I’m just happy about growing. It’s a therapy. It does well for me. It really keeps me from worrying about things that do not need to be worried about.
West End Community Urban Garden Nursery
1285 Ralph Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30310
For as long as she can remember, Haylene Green has been planting in the soil. Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, she’s a descendent of the Maroon culture and has strong familial ties to farming. Both her father and grandfather farmed commercially. She grew up next to the Caribbean Sea, where tropical fruits and vegetables grew wild and plentiful. When her family moved to New York, she grew food from potted plants. Upon visiting Atlanta for a family reunion, Haylene fell in love with all the trees, and relocated to the South, hoping to plant fruit-bearing trees of her own. Over the years, she’s worked as a nurse and ran a printing press in both Jamaica and Atlanta. While working in real estate, she started a nursery near Athens. She is famous 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 names of “Haylene Garden Queen” and “The Hibiscus Sorrel Lady.” When her sister started a community business in the West End of Atlanta, Haylene began cultivating an acre of the land. She’s helping to teach the community about farming, and growing to provide easier access to fresh (and tropical) produce.
Date of interview: August 7, 2013 Interviewer: Sara Wood Photographer: Lizzy Johnston