Learn about Farmer D's grant project, aimed at alleviating food deserts in Savannah, GA.  Farmer D works with Savannah's Union Mission to set up urban gardens and to educate people on how to properly prepare food in a restaurant setting.  (Nick Scott/MNN)


Farmer D: I’m here with Teri Schell from Union Mission.  Teri and I met through a community food project grant addressing the issue of poverty, homelessness, and what we call food deserts: a lack of access to fresh food in some of the lower-end kind of impoverished communities around downtown Savannah.  And using urban gardening and nutrition education as the way to do that.  And basically the way it works is, the participants who come through Union Mission, they come in to Trustee’s Garden.  When they come, they work with me one on one learning how to plant, what you grow when, how to plant it.  So they get some hands-on gardening experience.
Teri:  The core components are, of course, teaching people how to grow food, food security issue.  We have a nutritional and the culinary education aspect that we are utilizing Starfish Café for, to teach people how to cook with this fresh food, ‘cause not everybody has learned that as they’ve grown up.
Farmer D:   I’m over here at Starfish Café in Savannah, Georgia with Chef Cleve Critton talking about Starfish.  Chef Cleve, tell us a little bit about Starfish Café and what you're doing here.
Cleve:  Starfish restaurant is geared to helping people who are down on their luck or just someone who’s out of – been out of touch with school and want to get into the culinary field, because, as you know, in Savannah restaurants are opening every day and people are looking for good employees.  And if you look out right now, most of the restaurants and you go in ‘em, some of the employees there actually are Starfish graduates.
Farmer D:   I know working with you, with the grant and the garden, you're passionate not only about cooking and teaching but also about nutrition.
Cleve:  Yes.
Farmer D:   So, what do you do here that’s different as far as working with teaching about nutrition and how to cook?
Cleve:  We use organic fruits and vegetables with everything that we cook down at the Trustee, and my goal in life is to help people get healthy.  We use fresh herbs in our dishes that we cook.  They help our body.  Because fresh – the fresher the herb, the better it is for the body.  The greener your vegetable, the better.  People know about Starfish and when they come here, they’re eager.  “Take me over to the Starfish.  I wanna see what’s going on.”
Farmer D:   Yeah.
Cleve:  And that’s what we want: people to see that we’re helping, we’re giving back.