Healthy Sumter Opens Second Community Garden

Published 2:47 pm Monday, November 1, 2021

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De Soto, Ga. – People who live in De Soto will have better access to fresh produce with the opening of a new community garden.  Representatives from the City of De Soto, Sumter County, Healthy Sumter, Flint River Fresh and Phoebe Sumter gathered for a ribbon cutting Saturday at the new garden at De Soto Park.

“We don’t have a true grocery store in De Soto, and it’s not always easy for our residents to get the fruits and vegetables that are important for a healthy diet.  We are excited our folks now have an easy opportunity to help grow crops and literally reap the health benefits that come along with having more fresh produce to eat,” said De Soto Mayor James Cutts.

Around two dozen local organizations and institutions came together last year to form Healthy Sumter.  The initiative is designed to create a healthier community by finding effective ways to address serious public health problems.  Currently, the initiative focuses on healthy eating, mental health resources and colorectal cancer prevention.

“I have been so impressed with how the community has responded to Healthy Sumter,” said Brandi Lunneborg, Phoebe Sumter CEO.  “At Phoebe Sumter, we don’t just want to care for you when you’re sick.  We want to play an active role in helping people stay healthy.  Through Healthy Sumter, we are working with many community partners who share that same goal, and it’s making a difference.”

Last fall, Healthy Sumter opened its first community garden at Brookdale Park in Americus.  Flint River Fresh (FRF) – an Albany-based non-profit dedicated to increasing access to fresh, local, affordable, healthy food and teaching people how to grow their own produce – manages both gardens.  “Our Americus garden has been a huge success.  Volunteers show up every week to help us plant, maintain and harvest the garden.  Much of what we grow is distributed to families in the area.  We’re looking forward to the same success in De Soto as we reach out to serve even more people,” said Fredando Jackson, Flint River Fresh Executive Director.

Flint River Fresh gave away bags of fresh produce at the ribbon cutting.  Planting at the garden in De Soto will begin in the next month or so and will initially include fruit trees and garden boxes where multiple crops can be cultivated.  Nearby residents are encouraged to help maintain the garden and to pick crops for their use.

For more information about the Healthy Sumter, or to download its wellness app, go to