Building Seattle’s newest public orchard through community partnerships30 Jun 2021, by City Fruit, Harvest Blog in
Jordyn Egbert is the Harvest VISTA serving at City Fruit in Seattle, Washington. City Fruit is a non-profit organization that seeks to put Seattle’s urban orchard to its best and fullest use so that everyone in the community shares in the value of fruit. City Fruit harvests and distributes quality, local fruit within the Seattle area, promotes the sharing of extra fruit, and helps tree owners care for their fruit trees.
To celebrate Earth Day this year, City Fruit partnered with the Seattle Housing Authority, Neighborhood House, and the Open Space Association of High Point to create a new public orchard located in the High Point Community of West Seattle.
While Seattle’s population continues to grow, the number of fruit trees within the city have decreased. Impacts such as pest infestation have negatively impacted the health of many fruit trees. To address this issue, City Fruit surveyed several sites in Seattle to find a suitable location for a new public orchard. City Fruit chose the High Point Community due to its multiple green spaces, light availability, water drainage, pea patches, and frequent foot traffic.
To determine what fruit the High Point Community most desired, the Seattle Housing Authority surveyed the community. After receiving input from the High Point Community, City Fruit acquired donations of fruit trees from the West Seattle Nursery, Swansons Nursery, and Friends of Piper’s Orchard – Seattle’s oldest public orchard. The orchardists at Piper’s Orchard donated six Belmont apple trees, grafted from rootstock. It was exciting to see Seattle’s oldest urban orchard provide fruit trees to Seattle’s newest orchard!
The new public orchard, planted in March, consists of 16 fruit trees, including apple trees, plum trees, fig trees, Asian pear trees, and cherry trees. The trees are expected to fruit in two to three years. To encourage fruiting, City Fruit plans to build fruit tree guilds, and use permaculture or indigenous growing practices. City Fruit will work with experts on sustainable orchard care to ensure the success of the orchard for years to come.
City Fruit is thrilled about this new orchard and the opportunity for the local community to have access to a variety of fresh, delicious fruit every year. City Fruit will continue to celebrate the new orchard by working with Neighborhood House and the Open Space Association of High Point to design education events and create awareness for Seattle’s hyper-local food system.