Female CEO of Arden’s Garden saves urban farm operated by female founder to avert development and forge partnership that will promote health, wellness and sustainability in a food desert located in underserved East Point, GA.
Arden's Garden and Yennenga Adanya have come together to save Oyun Botanical Gardens -- an urban farm in East Point. This venture between CEO Leslie Zinn and Adanya will support urban farming, community wellness, and the overall city of East Point.
Zinn agreed to purchase the property in 2023 to save the farm from land developers. Arden's Garden already has two production plants and two retail stores in East Point, so the community ties are strong.
"East Point is the No. 1 store in our chain," Zinn said. "We truly believe it is because we are in a food desert."
East Point's recent adoption of an agricultural plan in 2021 includes goals to improve local food access and to support local urban growers. So, keeping the urban farm alive was a no brainer.
Adanya came to the farm in 2015 to build the education programs at Truly Living Well, which once occupied the site. She is now a wellness coach.
"It's not about changing what you eat, it is changing what you think," Adanya said.
Adanya wanted Oyun Botanical Gardens to bring a diverse group of people together for a marketplace of fresh food and meditation. She approached the owners about selling the property, but the real estate market had taken a considerable turn amid the pandemic, and Adanya's investor pulled out of the deal.
Once Zinn and Adanya met, they knew their partnership would be about maintaining a resource of fresh and healthy food in East Point. Per the agreement, pulp byproduct from Arden's Garden juices will be delivered to the farm for use in growing vegetables, while some of the farm's produce will be used as raw ingredients for the plant-based food at Arden's Garden.
Adanya and Oyun Botanical Gardens will continue to run market days and wellness events for the community. After two years, Adanya will have the option to purchase the farm from Zinn as well.
Both Zinn and Adanya have the same objective: to keep healthy foods in the community -- and they plan to do just that.