…exists at Birkdale and is the brainchild of Williams Sonoma manager Elizabeth Brown. Since Williams Sonoma often does cooking demos, it made sense to Elizabeth that a community garden be the source of the food samples. When she suggested the idea to DDR, the management company for Birkdale Village, they jumped on the idea. Ground was weeded and plowed, irrigation systems were altered, fencing was established and oh, the residents of Birkdale had the opportunity to develop their own small plots, too.
Elizabeth showed off her garden plot tonight. She’s so proud of it — and rightly so — that I’m surprised she doesn’t give hourly tours to her customers. While we were admiring the garden, she even found several Asian eggplants that were ripe and ready for picking. As she carried them back to Williams Sonoma, I asked what she would use them for. “I have no idea,” she told me. “I’ll look up recipes on our website and come up with something!” I’ve asked her to post that final choice on this blog.
So Williams Sonoma, a big name as far as cooking-related stores go, happens to have a store manager that understands the value of thinking outside the box. By creating a community garden, Elizabeth is able to reach out to the residents in the community and encourage them to share their bounty, or learn creative ways to prepare it, at her store. They share stories, recipes, weed together, talk about their growing techniques and suddenly the “big” store is a community hang out. And DDR should be commended for their understanding that these efforts are what separates them from other locations, and will be appreciated by the retail outlets for helping to assist their stability in the community.
There are probably a lot of garden puns I could use here — but I’ll leave them for you all. I’ll just say that if you all, like Elizabeth, have an idea, even if it seems a bit out of the ordinary, share it with your Huntersville Connection partners, let them fertilize it and see how it grows…..