Tag Archive | Urban Orchard

OKT co-sponsored chestnut tree planting at Alexander Park

alexanderOn Saturday Nov. 1, Our Kitchen Table’s urban forester, Laura Casaletto, joined a group of volunteers from Friends of Grand Rapids Parks in planting chestnut trees at Alexander Park. Laura shares, ” In a neglected and devalued street of Grand Rapids once thriving with it’s own grocery and large stately homes, Alexander Park took shape years ago when long term residents advocated to gain a public space cobbled together out of the abandoned properties. Now this peaceful play space has a mini orchard of fruit and nut trees. A dozen volunteers showed up to support the beginnings of a permaculture designed to benefit neighbors in years to come with little maintenance. Our Kitchen Table and Yesterdog worked together to feed the cold and hungry crew a good lunch afterwards and hear the latest news about edible chestnuts, urban foraging and sustainable living–and to make some new friends. Long live trees! Long live the feisty spirit of the Alexander residents!”

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The last slide shows  the one-year-old  fruit trees planted at Martin Luther King Park. Last year, they took  a heavy toll of vandalism damage. This year, a beautiful dedication sign was installed and  made all the difference.

How Well House Planted an Orchard

Reposted from Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project

By Camilla Voelker

On November 9th the Well House gardeners and 27 others planted a 15-tree orchard of apples and pears on the property of one of the newest additions to the Well House homes and gardens, 239 Sycamore SE.

WELL HOUSE IS A NEIGHBORHOOD NON-PROFIT nested in the southeast side of Grand Rapids. South of Wealthy and east of Division, we offer safe and affordable housing to people experiencing homelessness. It is not a shelter, but permanent housing. Currently, we have four houses occupied by people who were living in shelters or on the streets.

Aside from the housing component of Well House, we also grow, prepare, and preserve food primarily for and with our tenants, but also for and with our neighbors and community. With a food justice lens, we are working towards growing as much food as we can in an urban setting and sharing knowledge on preparing and preserving our own food to counter the unhealthy options provided to us. . We believe our current food system inadequately provides healthy, nutritious food options for people, especially those in our neighborhood. So working with the folks who are most marginalized by our current food system is important to us in creating change.

Finding out about the mini grants offered through the Urban Forest Project of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, which supplies materials, support and trees for reforestation projects within the city, was a natural next step for continuing Well House’s vision for food growing. An Urban Orchard had been envisioned for the 239 Sycamore lot–which we had acquired from the Land Bank of Kent County–and it also hosts a home to be rehabilitated to house families that have been experiencing homelessness.

Expecting about 15 volunteers on this day, we were pleasantly surprised and thankful for the 27 that showed up – quite the opposite turn out than what most volunteer coordinators anticipate! With all of the fabulous volunteers, we managed to prepare the site quite quickly: trash was picked up, sod was dug up and hauled away, and holes were prepared.

Two Citizen Foresters who offered demonstrations on proper planting techniques and fruit tree care guided us into planting, adding fresh soil and mulching in the trees. Another volunteer watered them in, leaving a job well done. And as one volunteer noted, “Many hands make light work.” It surely did; the community support left a tremendous imprint on Well House’s project and spirit. We are so grateful.

Prepare & plant a fruit orchard with Well House

239 Sycamore SE, Grand Rapids 49503 - Google MapsReposted from Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project

SATURDAY|NOVEMBER 9, 2013|1:00 PM-4:00 PM|
Well House Garden 239 Sycamore SE, Grand Rapids 49503

Well House will be preparing a new lot for an urban orchard and mushroom beds for community education and use. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks has provided a mini-grant to support the development of an community orchard within their neighborhood. Friends and Well House are asking for interested volunteers to lend a hand, join a community, and have a great time.

Asking volunteers to come when they can and stay as long as they’d like.  Help us prep the site, plant the trees and spread mulch!  If you’d like to be involved please contact Camilla, Well House Urban Gardener, at CAMILLA@WELLHOUSEGR.ORG or616.245.3910 or sign up at the VOLUNTEER CENTER.