Middle Georgia farmers create co-op to get shoppers to buy local

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SANDERSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Farmers in Sandersville want you to know where your food is coming from.

They and several growers around Middle Georgia put together a co-op to help expand their brands, put more local foods in restaurants, and in markets and stores around the region.

For someone who has been farming for a little more than eight months, Katie Doe Putkowski says she’s a natural.

“We are just contributing to the production of vegetables and sheep for lamb meat and now we have chicken eggs,” she said, referring to the produce and meats she and her partners sell at Forest Grove Farm.

Katie, her partner Chris Horacek, and farm owner Lyle Lansdell don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

“The principle is that we don’t want to eat pesticides and herbicides,” Lansdell said about why they’re running an organic, sustainable farm.

The three and growers from across Middle Georgia started “Middle Georgia Growers Cooperative” — a group where farmers can work on ways to expand their outreach to the region, even beyond the surrounding counties.

“Hopefully, you’ll start seeing our produce and goods utilized in restaurants in the Macon area,” Putkowski said.

“If you’re buying a bag of carrots from the grocery store, those profits are going out to California, Mexico, wherever they’re grown. Where as we directly profit from it and we can input that into our communities,” Horacek said.

It’s a push to remind shoppers to think twice when they’re picking up groceries.

“How else could a person have the energy to do this if they didn’t have the principle behind it pushing them, driving them to do this hard work,” Lansdell said.

“We’re just trying to bring people out and encourage them to get to know their farmers,” Putkowski urged.

… To know their farmers and to know where their food is coming from.

The produce and meats from Forest Grove Farm can be found at the Mulberry Market in Macon each Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m at Tattnall Square Park.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.