Shortly after the purchase of 1321 Athens Drive in the spring of 2012, the new owners surveyed the overgrown yard and were surprised to discover an old well, a remnant of this land’s earlier farming days.
This well gives the garden its name: ‘The Well Fed Garden’, nourishing the land which in turn nourishes us with food. The well has been re-dug and a modern irrigation system waters the entire garden. The ‘Well Fed’ name speaks to the biblical metaphor of ‘re-digging our fathers’ wells’ – reconnecting us to the true source of life, and to the wellness that the Garden is bringing to the community.
We are told that this unique property is one of the last remaining parcels of land given after the Civil War to freed salves – the Jones family – who farmed this land well into the mid to late 20th century. Still living on adjacent properties are homes of family descendants Annie Belle, Pete and James Jones, who remember the 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 Irregardless Cafe, with 4 other families, from a descendant of the original Jones family in March of 2012.
The Well Fed Community Garden’s founding Garden Manager Jenn Sanford Johnson, worked tirelessly with devoted volunteers to transform this abandoned land into today’s Garden. Over her four years as Garden Manager, she implemented the charming permaculture plan designed by Professor Will Hooker, retired NC State Professor of Sustainable landscape Architect and his associate Laura Willer.
This design includes seasonal and extended gardens for vegetable cultivation, blueberry bushes, blackberry canes, fruit trees, cooking and medicinal herbs, edible and cut flowers, teas, mushrooms, honey bees and chickens for eggs. In addition, the plan offers areas to ‘host’ visitors to the Garden: a large lawn for social events, farm dinners and workshops, the Pizza oven and the outdoor kitchen for Garden Cooking Classes.