NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The vision to tackle hunger in Newport News starts at the root.
With the help of volunteers, the Newport News Green Foundation has planted roughly 40 trees in a field on Chestnut Avenue.
It will be called the Meyer and Dorene Food Forest at Chestnut with the mission of addressing food insecurity in Newport News.
“In this area, there’s nothing really within walking distance that has fresh produce," Tami Farinholt, the Newport News Green Foundation executive director, said. "And so, the closest places they would have to take buses to.”
The food forest is the first of its kind on the Peninsula. Apples, plums and pears are some of the fruits already growing that will be free to the community.
“It’s an opportunity to really take a look at how you can use unique spaces, like our green spaces, in ways to solve issues that affect our whole community,” Farinholt said.
Farinholt said it’s a dual space that will also provide educational opportunities for students, specifically those at Discovery STEM Academy right across the street.
“To bring the kids out here and partner with their [standards of learning] so that they can learn things," Farinholt said. "But also, we’re going to grow some unique things like persimmons that maybe some people aren’t familiar with.”
The foundation is also working with the Community Design Assistance Center at Virginia Tech to grow plants throughout the rest of the property. The food forest is expected to take a few years to take shape. Though, Farinholt said community members will be able to pick fresh fruit by next summer.