The Newport News Green Foundation is establishing the peninsula’s first food forest. Thanks to a recent land donation from the Sarfan family, the Mayer and Dorene Sarfan Food Forest will sit on 5 acres of vacant land on Chestnut Ave in southeast Newport News.
Conceptionally, food forests model the structure of a young ecosystem by producing food in small green spaces and providing host environments for various beneficial organisms. However, as the spaces mature, they also become dynamic areas to promote community connection and pride by offering opportunities to interact and connect with neighbors. The Sarfan Food Forest will include a combination of fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and some perennial vegetables. The site plan will also include educational and experimental areas such as an outdoor classroom and “garden” areas that test out different growing methods.
The food forest is intended to be a public service, and all food would be free to the public.
In partnership with Christopher Newport University professors Andria Trimmer and Andrew Baird, the Foundation is currently collecting information on food access during COVID restrictions and how a food forest might help fill gaps in access. To participate in the survey, community members should visit https://wasoncentersurveys.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_emw0KyONm1Ro6TI. All participants who provide contact information will be entered in a raffle for grocery store gift cards.
A groundbreaking and tree planting is scheduled for April 20, 2021, at noon. The address of the property is 1901 Chestnut Ave in Newport News.