(Featured photo: Dr. Malcolm Bevel tends seedlings in the micro-farm located inside the Georgia Cancer Center’s M. Bert Storey Research Building. Maxwell Shaffer/Augusta Good News)
On Aug. 25, leaders from the Georgia Cancer Center, along with representatives from Ebony Tree Farms, Studio Farmers Inc. and Paceline transplanted seedlings into a hydroponic garden.
Designed to help lower income people living in areas without adequate access to healthier food options, the garden will provide produce such as kale, basil and mustard greens.
Dr. Malcolm Bevel, an associate professor at the Georgia Cancer Center, and his team have focused their research on food swamps (an area with higher access to fast food and less nutritious options) and food deserts and how they have been associated with obesity-related cancer deaths in the U.S. from 2010-2020. There are 13 different types of obesity-related cancers accounting for about 40% of cancers across the United States.
“During our research we have found that counties that have food swamp environments, there was 77% odds of having high obesity cancer mortality,” said Bevel. “This is another epidemic that we need to address.”
Bevel and his team received a grant from Paceline, an annual bike ride to raise money for cancer research at the Georgia Cancer Center, to fund the project. The event is scheduled for Oct. 15.
“Through the grant that I received last year, we were able to get this hydroponic garden which will allow us to produce about 400-900 pounds of food a year,” said Bevel. “We will then be able to take the produce and give it away to the community.”
Ebony Tree Farms and Studio Farmers Inc. assisted by providing the plants for the research.
“When he reached out, we were all really excited,” said Anna Griffin with Ebony Tree Farms. “Being a part of this is really special because this project may eradicate something by simply just producing healthy food.”
The produce should be ready for harvest in about four or five weeks.
Maxwell Shaffer is an Augusta University student and features correspondent for Augusta Good News. To subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter, click here.
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