Photos courtesy of Edible Neighborhood.

Chosewood Park, an Atlanta Beltline neighborhood, has an open secret: Dozens of fruit trees by the sidewalks for all the neighbors. And now the Edible Neighborhood program in Chosewood Park is partnering with a 501c3 nonprofit, Bare Hands Bear Fruit Inc., to take the neighborhood’s unique amenity to the next level.

Chosewood Park already has fruit trees, berry bushes and grapevines along the sidewalks. The new program adds culinary herbs and a gardener to help neighbors care for their plantings. Plus more plantings of fruit trees.

The Edible Neighborhood program was started four years ago by Clay Preston. Preston’s investment group has renovated over 30 homes in Chosewood Park since 2008. In 2014, he started planting fruit trees in the front yards of their rentals.

“This is a very cool neighborhood. They are very nice people who were working hard together to pull Chosewood out of the recession,“ Preston said. “These trees will give the neighbors a connection for years to come.”

Frank Bailey, director of Bare Hands Bear Fruit Inc., happens to be a Chosewood resident. When Preston introduced him to the Edible Neighborhood theme, Bailey saw an opportunity for his nonprofit to help.

“We are so excited to add this new dimension to Edible Neighborhood,” Bailey said. “With our own gardener, we’ll have a resource to help all the interested neighbors participate and a greater variety of edible landscaping.”

Preston initially planted apples, plums, persimmons, pears, figs and cherries. They are now growing along sidewalks of throughout neighborhood, which lies along the southeast quadrant of the Beltline, just south of Grant Park. The fruit is there for any neighbor to collect when ripe.

Bailey said, ” When Clay told me about this program, I could hardly believe it. We go to Guatemala to do this every year and I am so excited to help it happen in my own neighborhood.”

Over the last couple of years Preston and his investment group, SE Atlanta LLC, have added grape vines, berries and culinary herbs to the mix. “It has been fun to have the small children join us as we tend the plantings,” said Preston. “With this new expansion of the program, well, Chosewood Park is going to be cooking.”

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.