Atlanta, the Mecca: rich in history, steeped in tradition, forever honoring those who’ve come before, is a melting pot of southern charm and deep family roots. All can remember their favorite dish from Big Mama, M’dear or Nana’s kitchen where love was infused into her dishes.

She understood that once in while she needed to take a moment to “clean their inners” in order to maintain good health. She did it with a little pot liquor a little melon, or a pinch of herbs from the garden.  The cleansing happened on a regular basis to make sure “everything was in its working order” and to ward off or to treat illness. Whatever “it” was, she always had a remedy she could cook up or work up to keep what “ails ya” far, far away

Elders always knew the necessity for a basic cleansing when the stresses of the day, coupled with inadequate nutrition got too much. We literally could not afford to get sick. Too sick, too tired?  Not an option. We needed all able bodies to be adequately nourished and avoid illness to sustain strength and endurance needed to survive.  Historically, the status of our health literally equaled life or death of an entire family.  What we grew in our garden was all the medicine we needed and often all we had.  A good old fashion “cleaning our inners” kept us disease free, which was essential to our survival.

Remembering the importance of cleansing the body and thereby detoxifying the body is necessary and critical now more than ever before. The pervasive instance of preventive disease is now an epidemic.  As dense and fertile Atlanta is, there is evidence of ‘food deserts’ urban neighborhoods. Big Mama’s wisdom starts to make more and more sense as a large percentage of our community is riddled with and suffering from an earlier onset of preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity.

Obesity is commonly a gateway to other preventable diseases. According to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program at the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia's obesity rate reached 31.4 percent in 2012, up from 29.7 percent in 2011 and is getting higher every year beating the national average of 27.6 percent. Reducing obesity is one of the top five initiatives of Georgia’s Department of Public Health in preventing disease.

In an effort to get hold of the climbing statistics here’s a list of healthy options toward a healthier lifestyle. Please find a list of Urban Organic Atlanta’s food co-ops, farmers markets and healthy restaurants.

Atlanta Food Co-ops

1) Eat Right Atlanta, known as the "fruit and vegetable superheroes," helps you provide fresh produce to your family at half the price of grocery stores. 

2) Nature’s Garden provides "nutritious and affordable food all year round,' and delivers throughout Georgia.

3) Sevananda Natural Foods Market offers locally grown whole foods to consumers in the greater Atlanta area. Located off of Moreland Avenue, Sevananda is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.

4) Life Grocery Natural Foods Co-op Market is located in Marietta, Georgia, and is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.


Atlanta: Farmer’s Markets

1) Truly Living Well Farmers’ Market  has two locations, East Point and Wheat Street Garden, and is open on Wednesdays and Fridays, 2 p.m.-dusk.

2) Morningside Farmers’ Market is located on Highland Avenue and is open on Saturdays, from 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

3) East Lake Farmers’ Market sits at the intersection of East Lake and Kirkwood and is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

4) Emory Farmers’ Market is located at Cox Hall Bridge and is open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

5) Peachtree Road Farmers’ Market is located at the Cathedral of St. Phillip on Peachtree Road and is open on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. 


Atlanta Healthy Markets / Juice Spots / Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants:

1) Boxcar Grocer is a Black-owned and sibling run healthy market stocked with traditional and organic produce located in the Castleberry Hill area at 249 Peters St. SW Atlanta. Boxcar Grocer has free Wi-Fi and a community table.

2)  Rainbow Grocery is an award-winning natural foods store serving the needs of the Decatur community at 2118 N. Decatur Rd.

3)  Rawsome Juicery is a Black-owned, cold-press juice and smoothie bar in downtown Atlanta at 209 Edgewood Ave. SE in the Sweet Auburn Market.

4)  Dtox offers raw organic juice and smoothies made from locally sourced ingredients and a variety of cleanses.

5) Arden’s Garden sells juices all over Atlanta! You can find the retail locations in Buckhead, Midtown, Little 5 Points, Kirkwood, and East Point, in addition to your local grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. Arden’s Garden offers 2 day, liver and seasonal cleanses.

6) Soul Vegetarian Restaurant is a Black-owned, soul vegetarian restaurant with two locations: 879 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. and 652 North Highland Ave. NE Its motto is “Your Health is Your Wealth."

7)  Healthful Essence is a Black-owned, Caribbean vegan, vegetarian restaurant and food truck that offers a wide range of Caribbean flavors. With more than 43 years of culinary experience, the chefs at Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegan Vegetarian Restaurant bring you the finest Caribbean vegetarian and raw food in Atlanta located at 875 York Ave. SW.

8)  Tassili’s Raw Reality is a Black-owned, raw, vegan cuisine restaurant, opened since 2011 and located at 1059 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.

–By Crystal Whaley