A mere three years ago, the budding West Broad Village development was home to the Liesfeld cattle farm. And while the pasture may have made way for a bustling mixed use community, it’s a community that’s close-knit, nonetheless. Going along with West Broad Village’s goal of building a unified community, the Short Pump Whole Foods […]
A mere three years ago, the budding West Broad Village development was home to the Liesfeld cattle farm. And while the pasture may have made way for a bustling mixed use community, it’s a community that’s close-knit, nonetheless.
Going along with West Broad Village’s goal of building a unified community, the Short Pump Whole Foods Market announced on Tuesday the opening of Village Garden, Whole Foods Market’s first onsite field-to-store community garden. The 37,000-square foot garden will supply fresh and seasonal produce to be sold in the adjacent Whole Foods store and will be incorporated into prepared dishes and salad bar options.
Representatives from Whole Foods Market, West Broad Village and Henrico County Three Chopt District Supervisor Dave Kaechele were on hand to mark the event.
“More and more, customers are becoming vocal about wanting to know the origin of their produce. At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking to partner with local farmers, but the Village Garden is something very new for us,” said Joey Herndon, store team leader of Whole Foods Market at Short Pump. “We’re excited to see our customers reap the benefits of the Village Garden.”
Markel-Eagle Partners, LLC, investors and operators of West Broad Village, donated six acres of land for the garden, which is currently an acre in size. Once the entire plot is utilized, it will be the largest Whole Foods community garden of its kind in the entire nation.
The garden was built and will be maintained by the local Richmond organization, Backyard Farmer, as well as Whole Foods Market employees, and will include seven production beds, a fruit orchard and grape vines that are expected to mature by mid-July of this year. The Village Garden will be home to an assortment of produce year-round.
Squash, tomatoes, peppers and melons will be planted first, along with fruit trees like hardy kiwi, fig, persimmon, pear and plum. The Village Garden also will be home to a number of berry bushes, including blueberry, blackberry and raspberry. A portion of what’s grown in the garden will be donated to the Central Virginia Food Bank.
“The Village Garden is just another element of the vision behind West Broad Village,” said Stan Manoogian, president of Markel-Eagle Partners. “We wanted to create an inclusive community, and produce grown within the development definitely helps achieve that goal.”
The Short Pump Whole Foods Market opened its doors in 2008 and has worked quickly to meet the company’s mission of caring for the environment. The Short Pump store utilizes a waste-to-water machine which uses enzymes to break down food matter into water. Pending final approval, the Short Pump Whole Foods will be able to provide the community with the option of buying locally grown food from the Village Garden.
Photos from the event as well as a rendering of the completed garden can be seen below.