Growing up on a cattle farm in North Georgia, Benjamin Pruett never guessed life would bring him full circle back to agriculture, turning a passion into a career. “The way we raised cattle back then was all-natural, but at the time, we didn’t realize it,” recalls Pruett. “Farmers have always been good stewards of the land, but organic farming has really brought that to light in recent years.”
A seventh generation Georgian, Pruett is the Policy and Finance Director for Destiny Organics, a family-owned specialty foods distributor that works with local and organic farmers and producers in the state. His wife Lori, a Henry County native, also works for the company as the Social Media Coordinator.
“Organic farming is no longer just a fad or trend,” says the McDonough resident. “It has become a business model for a lot of farms, including many right here in Georgia. We will never be able to feed the world with only organics, but it is a wonderful market complement to conventional farming.”
Nationally, organic food sales have seen double digit growth over the past five years, and account for nearly five percent of overall food sales. Pruett believes some of the best produce around is also grown right here in Georgia. “We are blessed with a great climate and people who really care about what they do.”
With a shorter time period for access, buying local offers consumers better quality food that is also better for you, according to Pruett. Due to mild winters, farms in South Georgia can grow crops such as Vidalia onions year round, making the vegetable industry one of the state’s most diverse and fastest growing sectors.
“I love how I’ve been able to work with Georgia Grown to bring awareness to Georgia foods and the benefits of buying locally,” Pruett says. Georgia Grown, a program of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, works with companies like Destiny Organics to make local agricultural products accessible to the consumer. The state is home to more than 42,000 farms occupying 9.6 million acres of land in the state.
“Buying local is so important to our economy,” explains Pruett. “By shopping local, we are consuming some of the best products in the nation and world, growing our economy, and securing our future.” Supporting the local community has always been important for Benjamin and Lori.
Before returning to his roots in agriculture, he spent ten years in the music ministry, joining the staff at a local church. Benjamin, Lori, and their three children are now active members at ELFBC. He also serves on the Planning Commission in McDonough. “We live in a great state for agriculture and the farmers here are competing globally…and winning.”