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Georgia's first 'agrihood' breaking ground to help revitalize south Macon neighborhood

"That garden that they are talking about building around here.. will improve the neighborhood 100%. At least its looks because I'm already down here at a dead end and it really looks dead round here," Emanuel Clark laughs.

Saturday, a Macon organization breaks ground for a new urban garden on Bowden Street in south Macon.

Nicole Butler went to talk with residents to see what they think of the change that is coming into the neighborhood.

"That garden that they are talking about building around here will improve the neighborhood 100 percent. At least its looks, because I'm already down here at a dead end and it really looks dead around here," Emanuel Clark laughs.

Clark has lived in this neighborhood for 15 years and says there's so much blight there's no way to go but up.

"Right now, it looks like a dump, really. People be dumping garbage and trash through here all the time," he says.

96-year-old Edward Oliver has lived in the neighborhood for almost 60 years and remembers when gardens were a big part of the community.

"I don't see many gardens, but before now, you couldn't walk through here without you having to go through a garden. Progress has taken over. Don't you want progress? I do!" Oliver says.

He says this project will help bring the community together again.

One South Community Development Corporation wants to do just that by transforming the blighted neighborhood into what they call an 'agrihood,' with gardening spaces and a farming complex.

The project's first phase is a 50-bed community garden. The second phase calls for a urban farm that will include a restaurant to provide healthy options.

However, One South spokesman Danny Glover says the neighborhood currently is a food desert.

A food desert means there are no healthy food options within five to ten miles of the neighborhood.

"We are looking to decimate our food desert, so from this garden from this farm, you know, we create a farmers' market. From a farmers' market, we have a grocery store, and once we get this grocery store, that's like problem is solved. Access has been granted to this area," Glover says.

He says the future is looking bright for the project and can't wait to say,"We started from the bottom, and in 10 years, we're going to say now we're here."

Organizers say this will be the first 'agrihood' project in Georgia.

The groundbreaking for the garden is at 1 p.m. Saturday at 681 Bowden St.