Oakley residents plant seeds of community resilience

Michael Stratton at Fairview Road Resilience Garden
PICK YOUR BATTLES: Michael Stratton works to prepare a row at the Fairview Road Resilience Garden in Oakley. Photo by Laurence Périgaud

When Michael Stratton bought the house next door to his Oakley residence as a rental investment, he envisioned transforming part of its front yard, which faces busy Fairview Road, into a community footpath and garden. Then COVID-19 happened.

“Originally, we were going to do raised beds and planter boxes, and anybody who’s interested can show up and pool resources,” Stratton says. “It was going to be a focal point of community more than anything. But when this virus hit, we said, ‘Let’s reevaluate that and think about how we can try to make an impact on the hunger situation that we’re going to be facing.’”

So Stratton moved the project, dubbed the Fairview Road Resilience Garden, to the property’s sunny backyard, with the plan of producing as much food as possible to support the community. Since late March, he, his wife, Amanda, and a small, hardworking steering committee have managed to transform a 4,000-square-foot grassy field into 15 neat garden beds, which in mid-April were already speckled with green sprouts of onions, potatoes, kale, chard and more.

“We’re really focused on growing high-producing, high-yielding options, things that can be turned into meals easily once we take them to the food pantry,” Stratton says.

Another component under development for the initiative is a mutual aid group that will enlist neighborhood volunteers to make and freeze batches of soup to be included with medication and other items in “Miracle Boxes” that can be distributed to community members who are ill or otherwise in need.

“We’re not going to be able to solve all the problems or issues, but I think the secondary goal, beyond just giving food away, is creating a model that people in other neighborhoods can latch onto,” says Stratton. “If anything, it just allows people to know that this is possible with very few resources and just a few people who say, ‘We can do this.’”

To learn more and connect with the Fairview Road Resilience Garden, visit its pages on Facebook and Instagram.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.