Like the title says, we might be moving to Valdosta in the next two years or so to be closer to DP's family. But we'd be moving all the way from Northern IL! I've never been any farther south, and I have to admit I'm a little intimidated. I'd love to hear anything about the area, especially in regards to non-religious home-schooling, mid-wifery, farmer's markets, any of that good crunchy stuff. I think it would really alleviate some of my fears. Thanks!
Edit: May be moving to somewhere over the FL border, since they seem to have better laws on homeschooling and midwifery. Any info would be appreciated!
I live in Tallahassee, this is a great place to live, about an hour away from Valdosta. I know we have homeschooling groups in town, but I don't homeschool so I am not familiar with the contacts.
We have several homebirth midwives in the area and a birth center run by two of them (there was one across the border up in Thomasville, GA, but she is moving to Atlanta).
I figured out that there is a farmers market or growers market just about every day of the week here except Sunday (I think). The ones I have visited are the Farmers Market in Market Square on Saturdays, the growers market on Wednesdays at Lake Ella, the organic growers market on Thursdays off of Lafayette Street. There are a few others that I can't remember off hand (Monday might be at Southwood, and then Tue and Friday there is one in the Killearn area that I keep meaning to visit. I might have those wrong though).
We have a local coop called New Leaf Market. In the fall they also host an annual farm tour where you can visit all the local famers.
There has been more than one resource thread posted here for Tallahassee if you want to search for them.
I live 1/2 hour from valdosta. There is nothing here. I am the only person who homeschools that is secular that I know in my town. We don't have recycling, no community activities, no parks...Go with tallahassee if you can, they have everything you are seeking
Just an FYI:
I am the homebirth midwife that practiced in south GA and moved to Atlanta recently. Before leaving the Thomasville area, I was able to find a young midwife to take my practice. Her contact info is on my old website, as she will be inheriting the business name also. I am a lactation counselor and provided a very active breastfeeding support group. Two of the moms in my group went on to obtain their CLCs too and will be continuing the breastfeeding support group. The meeting times will continue to be posted on the web page, plus the business and the support group both have a Facebook presence. I also used to teach childbirth classes but so far there has been no one to step up to the plate in that area. There is a good one in Albany and many in Tallahassee, but not in Thomasville/Valdosta area. Valdosta has a good LLL group however. There are quite a few organic farms in the area with markets available too.
South Georgia Birth Services is the website to check out for more info there.
However, for the full range of things available, I also concur with others that your best best would be Tallahassee.
Traditional Birth Services of Atlanta
I would strongly second PP's suggestion of choosing Tallahassee. We just moved from Panama City, Florida, and I must say I'm delighted. There is nothing in N FL (or S GA). You may need to brace yourself for the South. There is this online group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ParentingBeyondBeliefFL/ and if you end up in Panama City (or anyone else on here), this is the inclusive homeschool group there http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ABCH/. Unless you plan on having your family being your parenting support system, I would recommend driving an hour to see them in order to live in a more progressive community.