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Augusta Locally Grown
Rebecca van Loenen is the executive director of Augusta Locally Grown. She grew up in Southern Louisiana, growing food in a home garden with her family, and pursued a general studies degree in college with the goal of working in nonprofits. She took on the executive director position of Augusta Locally Grown in January 2020 just before the pandemic began impacting Georgia.
In this interview, she discusses the impact that COVID has had on her professional and personal life, including her experience caring for an infant. She describes the process of ramping up service to the market’s online portal, coordinating a large volunteer and part-time employee network to sustain the market operations, continuing in-person sales in areas of high need, bringing the community cooking class online, and watching the community rally together. Sales at the market quintupled compared to pre-pandemic levels, and she wants to uplift the strong Georgia local food network that responded with nimble resilience to the challenges of responding to consumer need during the pandemic.