NJMonthly June 13 Forgotten Fruit (2) (PDF)

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June 2013 • Vol. 9 • Issue 6
Covering North Jacksonville, from Heckscher Drive, west to Dinsmore,
and from the Trout River, north to the Nassau County line

William F. Sheffield
Regional Park opens June
1st... a long time coming
Historic Revolutionary
War battleground will
now be preserved
NJM Staff Report

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THOMAS CREEK –– The site of the
southernmost battle of the Revolutionary War
sits on the banks of Thomas Creek in North
Jacksonville, adjacent to the Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve.
The land had been part of a Development of
Regional Impact (DRI) approved about 6 years
ago as the site for more than 10,000 homes.
But in a deal engineered by City Councilman
Ray Holt, the land now has been purchased by
the non-profit Trust for Public Land (TPL) to be
preserved as a park.
Step one of the carefully orchestrated deal,
four years in the making, involved Trust
administrators paying $7.1 million for the land
in April, just before it went into foreclosure.
Step two is expected to take place in June,
when Trust administrators have said they’ll

There also will be a geocaching activity
that’s open to the public. There is no need to
pre-register to participate in that.
The new regional park is located on the
north side of the intersection of New Berlin
and Cedar Point roads. The move to transform
the former dairy land began in 2001, when
then-City Councilman Warren Alvarez
introduced legislation to set aside $5.8 million
of city money for a future purchase of the
384-acre parcel.
Two years later, an additional $1.2 million
of city funds were added, and the land was
purchased from real estate agent William F.
Sheffield in 2003 for the park, then-known as
District 11 Regional Park. He died in 2009.
But in the years following, it became clear
that it would take at least $4 million to finish
the design of the park and build the first
phase. Additional funding had been set aside
for design. But that ran out, about the time
the property values and city budgets were
shrinking by 5-10 percent each year. Money
for new park projects was almost nonexistent, and plans for the park seemed
destined to be put on indefinite hold.
But area residents weren’t ready to give up,
especially on the promised sports fields and
other amenities not found in any other North
Jacksonville park.
So Councilman Alvarez’s successor, Ray Holt,
searched for alternative ways to fund the rest
of design and construction. And a year after
Continued on Page 2


deed the just-purchased, 846acre parcel to the City of
Jacksonville when it’s paid for
by the complicated pooling of
these funds:
• $5.3 from the federal
government (generated
from off-shore oil leases that
are required to be used for
the preservation of land)
Thomas Creek Battlefield, located in our own backyard, is one
• $100,000 donated by the
of only three known Revolutionary War battlegrounds in
Trust for Public Land
Florida, according to the Florida Department of State Division of
• $1.5 million from the AES
Historical Resources.
Cedar Bay Cogeneration
“This is probably the most significant
settlement fund (money set aside for park
conservation land purchase in our area, from a
land as part of an agreement that the power
historic perspective, since the Kingsley
company made as a stipulation of building a
Plantation,” Councilman Holt said.
plant in North Jacksonville)
The Kingsley Plantation on Ft. George Island
• $200,000 from the City of Jacksonville Parks
was operated from 1813 until 1839 by
and Recreation budget.

Photo Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

This aerial photo shows William F. Sheffield Regional Park a few months before final
completion. Future phases of the park will extend well past what land can be seen here.

Staff Report
OCEANWAY –– Twelve
years ago, it was just a
But on June 1, William F.
Sheffield Regional Park,
located just east of New
Berlin Elementary, will
open with festivities
including geocaching and
a children’s sports camp
with a former Jaguar.
“This is definitely one
of the most important
projects to me that I’ve
worked on over the past
six years,” said Councilman
Ray Holt, who has been
credited with finding an
imaginative way to fund the
new public sports facility when
sources for new city parks ran
“It’s been a long-time getting to this
point. And it’s been frustrating to hit one
roadblock after the next, especially when so
many people were looking forward to the
opening. I’m just thankful the right solutions
were able to be found to make this dream a
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will start at 9:30
a.m. on the first Saturday in June. Then the
park will be put right into action, as players
that are part of the Oceanway Sports
Association will participate in a football camp
with former Jaguar safety, Donavin Darius.

Jaguar Pep
Rally at Zoo!

See Story on Page 4
Zephaniah Kingsley. He operated under a
"task" system, which allowed slaves to work at
a craft or tend their own gardens, once their
specified task for the day was completed.
Proceeds from the sale of produce or craft
items were usually kept by the slaves.
His own wife, Anna Madgigine Jai, had been
purchased as a slave and was freed in 1811. She
was active in plantation management and
became a successful business woman owning
Continued on Page 7

Forgotten Fruit feeds the community
By Kandace Lankford
NJM Correspondent
THE CAPE –– Last fall, we shared the story of
the Ward family’s mission –– Forgotten Fruit
–– with our readers. The North Jacksonville
community responded in a tremendous way,
and as a result, Forgotten Fruit has
blossomed into much more than the Wards
had envisioned.
The seed for Forgotten Fruit was planted
one day when Chuck Ward and his daughter,
Grace, were walking through their
neighborhood, discussing God's plan and
purpose for their lives. As they walked, they
noticed that many of their neighbors had
fruit trees in their yards. On many of the
trees, the fruit was either sagging to the
ground or falling off, as no one was
harvesting it.
When they returned home from their
walk, Mr. Ward discussed what he and Miss
Grace had observed with his wife, Melissa.

