Last month, TreesCharlotte and several community partners took the first step toward developing an urban orchard in northwest Charlotte. On Oct. 15, TreesCharlotte partnered with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, the NC Cooperative Extension and the Rosa Park Farmers Market community advisory council to plant 25 fruit trees at a park site adjacent to the Church located off Beatties Ford Road. The orchard is part of the recently opened Friendship Sportsplex, an outdoor recreation center on church land and managed by Park and Recreation.
The fruit trees will be maintained by church volunteers, who will also distribute the fruit back to the local community. TreesCharlotte and the NC Cooperative Extension will provide training on the proper maintenance of the orchard, which includes apple, fig, peach, pear and persimmon trees. “We’re the caregivers at this point,” said Ed Holland, church administrator at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. “We’ve very thankful for what they’ve brought to us.” Reggie Singleton, Health Policy Coordinator with the Mecklenburg County Health Department, says fresh, locally grown food helps to combat chronic disease, which is a major initiative for the department.
“Through this partnership we’re not only adding to the tree canopy but also increasing access to fresh produce, which is a big part of reducing chronic health issues in our community,” Singleton said. TreesCharlotte’s mission includes planting and stewarding trees in underserved neighborhoods, creating inviting outdoor spaces in areas that typically lack trees. In 2013, TreesCharlotte partnered with Foundation For The Carolinas to plant fruit trees at Bette Rae Thomas Community Center on Tuckaseegee Road.
Click here for more information about TreesCharlotte’s mission.