Whole Foods Market opens its first onsite garden in Henrico County

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A garden has sprouted in one of Henrico County’s largest new urban spaces. In keeping with its emphasis on healthy food, Whole Foods Market opened its first field-to-store community garden Tuesday near its Short Pump store in West Broad Village. The Austin-based grocery store chain plans to sell fresh and seasonal produce from the garden in the store and to incorporate garden items into prepared dishes and salad bar options.

“More and more, customers are becoming vocal about wanting to know the origin of their produce,” said Joey Herndon, the store’s team leader at Short Pump. “At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking to partner with local farmers, but the Village Garden is something very new for us.” 

Land for the one-acre garden was donated by Markel-Eagle Partners LLC. The local management entity operates West Broad Village and is a large investor in the $300 million, mixed-use urban project that includes single-family attached homes alongside retail stores and restaurants. 

Pending a final permit, Whole Foods hopes to expand the garden to as many as six acres, making it the largest Whole Foods Market-affiliated garden in the country.  It also would enable the company to provide the community with the option of buying locally grown fruits and vegetables at its Short Pump location.

Backyard Farmer, a local Richmond organization, as well as Whole Foods Market employees, will maintain the garden. It will include seven production beds, a fruit orchard, grape vines, berry bushes and an assortment of year-round produce. “The Village Garden is just another element of the vision behind West Broad Village,” said Stan Manoogian, president of Markel-Eagle Partners. “We wanted to create an inclusive community, and produce grown within the development definitely helps achieve that goal.” A public open house of the garden will be held this Saturday.


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