NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles residents soon will have a new way to get fresh produce for free.
Niles’ first Free Food Forest is still a work in progress, but soon the land at 1625 Hiram St. will be churning out fresh fruits for neighbors to stop by and pick for themselves. It is not a new concept since the city of Youngstown also has one, but it is brand new for Niles residents.
The goal of the forest is to offer people fresh, free produce literally grown right beside their houses.
“Healthy, fresh, organically grown food. That is the main concern. That is what we want, to make sure that everybody has access to free organic food so we can try to make our people a little healthier around here,” Phil Boran of Youngstown State University said.
“We don’t always know where that food is coming from, or how nutritious that food is for us. But it is convenient. So I hope that this will be something that makes fresh and healthy organic food convenient for people,” Salam Farhan of YSU said.
The whole idea for the fruit forest came from the man who owns this apartment complex. He is allowing the land behind the complex to be used for the forest.
“We are all beginners in this project. And we really want to encourage everybody, no matter what level of understanding they have with gardening or the outdoors, to come out and check things out with us and grow, literally,” Farhan said.
For those interested in getting involved, there is a community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Food Forest site. They then hope to have a work day on Saturday. It also has a Facebook page where people can get more information.