ACRE is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable initiatives to strengthen the infrastructure of families in rural and impoverished communities through participatory involvement.


Our Beginning

ACRE was originally founded in 2002 as part of the Alabama Rural Initiative of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. A model for addressing poverty in economic development in one of the poorest areas of the nation, ACRE is located in Lowndes County, Alabama. 


“A happy and healthy community is not a fairytale. All you need is a seed.”



ACRE's Executive Director and founder, Catherine Coleman Flowers, a native of Lowndes County, Alabama has been nationally and locally recognized for her work in developing a model for addressing the root causes of poverty in one of America's poorest regions. She has been the subject of an Emmy nominated documentary and numerous news articles.

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Our Mission



According to the 2000 census in Lowndes County: 



per capita income 


of families live below the poverty line


of the population live below the poverty line


In 2004, Citigroup executives, Martin Wong and Kevin Kessinger visited Lowndes County and through the Alabama Rural Initiative donated four homes to families. Those gifts were applauded in editorials in many Alabama newspapers, including the state's largest newspaper, The Birmingham News. Since the evolution of ACRE from the Alabama Rural Initiative, Mrs. Flowers and the staff of ACRE are reaching across the state and nation to share the best practices in targeting the root causes of poverty.

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Get Involved

If you live near one of our gardens, get involved to receive portions of each harvest. We accept volunteers regardless of skill level. There is a rotation in roles, but we’ll teach you all the skills you need to know. Teenagers 14 years and older can earn community service credits for school in addition to getting produce for their families. Donations are also vital to our growth, as we use them for seed, fertilizer, tools, and outreach.

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