For as long as she can remember, Haylene Green has been planting in the soil.
People do not know how to plant, nurture and grow healthy nutritious foods, especially in at risk communities. As a result, they are prone to ailments and diseases, high medical expenses, even untimely death. We at the West End Community Urban Garden teach and train people how to identify healthy seeds and soil, grow healthy foods, prepare and eat them. We "Take it from a seed to the table and beyond," growing in small and large containers, hanging baskets, and even becoming entrepreneurs and selling the excess produce and value added products.
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, she’s a descendant of the Maroon culture and has strong family ties to farming. She comes from five generations of farmers, of which both her father and grandfather farmed commercially. She grew up next to the Caribbean Sea, where tropical fruits and vegetables grew wild and plentiful. At the age of 14, she moved to New York to be with the rest of her family. There, she carried on her tradition and grew food in containers.
Upon visiting Atlanta for a family reunion, Haylene fell in love with the trees and land. It didn’t take much to convince her family to relocate to the South. After moving here, Green fell into disappointment with the trees that impacted her decision to move here: they were not fruit bearing trees. In Jamaica, most trees are edible in some shape or form. Determined to make a change in Atlanta, Haylene Green transformed her garden into a tropical wonderland. She began growing everything she could from berries, bananas, fruits, herbs, hibiscus, ginger, tropical pumpkins and much more.
Over the years, Haylene has kept herself rather busy working as a nurse and running a printing press in both Jamaica and Atlanta. When her sister started a community business in the West End of Atlanta, Haylene began cultivating the land. This land soon became home to the West End Community Urban Garden. She grows her beautiful garden without the use of harmful pesticides. In her own words, “If the worms get to the plants before I do, I just have to eat the rest.” Throughout the years, Mrs. Green has mastered the method of holistic techniques of gardening in organic soil. Her studies have proven to yield larger than life produce.
She gained her fame around local farmers’ markets for growing fruits and vegetables native to the Caribbean in Atlanta’s soil. Her tropical pumpkins and hibiscus sorrel earned her the names “Haylene Green the Garden Queen” and “The Hibiscus Sorrel Lady.”
Her goal is to teach people how to identify, grow and prepare healthy food, especially in at risk communities. By doing so, people will be able to tackle conditions, deficiencies, and ailments that cause diseases. She also wishes to spread her knowledge of container gardening, raised beds gardening, hanging baskets, and other methods of growing in limited spaces. Haylene Green is a nurse by passion, printer by trade, and a farmer by DNA.
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