Community Orchard

What was once home to trash, broken-down vehicles, feral animals, and a place for cars to turn around on a dead-end street, is now a beautiful and abundant fruit garden. The orchard is the brainchild of Bibb City residents Brad Barnes and his wife Jenn Collins, who have already renovated two houses in the area. The two say they have passions for creatively using tiny spaces for farming, feeding people, and making things pretty.

Though the property is on Anthony Street, it can be seen from the busy street of Second Avenue. It's between two buildings and the plot of land is estimated by Barnes to be around 50 feet by 60 feet.

Original Image of land

"We had been looking at the property for quite some time wondering what could be done with it,'' Barnes said. The couple was not sure what the owner of the land would think, but when presented with the idea, John Barwick gave the land to the Land Bank Authority of Columbus, Georgia, and attorney Ken Henson donated his work on closing costs.

Members of Bibb City community and Trees Columbus came together on January 14 to put the orchard together. Trees Columbus provided the trees, and Lazy K Nursery in Pine Mountain donated the blackberries. Barnes said the land was hard clay, "like concrete," but Columbus Water Works tilled it for free and a former Georgia Power worker, Jody Foster, trimmed tree limbs hanging over the area. The Columbus Community Foundation awarded Dew Point Farm an On The Table Action Grant for $2,000 that allowed for a number of improvements -- including the fence with the gorgeous mural.

Original Image of land

"People in the community are excited about this, and we hope this will spur more activity," Collins said. "We would like to see orchards like this around the city." She long has had an interest in feeding the needy.

"My Mom grew up in the wake of the Great Depression, and she once told me that she knew she'd be rich if she could ever walk into a grocery store and buy whatever she wanted. That made a huge impression on me. It became my standard of wealth, too, and made me want to fight hunger any way I can," Collins said.

The Anthony Street Orchard features two pear trees, a persimmon tree, a fig tree, eight blackberry bushes, and wide planters filled with perennial herbs.

It is something from which the entire Bibb City community is benefiting. "There are just three rules," Brad Barnes said. Those rules: only take the fruit you need; do not sell anything you take; leave something for the next person.

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