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Community Orchard idea taking root in MLK Park

Neighborhood organizers will bring 30 fruit trees to MLK Park and are asking for community support.
Underwriting support from:

Friends and neighbors of Martin Luther King Jr. Park have set plans in motion to plant a public orchard in the park in early October. The project, named Martin Luther King Community Orchard, has so far garnered the support from the neighborhood and pre-approval from the City to move forward with plans. 

October 12 has been set as the date for the planting. Organizers hope to plant 30 heirloom fruit trees, including apple, peach and pear trees, of "antique" varieties that require less maintenance than new, hybrid varieties. In addition, there are plans for five "hardy" cherry trees that can grow in rough environments and five nut trees.  

Organizers will be working with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks in the coming months to identify funding sources and to advocate further for the park to residents and the City. They are also currently formulating a plan for where the trees will be planted, to make sure that all of the user groups of the park won't be affected negatively by the orchard.  

"It builds get to talk with your neighbors," says organizer Vince Lambert, who envisions people outside caring for a resource that "no one owns" but that will bring people together and reward the community with fruit.  

Organizers have set up a Tumblr where you can get updates on the project, see photos and results of the soil sample test. They are also collecting emails to get information out about future volunteer opportunities as they approach the planting. To get involved or show support, email Vince.

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