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Mason Carratt needs fence, volunteers to help regrow Food Forest fruit trees

Published: Tue, July 22, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.


Dray Perkins, right, an urban farmer who lives on the North Side, and Jean Honsinger inspect the damage that was done at the Food Forest on the corner of Hillman Street and Auburndale Avenue on the South Side. Vandals cut down a bunch of young fruit trees. Perkins said he is taking clippings from the trees and will try to regrow them.




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 Vindy.com 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.

“I’m very distressed to see what can only be described as an act of stupidity ruin a lot of good work Mason is trying to do on Hillman,” McNally said.

Established last year, the garden and forest provide free freshly grown produce to the needy.

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.

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

Dray Perkins, an urban farmer who lives on the North Side, said he is taking clippings from the trees that were cut down and will try to regrow them.

“I’m pretty confident we’ll get good results,” he said. “We’ll know in a week or so whether they can be re-rooted. Seeing the damage gave me an uneasy feeling. But we can rebuild it with some sort of new growth.”

This is not a good time of the year to plant new fruit trees because of the weather, Carratt said. The best time is early spring and late fall, he said.


1dmacker(541 comments)posted 2 years ago

Unfortunately those who have no skin in the game will never respect programs like this to better their community.
I'm afraid that if you plant it they will come and destroy it regardless of fencing and cameras.
Look how affective the border fence has been in keeping out those who want in.
Good luck with this project.
I'm afraid you'll need it.

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2pgurney(296 comments)posted 2 years ago

I truly hope the City Council does not put a damper on this donation of video cameras.

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3billdog1(5942 comments)posted 2 years ago

Scum finds its way into everything. I hope those responsible are caught, sentenced to paying for the damage and to community service replanting the new trees. Aholes.

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4Roger_Thornhill(1068 comments)posted 2 years ago

Why would someone cut down someone else's trees?

There has to me to this story. Perhaps a dispute with someone.

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5JoeFromHubbard(1817 comments)posted 2 years ago

Those tree trimmers need to be handled like the Mill Creek Park geese.

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6DwightK(1537 comments)posted 2 years ago

There are too many people in the city who don't have constructive things to do. Even if you are having trouble finding work you can volunteer, help people out or find a useful project. You don't need to be a jerk.

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7ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 2 years ago

Example of how Youngstown looks to destroy instead of create.

And then one wonders why no one wants to live in Ytown.

A sincere "good luck" Mr. Carratt.

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8city_resident(528 comments)posted 2 years ago

I don't know where you live, lanacek, but I live in the city, and am fine with this expenditure of my tax dollars.

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9DACOUNTRYBOY(1265 comments)posted 2 years ago

Just remember George Washington and the chopping down of the cherry tree. The boy who took these trees down may be presidential material.

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10DontBanThisDrone(1046 comments)posted 2 years ago

Stuff like this is usually done by kids, particularly kids out of school for the summer.


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11JoeFromHubbard(1817 comments)posted 2 years ago

@ dacountryboy:

That's a scary thought but look at who is president now.

"I can not tell a lie."

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