Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful has provided funds for and assisted with the installation of fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines at Cedar Shoals High School, Clarke Central High School, Hilsman Middle School, Coile Middle School, Clarke Middle School, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, Cleveland Road Elementary, Whit Davis Elementary, and community gardens throughout Athens. This project is funded through a series of three Edible Neighborwood grants totaling $9,000 funded by UPS, Keep America Beautiful, and The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.
The grants have been matched with local donations of expertise, materials, and volunteer hours from a number of community partners including the Community Tree Council, the Clarke County School District, the Athens-Clarke County Cooperative Extension, Caterpillar, the local UPS Customer Service Center, the UGA College of Environment and Design, Hungry Gnome Gardenscapes, New Urban Forestry, and the Athens Land Trust.
The orchard plantings will provide the community with outdoor learning spaces to teach the environmental, economic, and aesthetic significance of green spaces while providing students and the community with fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and nuts. The orchards will complement existing agricultural programs at each site. These edible trees will provide aesthetics, shade, tree cover, botanical information, and fruits and nuts. All orchards are on publicly accessible property, increasing the reach of this project into the community. Trees included in the plans include Figs, Persimmon, Pomegranate, Paw Paw, Pear, Apple, Plum, and Pecan. The projects also include muscadine vines and blueberry bushes.