Imagine walking through our community garden, admiring the gorgeous native plants and breathing in the extraordinary aromas of the herbs and flowers. A soothing sound in the background emanates from a gentle water feature.
The stroll is a way to spend a few moments before moving over to the nearby amphitheater for the latest performance or the next yoga class. Or before checking on the fruits and vegetables you’ve been growing in one of the many raised garden beds in the community garden.
This outdoor experience is just one aspect of the Oasis Fresh Foods Market project in Indian Head. This initiative has always been about much more than just bringing a grocery store to the town for the first time in more than two decades.
The community garden was the icing on the cake that helped cement the Town of Indian Head’s support for the grocery store project. It will be an added feature unlike any around that will benefit the residents, spur economic activity and enhance residents’ well-being.
Simply put, it benefits everyone.
The Outdoor Living Company, co-owned by Jame Toribio and Kevin Butler, is the team behind the extraordinary outdoor space that will be developed here.
“I introduced myself to Jame and Kevin initially because we were interested in hiring The Outdoor Living Company for an unrelated project,” said Marilyn Steele, co-owner of Oasis along with her husband, Mark. “The more we talked, the more we began to see the possibilities of bringing them on board at Oasis.”
Toribio and Butler launched The Outdoor Living Company as a side project in 2020. Both had spent many years in the landscaping industry and, along the way, developed shared philosophies toward what makes great outdoor design. Both are passionate about biophilic design, which is an approach to creating buildings and spaces that incorporate nature and natural elements to improve people’s well-being and connection to the environment.
The company quickly became their full-time venture because one of the side effects of the pandemic was that people gained a greater appreciation for their homes and their living spaces, indoor and outdoor.
“People were spending more time at home and they were focused on outdoor living, on their yards and patios,” Toribio said. “Our big push was staycation at that time. Nobody could go on vacation, and we wanted to help people feel like they’re on vacation at home.”
As plans for Oasis Fresh Foods Market began to take shape, with the idea of a community garden as a central aspect, Toribio knew it was a perfect fit.
His mind began spinning with ideas. Marilyn and Mark were equally excited to bring The Outdoor Living Company on board for the project.
“I live in Indian Head,” co-owner Jame Toribio said. “There’s no way I want to see the Oasis project come together and us not be involved. Somehow we’ve got to get involved.”
So far, plans include:
- An outdoor garden labyrinth made with mostly native plants and a mix of herbs and flowers for the aroma
- Fruit trees lining the perimeter of the area, including apple, pear, peach and plum trees
- 22 raised garden beds where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables
- A water feature for soothing sounds and ambiance
- An amphitheater for performances, yoga classes and other gatherings
- Garden sculptures and art installations
The possibilities are endless, and we are excited to see them start to take shape. The process has already begun with the razing of two blighted buildings behind the grocery store space and the clearing of the land to prepare for the community garden and the vision that Toribio and his team are ready to fulfill.
“I want it to be something really grand,” Toribio said.