Known to many as Big Doc around the county, Tom Williamson cracked a big smile as he closed a pair of extra large scissors Wednesday afternoon.
The doors to the North Alabama Agriplex building were officially open.
"This is the most humbling day of my life," said Williamson, who serves on the North Alabama Agriplex board. "As I look around the room and see all the people who put hours and hours of time in to make this place happen, it's special."
Roughly 70 people, including state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, were in attendance for a ribbon cutting celebration at the building located next door to Peinhardt Farms across from the Cullman Bowling Center.
"I just want to thank everyone that's worked so hard for so long to make this a reality," McMillan said. "This is a perfect example of what I think of as agritourism in one sense. We need to try to reconnect with people on why they're able to have economical prices on food and other sources that they depend on from our natural resources."
Cullman Mayor Max Townson said he feels it could one day be a destination place for people to stop and visit.
"I want to see people stop here like they do at Peach Park (in Clanton)," he said. "If there's anything we can do with an asset, I assure you, we want to do it. We have that asset, and when you have an asset you want to promote it and protect it and everybody benefits from it, so let’s benefit from this facility."
The Agriplex has already been home to several workshops this year for children and adults, including raised bed gardening and composting, as well as organic gardening, small scale farming and raising backyard poultry. Over the next several months, the Agriplex has several programs scheduled for children as part of the Farm Kids Club, with the most recent one happening on June 2, entitled Mules to Tractors. According to Rachel Dawsey, an employee at the Agriplex, none of it would be possible without the support of the community.
“We’re very glad to have the facility up and running,” Dawsey said. “It’s nice to have the communities support in our mission to teach agriculture.”
Each program, as part of the Farm Kids Club, begins at 9 a.m. For a complete list of programs throughout the rest of the year, or to register for any of them, call 256- 297-1044 or email email@example.com
* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.