PEOPLE | CULTURE | HAPPENINGS
City dwellers can nurture and grow food
by LLOYD SINGLETON
WHEN I moved from central Florida to take
the job as director for the N.C. Cooperative
Extension center at the New Hanover
County Arboretum, I left my “Agriloft”
residence, a repurposed barn that I had
converted into a living space with mostly recycled and thrift store
The 800-square-foot industrial strength hideaway was nestled
lakeside in a 20-acre citrus grove where I also tended honeybees,
goats, chickens, a cat, and myriad vegetables. My shower was out-doors,
and my study was a tree swing in a century-old live oak tree.
The hens would jump on the back of the swing to join me for a truly
happy hour after work. Idyllic, in short.
Searching for a Wilmington residence was easy. I prefer repurposed
things over newly disturbed settings, so the former Block Shirt factory
converted to apartments at the South Front District in downtown
Wilmington was an instant good fit. The exposed brick walls, beamed
ceilings, and polished concrete floor became my new “Urbanloft,” amid
a vibrant community of cool people, culinary establishments, nightlife,
art venues and the nearby nature of Greenfield Lake.
Appropriately, my shower is now indoors, and my tended animal is a
mini long-haired dachshund named Dexter.
I cannot bear to add biodegradable material to landfill trash, so
I have a compost tumbler on my city-dwelling porch. Following a
vegan diet for good health, I can contribute all my food waste to this
nutrient-rich barrel. It seems logical that what comes from the earth
in the way of food should also return to the earth as nutrient-rich soil
improvement. (I suspect that soon our society will see the error of our
ubiquitous landfilling practice as our agricultural lands are degraded.)
A contemporary concrete block wall screens the vessel from most
views, but a like-minded neighbor also contributes veggie scraps to
the brew of black gold food’s food.
WBM may 2020
PHOTOS BY ALLISON POTTER