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Sothel Farm Helps Strengthen a Community

Photo courtesy of Sothel Farm
Photo courtesy of Sothel Farm

It is a fact — because of TLP, I eat some of the best Southern food out there. But the following really isn’t about my 9-5 life (ok, my 10-7 life or my 2-11 life or …). It’s about my private life, my “at home” life – essentially my “non fancy food” life.

One of the joys of that life is my neighborhood, just over the river from downtown, where I can still see the fireworks from The Joe on a Friday night, my favorite King Street locations are a short drive away, but where the sound of wind chimes by my front door is one of my favorite things.

Another one of my favorite things is the greenway that runs through the neighborhood, and I am there a lot (Exercising is important!). So I would like to say that I have been a fan of Sothel Farm before it was the “in neighborhood” thing to do.

The “farmers” say that the community aspect started with the sunflowers. The farm, essentially a big garden, was always for the community, but until the flowers, not many people stopped in. And then they did, and then their dogs did, and then their dogs got treats. And people got tomatoes and corn and Japanese eggplant and banana peppers. Their dogs remembered the treats, and people remembered the smiles and the veggies. And they came back.

And so did I. It was the sunflowers that I wanted on a late-week evening; well, that, and a tomato or two. I tentatively met the guys at different times: Mark Weatherford (papa bear), Will Boles, Kevin Rogers, and Eric Main. In true “Field of Dreams” fashion, they built this collaboration, and now they’ve created a community hub. The City of Charleston got involved, not sure all this was legal, but now Sothel has a reprieve until November so they can enjoy the rest of the growing season.

Their drip irrigation made it bigger. Bubbles and birdhouses were added. And then the shed got painted and made it brighter. Friends. Food. Free and Fun.

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