Remembering L. W. Farmer -The Community Garden in the Happy Hill Neighborhood: A Public Treasure – Part 1

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Remembering L.W. Farmer

A Local Patron Saint At The Heart of the Happy Hill Community Garden

There is no point writing about this special place at 1208 Gay Street, built upon the once flooded property close to Sunset Park, without honoring L.W. Farmer. The garden was established in 2007 in Phase 2 of the renovation of the Park.  A medical problem caused L.W. to retire after 29-1/2 years as a fireman. A Master Gardner, he turned his attention to this piece of property. For many years he wrote a check to the city for 54 plots. If a person could afford it, they were asked to pay, but he gave the plots to people in the community who wanted to grow vegetables and couldn’t afford the rent.  L.W, generous with his knowledge, helped others to learn the art of gardening. He brought his equipment to the  shed on the property and gave keys to those who wanted to be involved. His wife, Julia, and their children, were involved in the garden along side this community minded man who wanted to give back to Rocky Mount that he felt had given so much to him. The Garden was never a sophisticated operation when you realize that marketing the availability of the plots was by word of mouth, through the churches and city notices. At times all the plots were take.


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In the photo above former Pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church, Steve Weaver, on the right, with L.W., came each year to dedicate and bless the Community Gardens and participants. On opening day, Julia and her daughters along with friends, served Donkin’ Donuts and coffee. L.W. gave 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes every year with $100.00 gift certificates. He planted his own garden to serve as a teaching opportunity for the community. When L.W. died October 25th 2012, his friend, Jim Blanchard, in honor os L.W., paid the fees for the garden in the coming year. Julia, has said it best about her husband, “He was a special person.”

This post is to say THANK YOU to The City Park District for all the care it continues to give the gardens. It also honors L.W. who would be pleased the gardens carries on. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your own plot, to plant your own produce; link arms with the community that comes and goes from this special place.

See you tomorrow for Part 2 – Learn more about what is happening now! 

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