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Urban Agriculture and Community Engagement Take Root on PATH400

Livable Buckhead and Office of Sustainability install planter beds for community gardens

ATLANTA – April 28, 2017 – A new kind of greenspace has come to PATH400: community gardens. When construction on the segment of PATH400 between Sidney Marcus Rd. and Miami Circle began about 18 months ago, crews discovered that residents of the Atlanta Housing Authority’s nearby Marian Road highrise had been using a tucked-away piece of land to grow vegetables. PATH400’s leaders were inspired to take this “guerilla gardening” to the next level and made plans to create a community garden space on the trail.

“In the same way that PATH400 is being built in the ‘found’ right-of-way space along the highway, these gardeners took an unused space and turned it into something worthwhile,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, the nonprofit organization spearheading PATH400 in Buckhead. “We love that spirit, and we wanted to bring it into the project in a way that engages the local community and creates a unique amenity for this area.”

Today, more than 30 volunteers from Livable Buckhead, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, Atlanta Housing Authority, Rubicon, Integral, Lockton and Jones, Lang, LaSalle completed installation of planter beds that spell out “PATH400.” The beds, filled with vegetable plants, were then dedicated to the residents of the Marian Road highrise who will tend them.

“AHA appreciates Livable Buckhead, the cohort of Atlanta citizens and our AHA staff volunteers who showed up today for the installation and initial planting of the PATH400 community gardens,” says Catherine Buell, president and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “The outcome is beautiful, but more important for the Marian Road highrise residents, the gardens represent access to healthy produce and an opportunity to get outdoors for exercise as part of AHA’s aging well strategy.”

The planter beds were crafted by designer Chris McDowell who works with reclaimed lumber to create his works of garden art. McDowell created the beds in his Athens shop and transported them to Buckhead for the installation. He was brought into the project by Mario Cambardella, urban agriculture director for the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability.

“When Livable Buckhead approached us about building a community garden on PATH400 that would also be a design feature, I knew Chris was the perfect person for the project,” said Cambardella. “These beds are a great example of why urban agriculture is so beneficial and why the Office of Sustainability wants to encourage it citywide. We’re glad to have played a part in helping the Marian Road highrise residents take their community garden to the next level, and are thankful to Livable Buckhead for bringing us in on the project.”

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About Livable Buckhead

Livable Buckhead is a nonprofit organization that strives to ensure the long-term viability and prosperity of the Buckhead community. The organization achieves its mission by working cooperatively with individuals, public entities and private businesses to integrate sustainable strategies. Livable Buckhead implements programs related to greenspace, recycling, energy efficiency, commute alternatives, arts and culture, real estate development and land use. For more information about Livable Buckhead and its programs, visit

About PATH400

PATH400 is a 5.2-mile walkable, bikeable greenway being constructed on public land adjacent to GA400 extending from the bank of Peachtree Creek northward toward the northern edge of Atlanta. It is the centerpiece of a broader greenspace plan, the Buckhead Collection, initiated by Atlanta Councilman Howard Shook. Livable Buckhead is spearheading the PATH400 project in partnership with the Buckhead Community Improvement District (Buckhead CID) and the PATH Foundation. Several other agencies and organizations are involved in the development of PATH400, including Georgia Department of Transportation, the City of Atlanta, MARTA, Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit B, and Atlanta Public Schools. PATH400 will increase access to community amenities such as arts, historic, and cultural exhibits; neighborhood pocket parks and greenspaces; retail centers; and learning centers. For more information about PATH400, visit

About PATH Foundation

In just 24 years, PATH has developed over 235 miles of trail throughout Georgia and has become a nationally recognized model for trail-building success. PATH’s linear parks have become part of the landscape in urban and rural areas, in affluent and impoverished communities. PATH trails are bringing people together from all races, ages, income levels and cultural backgrounds.  Significant progress toward building Atlanta a network of trails includes: The Silver Comet, Stone Mountain, Lionel Hampton, Westside, Arabia Mountain, Chastain Park, South Decatur Trolley, Northwest Atlanta, and Freedom Park Trails.

About Atlanta Housing Authority

The Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (AHA) is the largest housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation. AHA provides and facilitates affordable housing resources for nearly 22,000 low-income households comprised of approximately 50,000 people. These affordable housing resources include AHA-owned residential communities, AHA-sponsored mixed-income, mixed-finance residential communities, tenant-based vouchers, project based rental assistance, supportive housing arrangements and homeownership opportunities. AHA’s programs are funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).  Visit Atlanta Housing Authority at or follow on Twitter and Instagram at @housingatlanta or Facebook at @AtlantaHousing.

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