An idea to breathe new life into an old arboretum that had fallen into decay, but could now help feed the hungry, could be very close to fruition on the campus of Southern Wayne High School.
Scarlett Joyner’s horticulture II class needed around $5,000 and support through manual labor to clear large tree stumps, dead trees, vines and fallen limbs from the site before they could begin to . With the overgrowth and stumps removed and donations in hand, the class looks for the edible garden to be up and blooming in the spring of 2020.
The garden will soon host grape vines, which will be the first fruit planted in the old arboretum. Joyner says if they continue to receive donations, they will have enough to plant in the spring. According to Joyner’s research, 23,460 people in Wayne County are food insecure and they hope they can put a dent in that number with this edible botanical garden and that others will follow suit by creating more edible gardens throughout the county.
Turfworx and OnSite Supply have assisted Joyner’s class by removing tree stumps and bringing in a wood chipper so that the class can make its own mulch from the shrubs it removes from the garden.
The Southern Wayne JROTC has logged over 8 hours of work at the site, volunteering with cutting, cleaning, and lending gas-powered equipment to help get the arboretum where it is today. Joyner’s class has also received a $1,000 Bright Ideas grant through the Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation.
“I am so thankful for all the help that we have received and I just want everyone to know that it is appreciated and we just hope this makes a difference in our community,” said Joyner.