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Of The E.M.B.A.R.C. Community Youth Farm

The E.M.B.A.R.C. Community Youth Farm was developed through the vision of the Honorable Lorraine Cochran-Johnson in 2020 while Commissioner of Super District 7.  E.M.B.A.R.C. is located on the former 50-acre Bransby Outdoor YMCA at the Rock Chapel site in DeKalb County. E.M.B.A.R.C. is a place where youth and the community can grow healthy fruits and vegetables year-round.

The E.M.B.A.R.C. Community Youth Farm provides urban agricultural experiences for youth and adults that include activities and classes centered around farming, gardening, and health. E.M.B.A.R.C. is an interconnected campus of buildings, pavilions and outdoor space that focuses on organic and natural food raised from the ground, nature, and wellness with the goal of eliminating food deserts in DeKalb County.


In 2020, District 7 partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology Design and Research Studio. Under the leadership of Georgia Tech Professor Herman Howard, an architect by trade, thirteen graduate students from the Design and Research Studio created a detailed and extensive draft master site plan that provided the conceptual layout to guide the development and buildout of the Youth Farm. The draft site plan conceptualized the urban environment, defined public spaces and amenities, and determined the mix of uses and relationships to engage the community. GA Tech students in two additional cohorts also participated in the design project.


The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on April 19, 2021. Among the participants were DeKalb County dignitaries, students from the GA Tech Design and Research Studio, supportive DeKalb County residents, and Partners in Action for Healthy Living.


In 2022, under the leadership of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Affairs (RPCA), the conceptual design plan was updated by contractor PondCo. Agricultural activities and classes were developed by RPCA in partnership with the UGA Extension Office, UGA Master Gardners, Georgia Forestry Commission, Trees Atlanta, and many other organizations around the Metro-Atlanta area.  


Phase I development was completed in 2023, which included upgrading the infrastructure and utilities, re-establishing the trail system throughout the farm, and installing the green house, raised garden beds, bee hives, and chicken coop. Agricultural programming and classes began at E.M.B.A.R.C. in 2023 that included activities for youth, adults, and outdoor enthusiasts. Partnerships with Girl and Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts began and the first Eagle Scout project was completed.


The Youth Entrepreneurial program began in March 2024 with oversight and leadership by the Human Services Department. The program is geared to high school juniors and seniors and is ran by coordinator L.A. Bonds who developed a curriculum specifically designed for E.M.B.A.R.C. L.A. Bonds is a farmer by trade


Phase II development is scheduled to begin in 2024 and include the cleaning and upgrading of the detention pond, hydroponics stations, additional raised garden beds, a compost station, and installation of equipment for honey harvesting. The current buildings and structures at the site will be renovated to include the pool and pool house, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and two pavilions that will serve as space for a weekly farmers market where farmers will sell fresh, locally sourced produce.


Phase III development is scheduled to begin in 2025, which will be the buildout of the country market store where fruits, vegetables and products produced by students enrolled in the Youth Entrepreneurial Program will be sold.  The country market store will include a test kitchen for cooking and classes for the community.

DeKalb County, District 7


Georgia Institute of Technology Design and Research Studio


Herman Howard


Design and Research Studio - Graduate Students

Alex Watson.jpg

Alex Watson

Ashley Baldwin.jpg

Ashley Baldwin

Caroline Burgess

Caroline Burgess

Dylan Bonsignore.jpg

Dylan Bonsignore

Emma Ressler.jpg

Emma Ressler

Ishwar Ramnarine

Ishwar Ramnarine

Jackie Restrepo

Jackie Restrepo

Jane Rodrigues.jpg

Jane Rodrigues

Jiahao Lyu.png

Jiahao Lyu

Michael Matty

Michael Matty

Mori Haynes

Mori Haynes

Rachael Carstens

Rachael Carstens

RayVonn LauRenn

RayVonn Whitehead

Robb Conklin.jpg

Robb Conklin

Sofia Stafford.jpg

Sofia Stafford

Tiffany Bouquet.JPG
Yuanwei Guo.jpg
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