East Point Fresh Oasis fights to deliver fresh produce to hundreds of families amid challenges

City of East Point Urban Agriculture Manager Tenisio Seanima poses with steel tubs teeming with collard greens and scallions in an expanding community garden at the Arts Xchange on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. (Lily Oppenheimer/WABE)

“Whoever controls your food, controls you.”

The city of East Point’s Urban Agriculture Manager Tenisio Seanima decided to do something about the challenge of finding fresh, affordable and healthy food in local supermarkets during the pandemic.

“Look at what took place,” Seanima said. “We’re in this day and time where the convenience of stores has kind of taken over. But in one fell swoop, believe me, that system can be erased.”

With help from city officials, the local ArtsXchange created a community garden called the Fresh Oasis that, to this day, is expanding to house up to 300 beds. It has already fed hundreds of families, who can also buy 17-gallon steel tubs and seeds to take home and start them on their journey. The garden is full of produce from collard greens to garlic.

Back in 2020, East Point adopted an agriculture plan which listed ways to abundantly optimize a local food system.

The Arts Xchange in East Point houses the Fresh Oasis community garden, which started expanding during the pandemic to feed hundreds of families. (Lily Oppenheimer/WABE)

To commemorate Black History Month, Seanima also helped host an open panel with farmers to explore Black farming in urban agriculture called “A Black Farmer’s Renaissance.” WABE’s “Morning Edition” caught up with Seanima shortly before the panel to discuss that renaissance in particularly Black and brown communities, and how the pandemic made this urban farming conversation even more pressing.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.