Chattanooga’s Door to Local Food

A vibrant, well-nourished Chattanooga. That is the vision behind Chattanooga Food Center. How do they hope to do that? By increasing access to locally grown foods, providing nutrition education, and inspiring engagement in regional agriculture. The need in the community and the passion behind executive director and founder Holly Martin is what brought this organization to life. “The real need was to bring the entire community back to understanding their connections to food,” says Martin. And despite the pandemic, Holly and her board opened Chattanooga Food Center in late 2019 in the historic St. Andrews Center.

The first initiative of Chattanooga Food Center was the Gaining Ground Grocery. Through this store, the Chattanooga Food Center brings local and sustainable produce, meats, eggs, and more to provide affordable, healthy food for the area. The store is currently open Thursday-Saturday 12-6pm, but they hope to add more hours and days soon. The store is open to anyone, but there are memberships available:

  • SNAP Membership: Weekly Member Deals for the first 20 people
  • Individual Membership: 15% goes to the Good Food Fund | Weekly Member Deals
  • Corporate Membership: 15% goes to Good Food Fund | Logo published on website | Weekly Member Deals | Limited to 10

Part of the proceeds from individual and corporate level memberships go to the organization’s Good Food Fund, which creates more opportunities for fresh food access for neighbors and creates a bridge for neighbors that are interested and able to support ways to get fresh and healthy food to those who lack it, physically and economically.

As part of their mission, Chattanooga Food Center works to increase access to local food. To help in this effort, they worked with community partners to create the Local Food Map for the Chattanooga area. The map contains information on farms, farmers markets, food artisans, community gardens, and restaurants that source local food within a 100-mile radius of Chattanooga Food Center. The Chattanooga Food Center plans to continue to update the map with new locations and is asking for help from the community in identifying more locations that should be added to the map.

Other things you can find at Chattanooga Food Center is a free seed library, free herb garden, and free community garden, which are open to anyone in the community. These resources allow them to directly increase access to food in their community. At the store, you will also see a new mural created by Soil Pigment artist Amanda Brazier. Chattanooga Food Center and Amanda worked with local farmers and used the soil to create a beautiful mural highlighting the reality that we are all caretakers of the land and are essential to maintaining healthy soil in agriculture.

So, what is in the works for next year at Chattanooga Food Center? They will be partnering with The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga to give people nutrition information as they come into Gaining Ground Grocery, as part of their strategic plan to address nutrition education in the community.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2021 - 11:38:59