Online campaign launches to help Gulfport Food Forest grow

The Food Forest has started a crowdfunding page to help water, maintain and expand its initiative.

To grow its mission of sustaining a food source on public lands while providing education about healthy living, the Gulfport Food Forest has started a campaign.

Since the project's beginnings in 2014, when volunteers planted multiple species of 22 fruit trees in Clymer Park, the Food Forest has brought 50 trees and fruiting shrubs, pollinating vines and flowers to the park, as well as at least one fruit tree to most of Gulfport's parks.

Volunteers water the trees via buckets when there's minimal rainfall, "an arduous and time-consuming task," according to a news release. The rooftop of an apartment complex that the Food Forest partners with, a spigot in the first of three park blocks, and nearby homes act as water sources.

With a goal of $8,000, donations made to the local crowdfunding page will help the project purchase a recycled John Deere Gator utility vehicle, which organizers plan to use to transport water, mulch, soil and more to the tree beds. The online contributions will also allow the Food Forest to install drip line irrigation, wells and pumps.

So far, $93 has been raised. Organizing founder Crea Egans says the vehicle is a long-term solution for the watering, maintenance and expansion of the project.

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