Recycled project benefits Market

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2005

MURFREESBORO – In an effort to expand the ever-growing Roanoke-Chowan Farmers Market on US-158, Murfreesboro native Lynn Johnson and the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) have devised an ingenious idea that they have turned into action.

The project, entitled &uot;Twice-Used Wood&uot; is one that will use recycled wood from buildings such as tobacco barns, warehouses and old houses – all through gifts to the Roanoke-Chowan Farmer’s Market.

The vintage material will be used on various Farmer’s Market buildings and will be a pilot project to provide jobs to local unemployed persons.

The pilot project will place these people in a class at Roanoke-Chowan Community College (RCCC) for instruction that will lead to work experience and employment in a job using their newly learned skills.

The group of workers will spend two, half days at the community college and will then move to the job site where they will take part in deconstructing the buildings for wood, inventorying the lumber, then reconstructing buildings on the Farmer’s Market site.

&uot;The project is friendly to the environment as it recycles old wood by giving it new life,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;But the project will also give dislocated workers a job as well as life skills to acquire other jobs.&uot;

&uot;Twice-Used Wood&uot; will create new buildings without the tearing down of more trees.

As Johnson notes, &uot;One just doesn’t see the importance of clean air until it no longer exists.&uot;

The process of refining this wood consists of tearing it off the existing buildings, removing nails, planing the sides and transporting it to RCCC for further work.

&uot;Our work days with this particular project consist of deconstructing the dwellings, removing the nails and organizing the wood for an inventory of everything we can salvage for reconstruction,&uot; Anne Koenig, the project crew chief said. &uot;We hope to use much of it for the interior and exterior of the proposed Farmer’s Market building.&uot;

The group will then move to the market where they will construct brand new buildings out of the wood they just tore down and refined.

A corncrib has already been re-done at the Farmer’s Market with the new wood. The group replaced old siding and repaired the parts that needed it.

There are plans intact for a western style barn that will be around 40 x 100 ft and will be able to house the usual vendors that now sell outside.

Johnson notes this will be advantageous in the case of inclement weather and for the overall look and appeal of the market.

The group has a target date of October for completion of the barn.

CADA is the champion organization for the funding of the project, doing so through a fiduciary grant and forming a partnership between themselves, the Farmer’s Market and the community college.

CADA knows the project is a long one and they need people like Johnson and other partners to bring about their goal.

&uot;Lynn has a lot of energy and has been great about starting this project and putting it into action,&uot; CADA Executive Director Sally Surface said. &uot;But it’s all about partnerships and no one person can bring about this significant of a change without the help of others.&uot;

Surface said CADA’s goal through the project includes assisting with acquiring the wood for the facility, giving additional employment opportunities to those living in the Roanoke-Chowan area and to be able to provide access to training for dislocated workers.

The group of partners hope industries will be started both through the skills learned by the workers and the rising popularity of the goods sold at the market.

&uot;The market can really serve as an incubator for small businesses to form,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Two businesses have already formed through it and have actual websites – a woodworking business and one that makes soap.&uot;

The market is a much-needed supplement of income to farmers and others as they are able to sell their produce and homemade items.

Johnson hopes the project will also help teach children the value of nutrition as well as preserve the area’s history.

&uot;We are trying to find ways to target children and promote the need for fresh produce in their diets,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;A Homestead of historic buildings are being moved on site to replicate the feel of a working farm and give people a sense of how things were.&uot;

Johnson will be attending the Southern Growth Policies convention in Clear Point, Alabama later in the month where the southern growth report for 2005 will be revealed and several innovative projects, such as &uot;Twice-Used Wood&uot; will be recognized.

&uot;If a report could be put together and someone wants me to take one in support of the Roanoke-Chowan region I would be happy to do so,&uot; Johnson said.

She believes the trip will further her networking capabilities for the Northeast North Carolina region before she puts her name on the ticket for the upcoming elections.

With the crews now at work tearing down old buildings, it will only be a matter of time before this old, long unused wood is transported to the Farmer’s Market and transformed into buildings that will add to the ambience and efficiency of the market.

The people involved with the project are looking forward to the construction ahead and the results they will eventually produce.

&uot;We are all excited & enthusiastic about having a beautiful ‘new/old’ building with recycled wood inside & out from this & other projects,&uot; Koenig said.

If you would like to donate wood to the project and get tax credit for it contact Lynn Johnson at (252) 398-4142