Alumni Spotlight Business & Economy Profiles Society & Culture

Sarah Jackson: Fruits of Our Labor

Sarah Jackson AB ’11, MPA ‘15 wants the people she helps through her business, Abundance Landscapes and Gardens, to not only grow their own food, but learn to enjoy it. (photo/courtesy)

Sharing food within your community is a long-standing southern tradition. As the co-owner and chief gardener of Abundance Landscapes and Gardens in Atlanta, Sarah Jackson AB ’11, MPA ‘15 has taken that generosity to new levels.

Jackson grew up in Ohio, but her fascination with farming and sustainability started while studying human geography at the University of Georgia.

“A lot of the professors are really into local food issues,” she says. “All of our projects were oriented around local community service involving food access or gardening or nutrition.”

It didn’t take long for Jackson to be inspired.

In 2010, as a Public Service and Outreach Student Scholar, she helped found Campus Kitchen at UGA, a sustainable hunger-relief organization that is still going strong today. Since its founding, Campus Kitchen has provided nearly 100,000 homemade meals to people in need. Student leaders and volunteers provide emergency hunger relief to the Athens community as well as develop sustainable solutions for food waste. On average, over 400 students a year volunteer with Campus Kitchen.

After graduating, Jackson moved to Atlanta and started working for the Georgia Food Bank Association, doing everything from fundraising to event planning and disaster relief. She later worked for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, helping with disaster response and recovery. Service and community were the foundation of every new opportunity. Still, Jackson always wanted a way to combine this drive with her creative instincts.

In 2020, Jackson and her husband, Daniel, combined their love of landscaping, sustainability, and event planning to create Abundance Landscapes and Gardens. They wanted people to not only grow their own food but learn to enjoy it. At the time, people were stuck at home, and grocery stores became a less reliable place to find what you were looking for.

Relying on their backgrounds in sustainable agriculture and food-related nonprofits, Sarah and Daniel turned their own quarter-acre backyard into an edible landscape they call a “snackyard.”

“This isn’t necessarily your grandma’s garden,” Jackson says. “It’s not a little crop that grows in your backyard. Our plan is to make it just as beautiful as it is bountiful.”

Starting with her own and recently expanding to clients around Atlanta, Jackson creates comfortable outdoor spaces that make people feel like they’re in their living room—only surrounded by fruit trees, berries, and garden seating. She and her husband now spend most of their time outdoors and grow a lot of the food they eat.

“It definitely supplements most of our groceries. I’ll get up with a cup of coffee and just take a walk, picking berries as I go,” she says.

Even their dog, Lucy, is obsessed with fruit. She often follows behind Jackson, waiting for a bite. “She’s really into tomatoes right now.”

Through Abundance Landscapes and Gardens, Jackson’s goal is to help people see the potential of their space. It can provide a welcoming and bountiful living area as well as benefit local ecosystems.

People are moving away from conventional lawns Jackson says, and the maintenance involved with keeping them lush. Edible gardens are a new way to go.

“We get so much joy out of our garden and sharing that with our friends and our family,” Jackson says. “To be able to extend that joy and connection beyond our inner circle to our community in a way that is still a viable business is really special. I think we’re often pinching ourselves that we get to do this.”