Replacement trees at an inner-city fruit grove will be planted Saturday

By David Skolnick


Twenty-nine fruit trees donated to replace the ones purposely destroyed at an inner-city fruit grove will be planted Saturday.

But R. Mason Carratt, founder of the Food Forest on the city’s South Side, said he is concerned that whoever destroyed the trees, with what appears to be pruning shears, may return.

“I’m nervous about putting in all these trees without [wireless security] cameras,” Carratt said.

Mayor John A. McNally had said the city would donate video cameras to Carratt. Also needed is fencing.

Councilman Paul Drennen, D-5th, whose ward doesn’t include the garden area, said Wednesday he’s giving $700 from his council discretionary fund for “fencing and security cameras to start and will give more later if needed” to the Food Forest.

Petitti Garden Center in Boardman donated 29 fruit trees and delivered them Wednesday.

Also, American Legion Post 472 in Youngstown and the Wick Park Neighborhood Association will be among the volunteers who will plant the trees starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Treez Please will drill holes for installation of fence posts.

“We’ve had great response from the community,” Carratt said. “We’re doing what we can. The neighborhood isn’t happy this person did this. It didn’t just affect me. It affected children who take care of the trees and the neighborhood that depends on the trees for food.”

Early Monday, Carratt found 29 of the 50 fruit trees — pears, apples, cherries, plums and peaches — in the Food Forest destroyed.

Carratt started the Youngstown Inner City Garden at 3406 Hillman St. in early 2013, followed by the Food Forest across the street on the corner of Hillman Street and Auburndale Avenue.

The fresh produce grown at both locations is given to the needy at no cost.

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