Keep Jackson Beautiful Builds Community Orchard at Local Church
Keep Jackson Beautiful received 20 donated fruit trees from the Mississippi Urban Forest Council and the Mississippi Forestry Commission and used $3,500 grant from Entergy to build a community orchard at Rosemont M. B. Church in southwest Jackson. The orchard will be enlarged in the fall to include more of the five acres available at the church, thanks to an additional $5,000 Keep America Beautiful/UPS Community Tree Planting Grant.
The orchard is being grown with permaculture techniques that support it in natural ways. Fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and herbs are planted on berms next to a swale. The swales collect water from the rain and hold it so that the roots of the trees will reach the water from their raised position on the berms. The surface of the ground will be covered with clover, herbs and perennial pollinator plants.
On the first work day in early April, Entergy employee volunteers brought along their tools ready to plant trees. The Purple Diamonds Dance Team also volunteered, as well as many additional community members. The volunteers hauled soil, planted trees, blueberry bushes, herbs, and clover seeds. The youngest volunteers painted clay pots and small stones to add color to the orchard. Pastor Jimmie Edwards of Rosemont M.B. Church worked as hard as anyone with his tractor and the orchard was well underway.
On a second work day in May, volunteers added wood chips and pollinator perennial plants. The church also has a raised vegetable garden area next to the orchard. Both areas will provide a healthy, organic food source for the surrounding community for years to come.