EpiCity and Natural Born Tillers Collaborate to Create Urban Farm Experience at Powers Ferry Business Park

Community Gardens have been popular for years and are usually associated with leisure.  However, a recent collaboration between EpiCity and Natural Born Tillers (NBT) has led to an abundant urban farm experience at several EpiCity properties.

EpiCity’s President Tom Stokes was introduced to Cory Mosser, founder and CEO of Natural Born Tillers, through a mutual friend, Dan Parson, the award-winning Oxford College farmer-educator. Just 700 feet from Oxford’s main campus is an unusual living laboratory – the Oxford College Organic Farm.  This eleven-acre tract was for a very long time the Fran and Marshal Elizer homestead.  Both long-time members of the Oxford college faculty and staff, the Elizer’s influence lives on through their land which they gave to the college in 2011. Having worked well for years in the college setting, it is now successful in office parks, where interest, along with fruits and vegetables, is growing!

Cory has been a farmer his entire adult life.  At one point he realized there was a whole new market out there for farming.  Corporate entities could really benefit from urban farming by including in their landscaping nutrition in addition to aesthetics.  Recently he began work as a farming consultant. Today he teaches various constituencies and demonstrates the value of farming beyond nutrition.

EpiCity friend and Sizemore Group architect and CEO Bill de St. Aubin is a huge proponent of creating engaging, sustainable urban spaces.  Urban agriculture is a relative new area of interest to him.  Bill’s recent focus is on a new initiative of the Urban Land Institute, the agrihood – communities developed around sustainability including locally grown, organic foods.  Of the EpiCity urban farming project, Bill says, “This is a great use of landscaping in the EpiCity communities promoting health and social interaction.  It brings people together and is a perfect amenity to offer. Tom’s crew continues to create exciting spaces and now a healthy atmosphere with these urban gardens.”

EpiCity was NBT’s first customer to establish edible landscaping in a business community. “These gardens create curated spaces and engage employees”, says Cory.  Adding, “it gives working folks in the office park access to nature in an urban setting, and a chance to disengage from work for a few minutes to enjoy their sense of smell, taste and touch – and even get their hands dirty”. Andrea Richard, Director of Operations and Education for Natural Born Tillers, is overseeing the gardens at Powers Ferry Business Park, tending to the gardens and training EpiCity’s landscaping crew.  She loves the work adding, “the gardens are aesthetically pleasing and fun.  When people pass by it looks like landscaping and then they get a little closer and there’s carrots, there’s radishes and herbs.  It’s fun watching their reactions.”

At Powers Ferry Business Park there are three raised beds where carrots, radishes, peppers, and tomatoes are growing to be harvested.  There is also space designated for perennials — blueberries, blackberries, Asian persimmons, figs, lavender, pineapple guava, and a Nanking Cherry tree (bush) that serves as part of the landscaping.  Tenants and visitors to the office park who want to spend time in the garden can help with planting, picking and just enjoying the fruits, vegetables and herbs. The tenants have been pleased.  Lindsay Corris of ADDO, a tenant in the business community offers, “this is so out of the ordinary and not many office parks have something like this, and it is well maintained and so accessible.”

Natural Born Tillers is expanding this model and now working with Delta airlines at its corporate campus and with other larger companies.  According to Cory, Tom and EpiCity served as the foundation for this program.  He remembers, “Tom first said to me ‘we have all this land – why don’t we grow some food?’ and so that’s what we did.”  Natural Born Tillers also works with herbs and pollinating plants as nectar sources. All Natural Born Tillers landscapes are maintained using organic methods, which provides pesticide free environments for beneficial insects like honeybees, butterflies, and lightning bugs.

At EpiCity’s Armour Junction, located at 400 Plasters Avenue, NE in Atlanta, there is a patio garden with service berries, as well as blueberries, mint, guava, figs, rosemary, and lavender.

“We are really enjoying this collaboration with Natural Born Tillers and the ability to offer our community members more amenities and a chance to get outside and to be a part of God’s beautiful creation” said Tom Stokes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top