Since 2014, Mark Olsen has served as a banker associate at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. In his free time, Mark Olsen volunteers with Friends of English Avenue, which works to improve safety and community connection in a challenged Atlanta neighborhood.
In 2012, Friends of English Avenue opened its first urban farm on land donated by the Lindsay Street Baptist Church. A partnership with the Southeastern Horticultural Society and grant funds from several local organizations, including the Peachtree Garden Club, provided the initial resources. By the end of the year, the garden had produced more than 1,000 pounds of organic produce.
Since that time, the English Avenue urban farm has continued to provide local residents access to nutritious, fresh, and economical food options. All food grown goes to area families through the Rev. Dr. Gerald Richardson Food Co-Op, an organization dedicated to increasing food security for families living below the federal poverty level.
The farm has also increased community engagement by creating volunteer and job opportunities for people in the area, who are responsible for growing the garden. The organization also hosts a number of nutrition education programs to help local residents understand the value of a diet that includes fresh produce.