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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Perspectives (November 2016)

One more cool thing in our area: fruit trees and berry bushes on the NC State greenway.

Sara Merz, Director

Sara Merz, Director

This month, the first of these were planted with funds obtained by AHA. The project itself was co-led by NC State Grounds and Maintenance and a fantastic horticulture professor and her class.

AHA first approached NC State to ask if they could consider a pilot after many conversations with other community leaders. We were looking for someone willing to try this, as a way to learn and demonstrate success so others could do it too.

With NC State’s enthusiasm, AHA applied for the City of Raleigh’s Urban Agriculture award, which comes with $1500 seed money (all from private donations). When we received this, AHA asked the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation for similar funds – and they agreed!

The first of the fruit trees and berry bushes were just planted –paw paw, fig, pomegranate trees; and blueberry bushes, elderberries and strawberries.  The professor paid for the strawberries!  Muscadine grapes along the fence will follow. Most trees will fruit by three years from now, or possibly two. Berries will bear fruit almost right away.

This is a big deal. Other North Carolina communities have done edible planting projects, including High Point, Greenville, and Asheville, which has an “edible mile.”

Huge kudos to NC State for leading and implementing. This would not have happened without their enthusiasm, expertise, and willingness to spend time and work to make it happen. We’re looking forward to what we learn, and to opening the door for others in Wake County to do the same.

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