• Fresh Fruit for All: Community Orchard Seeks Local Volunteers

    By Michael Zinkowski

    Last April 6th, in rain boots, muddy pants, and flannel button-ups, 60+ community members (including Mayor Charlie Hales and Home Forward Representative, Michael Buonocore) took to their shovels. On that day, these excited volunteers planted 18 new fruit trees and over 50 edible shrubs in an inconspicuous lot by the North Trenton Street cul-de-sac. Now in 2014, grown to over 40 fruit trees and 100 edible shrubs, Fruits of Diversity Community Orchard needs your enthusiasm, energy, and mud-resistant attire to care and plan for the future of its plums, pears, and blueberries!

    Whether you have been involved from the start, or are learning about it now, Fruits of Diversity is currently accepting applications for a new volunteer position dubbed the Orchard Steward. By agreeing to attend monthly work parties and water once during the dry months, Stewards will learn about basic fruit tree care, ensure the maintenance of the orchard, and build community with neighbors.

    More local knowledge of tree care means more productive trees; more productive trees means more fresh fruit for those who need it. As a Steward, you will join Portland Fruit Tree Project, Village Gardens, and an existing network of neighbors who have been planning, planting, and creating this vision of the orchard since early 2013.  No experience necessary.

    Back in June, community members and orchard coordinators decided on the name—Fruits of Diversity—to embody the diversity of plants and people it hopes to embrace and cultivate. We hope that your participation as an Orchard Steward will encourage and empower you to get outside, learn about fruit trees, invest in each other’s well being, and share in the harvest of fresh, delicious, locally-grown fruit.

    For more information or to request an application, please call 503-284-6106 or email michael@portlandfruit.org with “FOD Orchard Steward Interest” in the subject line. Applications are due today, Monday, February 10th.

    Fruits of Diversity Community Orchard is located in the Portsmouth neighborhood at 4375 N Trenton St.

    Michael Zinkowski is a 2013-2014 CEC AmeriCorps member and the Community Orchards Coordinator for Portland Fruit Tree Project.