Food Forest at West Ashley’s Mulberry Park celebrated at ribbon-cutting ceremony

WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCBD) – A unique community resource in the Ardmore neighborhood of West Ashley is giving neighbors the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce, grown right in their backyard.

“Fruit, vegetables, nut species. You name it, we’re going to put it in the Food Forest,” said Katie Bell, the Director of Programs for the Charleston Parks Conservancy.

The nonprofit has been teaming up with several community partners since 2023 to bring the Food Forest at Mulberry Park to life. The space is both free and open to the public, which organizers said makes it one-of-a-kind.

“It’s the first public access food forest in the state. So, we’re really proud of that, that this is a free public access space,” Bell told News 2.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday to celebrate the fruits of their labor.

“It’s surreal that its open and seeing it in real life and talking to neighbors, folks that are really excited. They wandered through and picking fruit, finding fruits that they never heard of before,” said Owen Vogel, the President of the Ardmore-Sherwood Forest Neighborhood Association.

While neighbors have been enjoying the food from the forest since April, organizers said the ceremony officially launched the educational portion of the project.

“So, a lot of our educational programing will be supporting the community in when to harvest, how to harvest, how to leave for others, and so that we’re really acting as a community and they are becoming the stewards of their own park,” Bell shared.

The park also features a rain garden, pollinator habitat, and mushroom logs, among other amenities.

The nonprofit said they received funding from the South Carolina Forestry Commission, Bank of America, and Trident United Way for the food forest. The City of Charleston and Clemson University Architecture students were also partners in the project.