Thus, Forgotten Fruit, a nonprofit fruit recovery program,
was born and the Ward family
took action.
They began collecting
unused fruit, and later,
vegetables, with the
permission of their neighbors
and friends, and donating it
to local rescue missions and
others in need throughout
our city. As word of their
mission spread, the number of
fruit donors continued to
“This year, we have
harvested more so far than
we did during all of last year,”
said Melissa Ward. “We’ve
already harvested over 2,600
pounds during these first few The Ward family, Melissa, Caleb, Ethan, Grace, Annalise
Continued on Page 9 and Chuck , give a thumbs-up for a good fruit harvesting day.

North Jax Monthly • June 2013 • Page 9

Forgotten fruit Continued from Page 1

Served with Drink, Slaw, Bread & Fries



30 Shrimp

months of 2013, and for all of last year the
total was 2,500 pounds. We hope that that
means it’s going to be a really productive
When the Wards first began harvesting
fruit, they started out with a simple tool –– a
light-weight fruit picker, which consists of a
retractable handle that extends up to eight
feet, topped by a bright orange vinyl coated
wire basket with prongs to pick the fruit,
and several large laundry baskets, in which
to store and transport the fruit.
Since then, they’ve had to make some
“We got a dolly and we had to get a new
ladder,” said Mrs. Ward. “We also put
shelves in the truck to hold more so we
wouldn’t have to stack the fruit on top of
each other.”
The Wards go to the site, collect the fruit,
and load it into their truck. Then they take
the fruit home, unload it, weight it, wash it –
– if needed –– and then they sort and divide
“On weeks when we have a harvest it

takes several hours on the weekend,
sometimes all day Saturday,” said Mrs. Ward.
“After the fruit is divided, we try to deliver it
immediately so that it will be really fresh.”
One of their delivery sites is the City
Rescue Mission, which has been serving the
homeless and needy since 1946.
“I cannot sing their praises enough,
because the forgotten fruit that they harvest
certainly provides hope and smiles to the
people at City Rescue Mission, both to the
people on the street and those in our drug
and alcohol program,” said Penny Kievet,
director of resource development at City
Rescue Mission. “They’ve brought nuts, fruit
and vegetables to us by the car load –– they
provide sunshine to people who live in
Since Forgotten Fruit began in 2012, they
have acquired many volunteers, as well as
three corporate sponsors.
One day when the family went to eat at
one of their favorite restaurants, Hip Hop
Fish and Chicken, they struck up a
conversation with the owner, Adam Alaydi.

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He was wowed by what he heard.
going to plant a summer vegetable garden.”
“I was talking to the kids, and when they
They plan to donate from their own fruit
told me what they were doing, I was
tree and vegetable garden, in due season.
amazed. If kids think this way at such a
Forgotten Fruit donates to 14 different
young age, imagine what they’re going to
charities, and the list continues to expand.
do in the future –– they’re great kids,” Mr.
“We’re giving to more and more
Alaydi said. “I gave them a check and told
organizations –– the growth is exciting,” said
them that
Mrs. Ward. “It’s neat
whatever it
how the Lord has used
takes to help
this in our lives and in
them, I will
the lives of people we
help them. I
donate it to.”
love what
The Wards’
motivation for
Forgotten Fruit is their
Along with
faith in Jesus Christ,
Hip Hop Fish
and their desire to
and Chicken,
serve the forgotten of
our community, as a
Fruit is also
demonstration of God's
unconditional love for
with Jess and
all people, according to
their website.
Their inspiration
comes from a passage
out of the Bible,
Deuteronomy 24:19-21:
"When you harvest
your grain and forget a
Now that
sheaf back in the field,
the major
don't go back and get
it; leave it for the
foreigner, the orphan,
season has
and the widow so that
Mr. Ward and his daughter, Grace, harvesting from a God, your God, will bless
come to a
close, things grapefruit tree.
you in all your work.
have slowed
When you shake the
down a little bit for Forgotten Fruit, but they
olives off your trees, don't go back over the
are expecting things to pick back up again
branches and strip them bare –– what's left
is for the foreigner, the orphan, and the
“We don’t know what the summer is
widow. And when you cut the grapes in your
going to be like –– it’s not the time for citrus
vineyard, don't take every last grape –– leave
fruit, but it is the time for berries, and we’ve
a few for the foreigner, the orphan, and the
had people contact us and tell us they were
going to have blueberries or strawberries to
If you or someone you know would like to
harvest,” said Mrs. Ward. “We’re also hoping
donate fruit or vegetables to Forgotten
that people will call us when they harvest
Fruit, please contact them via their Facebook
their gardens –– we’ll collect cucumbers,
page, or at their website,
tomatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables.”
www.forgottenfruit.org. Volunteers are
Along with collecting fruit and vegetables
welcome as well –– it’s something a family
from generous donors, the Wards have
could do and the children could be involved
decided to become involved in a more
as well.
personal way as well.
“Forgotten Fruit has already done so
“I gave Chuck his first orange tree for
much more than we thought it would,” said
Christmas last year, and we planted it in the
Mrs. Ward. “We hope that it continues to
back yard,” said Mrs. Ward. “We’re also

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