Known as the Johnny Appleseed of Atlanta, Robby Astrove uses his passion for nature to make a difference in the Atlanta community. Managing 2,500 acres of wetlands and leading hikes and restoration efforts at Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve constitute a dream come true for Astrove. “It’s spiritual, mental and physical.”

In addition to his work for DeKalb County, he runs Fruit Forward, an urban agriculture nonprofit through which he has planted about 60 orchards throughout Atlanta to bring sustenance to urban food deserts. “My thought is that fruit trees are a better investment and require the least amount of effort to maintain.” His vision is an Atlanta where homeless and low-income people can pick fresh fruit for nutrition.

He’s addicted to his work, and he sees himself continuing to do much of the same thing from his East Atlanta neighborhood with his wife, Danielle Arellano. It’s an exciting time to be under 40 because the social and civil rights movements in Atlanta are being led by the younger demographic, Astrove said. “There is a wisdom that comes with age, but I also look up to people that are younger than me. These are the current and future movers and shakers in the city.”

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