By TRAVIS HANDY
Plans are beginning to take shape for what will become Fairview Community Garden, located beside Fairview Home in Dublin, now that two local men have stepped forward to “champion” the project. The garden was a plan originally enacted by Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, the local extension agency and some local corporate sponsors.
Dave Adkins, local realtor and president of the Hensel Eckman YMCA’s board of directors, was one of the two whose attention came after a story about the future of the garden published in The Southwest Times in July. He says he is very excited about the garden’s potential influence on the community. Randy Jarrells, another neighbor of the garden, who also volunteers with Pulaski County United Way, has thrown his hat into the ring to bring the plans to fruition.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our county, really, but for the towns of Dublin and Pulaski and the community right around the gardens,” said Adkins. “I’m just extremely excited to get this thing off the ground.”
Adkins is originally from the “Tobacco Road” area of North Carolina, where he says “gardening was like breathing.” He says what sparked his interest in the garden is that he lives very close to the location and he didn’t realize it was there, so he really wanted to be involved in making it a success.
“When I read in the paper that it was going to be a community garden, I wanted to be involved in that,” said Adkins. He says one interesting aspect of it was the existing gravel walking trail put in place around the space meant for plots. Fairview Home residents and several others who live nearby are already using the walking trail.
The garden is virtually right in Jarrells’ backyard, and touches the back left portion of the walking trail. He became interested in what was going on when he saw the work being done last fall and winter, when the trail was put in, but he wasn’t sure what plans for the lot were until later on.
“When we found out it was going to be a garden, my wife and I were really pleased that someone was going to take the effort and the time to start a garden,” said Jarrells. “When I saw the information in the paper, I said, ‘well I’m here, it’s in my backyard,’ so I would love to do anything to make the area look a little bit better.”
Jarrells calls himself a “limited” gardener, having some experience with flowers and landscaping, but is confident and excited to get the planning process underway. He looks forward to having community involvement in the project.
“I’m excited for when the plans come out and I’m more than willing to help,” said Jarrells. “If it’s not from the community, but just right there in my area, whether it be there or outside within the county, just someone to possibly volunteer to take certain plots … I would really like to see it happen that way,” he said, so there would be many people sharing the work to keep up the garden.
He envisions partnerships with corporate sponsors and some organizations in the area; strategies that will sprout as the garden plans take root. In the meantime, he hopes the project will inspire people in the community to take more interest in the garden.
“It’s just an excellent opportunity, not only on Hatcher Road, right there, but for the community just to kind of embrace the concept and move with it,” Jarrells said. “A walking trail, I think, just impacts your community and obviously it raises awareness for physical fitness, and along with the garden, it just beautifies the area, so it’s a win-win all the way around.”
Adkins has no particular plans or visions set in stone at this point. He says the process depends on an early organizational meeting planned for sometime in early October. He does, however, hope to pattern many aspects after the Anathoth Project near Duke University in North Carolina. He says he enjoys the fact that Anathoth utilizes many community resources, such as scouting groups and other organizations. He said PCPC comes to mind for him, and even the possibility of working with youth through the court system.
“That’s something I haven’t discussed with anybody, so I don’t know the feasibility of that, but I think it could work,” said Adkins. “Of course, we’ve got the high school practically across the street with the FFA (Future Farmers of America). We’ve got resources galore in this area that could help us really turn this into a showplace.”
Peggy White, executive director of Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce couldn’t be more excited that someone has stepped forward to take on the project.
“The people saw it in the newspaper and called here,” said White. “I was thrilled to death because they were willing to step up and champion this; take it on and really help us organize it, help us take care of it, help us promote it…”
White says the garden is about the community and it’s nice to see that there are people willing to get involved. She said the Chamber of Commerce has intentions of staying involved with Fairview Community Garden in a long-term sense.
“I think agriculture is something that we need to continually embrace as part of our heritage and to promote the well-being of the community, and gardening and (the other things involved) promote a healthy change of lifestyle and things like that.”
The consensus is the hope that the garden will unite people in the area behind a positive cause.
“I want this to be a source of pride for our community,” said Adkins. “I don’t believe people understand that the town of Pulaski and town of Dublin area, we’re alive and well. We’re open for business, and I’m super excited about the possibilities that there are. I want people saying not ‘let’s go down to Durham (North Carolina) and see what they’re doing,’ I want them to say, ‘let’s go to Dublin and see what they’re doing.’”