Meet Bill Stack, CJ Farmer Partner

In the mountains of northeast Georgia lies an old apple orchard which has been weathering the passage of time since the 1930s. For the past six or seven autumns, Concrete Jungle has been bringing volunteers to the orchard to shake the trees and collect the falling fruit. With the exception of some snacks while we work, every pound harvested goes to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to meet the needs of folks facing food insecurity.

On a recent Concrete Jungle pick, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Farmer Bill Stack. Bill has been tending to this land for over four decades. As we strolled through the orchard, he plucked ripe pears from the trees, offering me one to snack on while we chatted. “Have you had a persimmon?” he asked, recalling the tangy surprise that unripe persimmons could bring.

While Bill raised his family and ran his law practice amidst the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, this orchard had been a welcome getaway from city life since 1983. The farm’s history is as fascinating as Bill’s own journey. Two businessmen built the house next door in the 1930s, complete with dedicated telephone lines, a luxury before the age of cell phones. Shortly after, they hired an orange grower named Drew Massey, who was fed up with the hurricane seasons and difficulties growing fruit in Florida. Drew planted the apple trees, and his legacy continues through generations, with his descendent Sterling Massey now managing the orchard.

As we chatted, a family from Atlanta arrived to purchase Asian pears, and Bill exchanged pleasantries with them as they loaded their car with the fruit. They inquired about the smaller size of the pears this year, to which Bill advised with a smile, “Just close your eyes and chew, and it’ll taste the same.”

After the family continued on their way, I asked how long Bill had known about Concrete Jungle. “Oh six, seven years ago,” he began, “they’ve been taking apples ever since.” When asked about his decision to share fruit with Concrete Jungle, Bill’s answer was straightforward: “It just made sense.”

When you donate to Concrete Jungle, you’re planting a seed for a more equitable and nourished Georgia. Your gift increases fresh food access and builds a joyful community committed to caring for each other and the earth. Support us this #GivingTuesday and watch our impact grow.