Mulberry Park Food Forest – 2024

Visit This Park:

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is launching its inaugural Food Forest Program in the Ardmore area of West Ashley at Mulberry Park. Food desert neighborhoods are often characterized as low income with high rates of food insecurity, and this grassroots effort seeks to provide fresh fruits, nuts and berries via a fruitful orchard free of charge for the local community. The planning phase of this initiative began in April of 2023 with a community input session that helped gain buy-in for the project and the understanding that the Food Forest will be both community-led and driven.

Upon receiving the neighborhoods’ feedback, the Conservancy has facilitated the project by providing the trees, supplies, and training necessary to produce an abundant orchard that will endure as a sustainable community resource. This Food Forest will provide an invaluable tool to build community, foster relationships and teach residents about urban agriculture, encouraging participation and knowledge sharing in exchange for food. This Food Forest is the first of its kind in South Carolina, and is initially funded by the SC Forestry Commission. 

Objectives of the Mulberry Park Food Forest

  • Provide improved food access and affordability, particularly for urban-dwelling youth and adults struggling with food insecurity and limited access to green spaces or fresh, affordable produce. This model is a natural extension of our community gardening program which we started in 2014.
  • Educate the community, through interpretive signage, programming and volunteer training, about the health benefits derived from a Food Forest, including information about nutrition and healthy food choices and the benefits of spending time in nature, for both improved physical and mental health.
  • Promote food sovereignty by giving people the land, resources and knowledge to grow their own food.
  • Improve the urban environment by restoring and promoting healthy ecosystems. A Food Forest will negate urban heat, offset carbon emissions, mitigate stormwater runoff, and increase biodiversity, particularly by attracting pollinators. 
  • Positively impact the City of Charleston’s composting system by contributing discarded/past date produce which leads to soil enriched inputs.
  • Re-introduce heirloom and native species to the landscape, helping Charleston transition to climate appropriate plants and trees.

Partners

  • City of Charleston Parks Department
  • Ardmore Neighborhood Association
  • Amanda Barton, Landscape Architect/Volunteer
  • City and County Sustainability Departments
  • SC Forestry Commission
  • Clemson Research/Master Gardeners
  • Slow Food Charleston
  • SC Food Policy Council
  • Keep Charleston Beautiful
  • The Pink House Neighborhood Resource Center

How to Get Involved

Volunteer with us for the installation of this park coming up the first week of April 2024. You can find shifts and sign up here.

Donate and join us as we grow a greener, more sustainable future for Charleston together.

 

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