The History & Naming of the Well Fed Community Garden
The Well Fed Community Garden at 1321 Athens Drive is just 3 miles from the Irregardless Cafe. This unique property is one of the last remaining parcels of, what we are told, is the land given after the Civil War to freed slaves – the Jones family – who farmed this land well into the mid to late 20th century. Still living on adjacent properties are the three homes of family descendants Annie Belle, Pete and James Jones, who remembers corn and squash growing on the land that is now the Well Fed Community Garden.
This 1.5 acre parcel of land with a red brick home, was purchased by the owners of the Irregardless Cafe, with 4 other families, from a descendent of the original Jones family in March 2012. Their goal was to use the acreage for urban agriculture and establish a Community Garden. The fresh local produce grown would feed community members and supply Irregardless’ kitchen with organic produce for Cafe and Catering patrons meals.
Shortly after the property’s purchase, the new owners surveyed the overgrown yard and were surprised to discover an old well, a remnant of it’s earlier farming days. The well has been re-dug and a modern irrigation system waters the entire garden. The Garden’s name speaks to the biblical metaphor of ‘re-digging our father’s wells’, reconnecting us to the true source of life, and to the ‘wellness’ that the Garden is bringing to the community.
Sustainable Perma-culture Design
Professor Will Hooker, Sustainable Landscape Architect at NC State, and his associate Laura Willer have designed a charming permaculture plan for the 1.5 acres. The design, seen above, above includes seasonal and extended gardens for vegetable cultivation, blueberry bushes, black berry brambles, fruit trees, cooking and medicinal herbs, edible and cut flowers, teas, mushroom cultivation, honey bees and chickens for eggs.
This garden design promotes organic agriculture methods, which minimally disturb the Earth’s natural balance. To increase yields of produce, cover crops, mulches, compost (from Cafe’s kitchen’s vegetable discards), mineral supplements are employed, building healthy soil. No chemical fertilizers nor pesticides are used, however organic pest control methods are employed, like crop rotation, beneficial insects & micro-organisms and companion plantings.
Community Gardens Benefit the Community
Reduced rates of vandalism
Increased rates of exercise
Positive impact on obesity rates and other health outcomes
Increased property values
Increased access to healthy foods for those in need
Increased food security