Mayor offers help after Hillman fruit grove for needy vandalized


Despite the intentional destruction of more than half of the fruit trees growing in an urban area on the city’s South Side, its founder is determined to keep going with some security measures.

R. Mason Carratt, who founded the Food Forest on the corner of Hillman Street and Auburndale Avenue, said his discovery early Monday “came as a shock.”

Carratt, who also started the Youngstown Inner City Garden at 3406 Hillman St., is remaining positive despite the obvious disappointment in his voice.

“I’ve been through a lot worse,” he said. “It will come together. It won’t discourage me in the least. It won’t break us. It will make us more powerful.”

Carratt said he found 29 of about 50 fruit trees — pears, apples, cherries, plums and peaches — cut with what appears to be pruning shears. He made the discovery early Monday and believes it occurred overnight Sunday.

Carratt wants to raise money for a fence around the Food Forest and for wireless cameras.

After reading on about what happened, Mayor John A. McNally said the city will donate video cameras to Carratt and will help him raise the money needed for a fence.

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