement. Therefore, we envision part of the solution to be working to ensure that committed urban farmers own their homes and their farmland so that they may make long-term investments in their communities.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Developing Urban Farmers with Natural Food Production Practice
This agroecology training is a service opportunity that will address the benefits of travel and nature skills. We will expose young adults, 18–35, to diverse urban agriculture skill-building gatherings in Atlanta and offer them an opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico to assist organic farmers. We will focus on drastically enriching the participants with natural food production knowledge and practice. We will highlight the similarities between the food systems of societies that are emerging from colonization and those of us who are witnessing the redistribution of wealth in our country.

I am an American-born father of three, descended from Indigenous farmers and African refugees. My unique perspective is based on 20 years of growing food in urban areas, as well as work-study abroad in Africa, Jamaica, and Haiti. I am one of many people who bring life skills to this challenge of equity.