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For Immediate Release

June 13th, 2024

ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. – Rockdale County is pleased to announce its official selection as a sub-awardee under the University of Georgia’s USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Urban and Innovative Agriculture Community-Based Organization Fund. As a result, Rockdale County has been awarded $145,000 to advance the projects and goals outlined in our project proposal, such as establishing a mediation and therapy garden for citizens and a demonstration garden for children. The garden will primarily feature herbs, providing a tranquil space for community members to engage in therapeutic activities and learn about the benefits of urban agriculture.

Commissioner Sherri L. Washington has been instrumental in securing this funding for Rockdale County. Her dedication and leadership have been pivotal in achieving this accomplishment.

“I am elated that Rockdale County is now a recipient of a USDA/UGA grant that will allow us to not only help alleviate food insecurities but also teach our community how to become self-sufficient,” said Commissioner Sherri L. Washington. “One of the most exciting elements of this community garden is that it will incorporate a meditation garden that will allow us to grow herbs and create spaces for yoga, meditation, and sound meditation. I look forward to working with our inaugural volunteer organizations, the NewRock Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction and Top Teens of America, to move this initiative forward.”

“The NewRock Chapter is excited to partner with Commissioner Sherri Washington and Rockdale County Administration to ensure that residents, especially those living in food deserts, have access to healthy food options,” said Charnita V. West, president of the NewRock Chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction (TLOD), Inc. and Top Teens of America. “Ladies and Teens of the NewRock Chapter are committed to building stronger communities through our five programmatic thrusts, including community partnerships and beautification. Collaborating on this worthwhile initiative will allow us to answer our national call for ‘Continuity in Action,’ where we plan and implement service projects that are consistent and long-lasting.”

This funding is part of a larger $43.1 million investment by the USDA FSA through the American Rescue Plan Act for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. This initiative aims to strengthen the food supply chain and transform the food system into a fairer, more competitive, and more resilient one. The investment will also support food-insecure communities and aid producers in regions where FSA has historically had limited presence.

Rockdale County is excited to use these funds to enhance our local agricultural initiatives, contribute to the resilience of our food system, and meaningfully support our community. We look forward to collaborating with the University of Georgia and the USDA FSA to achieve these goals.

For more information, please contact: Andre Thomas at Andre.Thomas@Rockdalecountyga.gov or Commissioner Washington at Sherri.Washington@rockdalecountyga.gov