( Bill Lewis. The Tennessean. Click HERE for full article.)
There’s nothing unusual about city folks moving to the country for the experience of growing their own food, but Jason Cloud took a different route. He moved to one of Nashville’s newest and largest subdivisions.
Along with his neighbors, Cloud grows a variety of vegetables, herbs and berries in the expansive community garden at Carothers Farms. The neighborhood, located on the Davidson County side of Nolensville, could eventually have 2,000 residences.
“As more people get involved, it will develop a little community of gardeners inside the community,” he said.
Across the region, community gardens are a hot amenity. Spring Hill’s newest subdivision, Harvest Point, will have one. Millstone, the established Goodall Homes neighborhood in Hendersonville, has an herb garden and orchard.
“Organic gardens and dog parks are one and two of the things people want,” said David McGowan, president of Regent Homes, which is developing Carothers Farms.
As backyards get smaller, it makes sense for neighbors to work together in a community garden, said Jen Lucy, director of sales for The Jones Co. The company is launching Harvest Point, on the Maury County side of Spring Hill, along with Regent Homes, Celebration Homes and Lennar Homes.
“People are looking for them for two reasons. It means they don’t have to take up room in their backyard, and it is a very fun thing to do as a hobby together with like-minded people. It gives such a great sense of community to have a fun area like that set aside just for a garden,” said Lucy.
Harvest Point and Carothers Farms also have dog parks and trails in addition to their community gardens.
Doug Herman, president of luxury home builder Legend Homes, lives in a Franklin neighborhood that started its own community garden several years ago. The company helped expand the garden by establishing additional raised beds for plants.
He and his wife are members of the garden and have their own space.
“It’s great to see neighbors working together,” said Herman. “It’s a gathering space.”
Millstone’s herb garden is next door to the town center, making it a point of activity for the community. Goodall Homes, the subdivision’s developer, also built an onsite farm stand. Each week, residents invite a local farmer to sell produce at a farmers market.
In Carothers Farms, residents are growing sunflowers, melons, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables in the 44-by-90-foot organic garden. The community provides garden tools and a shed where they are stored. Rain barrels capture water for irrigation. There’s even an area for composting, said McGowan.
The garden is so popular that Regent plans to add more as the neighborhood grows, he said.
Meanwhile, Cloud was heading over to the garden to see what was ready for harvest.
“I’m going to have some radishes I planted,” he said.
“While homeowners are there, they can enjoy the walk through the herb garden and pick some herbs to go with their produce. … Both the farm stand and herb garden offer a unique lifestyle catered to those who want to experience and learn about planting and growing,” said Jana Pastors, Goodall Homes’ community lifestyle director
The garden surrounds pergolas, benches, a swing and a fountain. Plants growing there this year include pineapple mint, Italian oregano, golden sage and more. Millstone’s orchard garden includes Golden Delicious apple trees.
All of the plants were recommended by the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Service of Sumner County, which also offers free seminars for Millstone residents and their guests, said Pastors.
It’s “not just your everyday community garden. It’s an herb-orchard garden built around a lifestyle,” she said