On your next visit to the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, you may notice an exciting new addition. Beginning in late February, TLC will start construction of an agriculture pavilion to serve as a central space for farming activities and educational events. Unique to other public TLC nature preserves, Williamson offers opportunities for recreation and sustainable regenerative farming. In addition to 16 miles of multiuse trails, the 447-acre preserve hosts several new and beginning farmers that participate in sustainable agriculture practices such as regenerative cattle grazing, native plant propagation, and small-scale produce production.
The agriculture pavilion will serve several purposes. The first and most important is to provide a space for farmers at the Williamson preserve to process, pack, and store their products on site. The pavilion will have a wash/pack station and cold storage area and eventually will be a point-of-sale location for local farmers in the community. It will also serve as an educational and event space for these farmers, TLC, and the community surrounding Williamson, hosting farming workshops, special meetings, classes and events
“We are excited about the new Ag Pavilion because it will facilitate a fresher and cleaner product with the use of the wash/pack station and a walk-in cooler. The space will also be useful as a platform for selling produce to the patrons of the Williamson Preserve, as well as a site for hosting events. We look forward to this project being completed and hope to have access this summer!” says Williamson’s newest farm team, Farmers Danny & John of Shady Grove Produce.
The agriculture pavilion at the Williamson Preserve will be a 40’x60’ open-air timber-framed structure located just off the beginning of Walnut Hill Way trail. It is designed after several historic structures on the Williamson property, including the recently renovated white barn. Timber framed construction is a traditional style of post-and-beam construction that uses heavy timbers that are carefully fitted and joined using large wooden pegs. Some of the wood in the structure for this project comes from recently milled logs at another TLC property in northern Wake County. These trees were selectively harvested by a local horse logging team to create a healthier forest habitat and will be used as featured knee braces.
The pavilion will be constructed by Earth-Bound Building, a wonderful and talented worker-owned timber framing co-op out of Maryland. TLC first came to learn about Earth-Bound Building after they constructed a pavilion for Earthseed Land Collective in north Durham. TLC worked with Earthseed in 2016 to place a conservation easement on their property located in the headwater region of the Falls Lake Watershed.
Construction of the agriculture pavilion is expected to be done by late April. During this time, portions of Walnut Hill Way trail behind the Williamson White Barn will be closed to the public. We will post signage on trails to keep the public updated. If you have any questions, please direct them to Heather Szaro, Farm Coordinator.
TLC is thankful that this project is made possible through generous funding provided by the Jandy Ammons Foundation and an additional anonymous donor. We look forward to sharing future updates and news around this project in the coming months!