What’s Growing On: Edible Fruit Groves

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - “Combating the high prices of produce right here in Gainesville has a solution that you might not even know about.”

What began as an idea, planted during a community workshop in 2019 suggesting that the city of Gainesville plant fruit-bearing trees in municipal parks, blossomed into a 2022 Florida Municipal Achievement Award from the florida league of cities.

The main goals of the initiative are to enhance knowledge about food-bearing plants and trees that are well adapted to the city’s local environment, encourage visits to city parks and community spaces, and improve the availability of fresh produce in areas of the city that have limited access to healthy food.

Gainesville resident, Mary Washington tells us the area is full of berry trees, pear trees and also pecan trees!

To date, about 175 fruit and nut trees, including plum, pear, nectarine, fig, and chestnut, among many others, have already been planted.

Trees can be found in Fred Cone Park at 2801 E. University Ave, and Smokey Bear park along the 4200 block of SW 40th Boulevard. They are offering up ripened bounties including pears, peaches and soon persimmons.

Mary Washington is excited for the pecan trees to begin budding so she can make her famous pecan pie. “It is awesome I can’t wait until the pecans get there, you know, pecan pie.”

The program is expected to expand and future locations for more edible groves are currently being considered.

The initiative is financially supported by the city’s tree mitigation fund and the wild spaces & public places sales tax. City arborists hope the public heads out to the groves to take advantage of not only harvesting the ready-to-pick fruits, but tea leaves as well.

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