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Pit Bull of 10th Street

Rick Williams, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1977, has dubbed himself the “pit bull of 10th Street” because of his passionate pursuit of issues in that Roanoke, Va., neighborhood.

The Sunday, Feb. 19, edition of the Roanoke Times wrote about Rick’s latest efforts to alter the Roanoke landscape. He recently purchased a three-acre plot of land in the northwest part of the city — the site of a former nursery that was described as “a tangled mass of weeds and brambles, dilapidated buildings and mountains of trash.”

Rick intends to establish an urban farm with a farmer’s market on the land. As the Times piece observes, the project is beginning to take shape. This spring and summer, he plans to plant annual vegetables, tree and cane fruits, herbal and medicinal plants and a “forest garden.” He’ll also adopt permaculture principles and hopes to begin the farmers’ market with a weekly farm stand.

The vegetables and fruit are not the only things that will be taking root. He also expects the nature of the community to change. As he told the Times, “In a broader sense, the local farm becomes an element in the broader sociology of the place.”

A mathematics major at W&L, Rick went on to study mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. His day job is with TMEIC Corp. in Roanoke.