29 fruit trees destroyed in city

YOUNGSTOWN — About half of the fruit trees at the Food Forest, which provides free freshly grown fruit to the needy, were cut down overnight.

“It came as a shock,” said R. Mason Carratt, who founded the Food Forest on the corner of Hillman Street and Auburndale Avenue as well as the Youngstown Inner City Garden at 3406 Hillman St. on the city’s South Side.

Carratt said early today he found 29 of about 50 fruit trees — pears, apples, cherries, plums and peaches — cut with what appears to be pruning shears.

Volunteers, including those with experience in growing fruit trees, are working to save as many of them as possible.

“I’ve been through a lot worse,” Carratt said. “It will come together. It won’t discourage me in the least.”

Carratt wants to raise money to fence in the fruit trees and set up wireless video cameras.

In early 2013, Carratt started the garden at 3406 Hillman St., an overgrown, garbage-filled vacant property that abuts his backyard. After cleaning the property, Carratt planted watermelons, cucumbers, squashes, lettuce, collard greens, tomatoes, beans, peppers, sweet corn and lettuce.

It was such a success that Carratt expanded across the street a few months later to create the Food Forest with fruit trees.

For the complete story, read Tuesday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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