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GROW Enrichment creates Nashville's first public food forest

GROW Enrichment creates Nashville's first public food forest
Posted at 9:34 PM, Oct 19, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nestled in Two Rivers Park, there’s more than fruit growing on its trees.

“So there’s 14 chestnut trees in this main two rows of silvopasture and they were not supposed to produce fruit until their seventh year, and one of them produced three years early,” said Founder and Executive Director of GROW Enrichment, Ginger-Rose Krueck. “I just was so shocked, so shocked to see chestnuts, like those are not supposed to be there.”

In 2018 the nonprofit planted rows of plum, chestnut, and persimmon trees. To their surprise, the fruits of their labor came early.

“At maturity each of these trees is supposed to produce 2,000 pounds of chestnuts a year," said Krueck. "So we’ll be looking at 14,000 pounds of chestnuts coming out of this orchard in about 20 years from now.”

The orchards sit on eight acres of the non-profit’s free public food forest.

“A food forest is any area where you intentionally set out to create, you know, you plant trees and shrubs that bear fruit or food sources with intention of creating abundant food supply for humans and wildlife,” said Krueck.

The forest's location is strategic.

“It was in my list that it needed to be walking distance within at least one high poverty school, and it also needed to be on the city bus route.”

Krueck calls it equitable use of public land. “Food security is a big deal to me personally. I grew up in poverty myself where whole foods like this were not available in my household.”

But to continue growing, the organization needs help. Last year it made it by with just $5,000.

“It would be amazing if we could get some quality long term donors to stand beside us and honestly I think it would be fabulous if the city would be willing to allocate a little bit of funding for this project,” said Krueck. It's a project that not only produces food, but even hope for those who need it.

The first crop of plums and chestnuts could be ready for free picking as soon as next year.

Krueck encourages others to consider GROW Enrichment as a benefactor of AmazonSmile accounts as the upcoming giving season approaches. To learn more, click here.