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REV Birmingham > Partner Profiles > Jason Powell, Petals From The Past

Jason Powell, Petals From The Past

Jason Powell, Petals From The Past

Jemison, AL

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Jason Powell, grew up in Auburn, AL in a family that was rooted in gardening. “Some of my earliest memories were in the vegetable garden,” he said. “It was a family affair and everyone had a job.” As the youngest child Jason was tasked with harvesting. He would fill up his little red wagon with any extra produce and take it around the neighborhood giving it away. “Everyone was happy to see me,” he said. “They started giving me quarters!” From his early introduction to gardening, Powell decided to attend Auburn University and study landscape design and later attended Texas A&M for graduate school in horticulture. It was there that he was introduced to gardening of heirloom and antique breeds. Inspired by this he decided to move back to Alabama and open a nursery dedicated to growing tough plants, natives and heirlooms, thus Petals From The Past began in 1994.

 

Part of the mission of Petals From The Past is to approach gardening from an education standpoint, so on any given day there might be a workshop or a class teaching visitors how to grow what they see there. “They want to learn how to do it themselves,” he said, “We are teaching visitors what is giving us success and what is a hurdle for us. They make the decision to grow it themselves.” Currently, Powell is excited to be changing people’s Persimmonsperceptions on Japanese Persimmons.“They’re misunderstood in the market today,” he explained. “I absolutely adore them. I can get excited about that fruit more than any other thing we’re growing. There’s an education component and they’re tough.” Persimmons have the texture of an apple and grow like an apple tree; a single tree can have up to 225 pounds of fruit. Once harvested, persimmons will keep for two weeks without refrigeration. “I have yet to have a person over the last seven years that didn’t like them,” he said. “I send them with my kids to school for lunch – they’re a very popular trading item.” The Urban Food Project works proudly with Petals From The Past to provide their products to Birmingham restaurants and corner stores. Thinking about the future of food Powell stated, “People are taking more seriously what’s for dinner and where it’s from.” We couldn’t agree more. 

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