I recently went to the Dekalb Farmers’ Market in Decatur, Georgia. This market began in 1977 by Robert Blazer whose family still runs the growing business, which has sprawled to a 140,000 sq. foot warehouse that serves over 100,000 people each week! Decatur is an adjunct city outside of Atlanta. Near Decatur is Clarkston, a town right outside of Atlanta where a plethora of refugees have settled down to continue their lives. Some choose to forget the past and begin again. Many others maintain their culture through community, food and faith. This is made very clear in Clarkston and Decatur, cities you can drive through and see the multicultural influences in every aspect of daily life. Churches with titles like, “International Bible Church” and “Debre Bisrat St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church” also have their names translated into several languages, posted on signs by the road to attract newcomers to the city and the country.
Atlanta is the first stop for many refugees in the U.S., and many find support in Clarkston through local agencies, volunteers, and of course, the International Rescue Committee.
The Dekalb Farmers’ Market is another example of how many resettled international migrants, including many refugees, have contributed to the local community and state by sharing their appreciation for native foods. When I visited for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the bustling crowd, strong spices and prolific rows full of foods from all over the world.
There is also a reasonably-priced cafe, which serves a variety of dishes for your immediate enjoyment. After all, it’s not healthy (or smart) to shop on an empty stomach, especially when there are so many choices.
I highly recommend visiting, supporting and bragging to your friends about the Dekalb Farmers’ Market whenever you get the next chance. Support the business and culture of migrant refugees and their families in the Atlanta area. If you’ve every asked, “What can I do to help?” This is an awesome bi-directional way to help and let them help you.
One of the missions of this blog is to reinforce the fact that refugees in this country are giving back and adding to our diverse nation in many ways, some of which we may overlook and not expect. We can benefit from the diverse variety of foods they bring to the U.S., and it’s a great place to meet and talk to people about their stories, lives and future in the U.S.
You never know, you may be able to help after all ;).