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WHO: The Orchard People.  Founded by Susan Poizner in 2009 now boasts an array of awards for her book, Growing Urban Orchards and e-learning portal. She holds in-person workshops, while teaching arborists, gardeners, enthusiasts and consulting homeowners, schools and businesses and orchards, while providing maintenance services, soil testing, bare root tree planting and pruning.  Fruit trees are her passion and her podcast is well worth subscribing to.  Whew!!

WHAT: orchardpeople.com has variety of learning tools and resources available including the online e-learning portal. Tip: give yourself at least a couple of hours to peruse through all the information available – It can be something between eye candy and a vortex, depending on your enthusiasm.

WHERE: Ben Nobleman Community Orchard is where the action is!  Located at the southeast corner of Eglinton and Everden Avenue, across from Eglinton West station is a generously sized parkette buzzing with community and family activity in the playground.  This orchard contains a collection of apricot, cherry, apple, crabapple, service berries (aka June or Saskatoon berries) and more.  Also included is an impressive pollinator garden filled with herbs and native plant species that attract hundreds of beautiful and beneficial insects, as well a regular stream of hummingbirds!

Visit the orchard on the weekend or volunteer! They never turn down a hungry gardener looking for experience!
Monarda, calendula, lilies, dogwood, cherry, echinachea, sages, lavender, winter savory to name but a few of the plants in the pollinator bed to attract nature’s helping ‘hands’.

WHEN: Volunteers gather by-weekly at Ben Noblemen to tend to the trees and maintain the garden. There is always lots to do: spreading mulch, adding compost, pulling weeds, tending to young trees and apples, the list could go on! It’s a relaxing atmosphere while there is so much to do.  It is the perfect time to ask questions or discuss plant issues that stump you. The volunteers range from seasoned horticulturalist(s) to plant virgins, and no question is too silly to ask!

Winter savoury is thinned and shared amongst volunteers and curious neighbours.  They grow thick and plentiful  and there is always more than enough to go around.

HOW:  The orchard is open to anyone. Ben Nobleman Community Orchard is completely volunteer run.  Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation manages the funds and ensures all donations go to the park and its maintenance.  You can participate here: http://communityorchard.ca/donate/

If you wish to VOLUNTEER:
Lynn Nicholas coordinates the volunteers and she can be reached at growingforgreen@gmail.com. As mentioned above, they are always happy to have students, gardeners, and curious folk help maintain the grounds and its garden.
If you wish to FORAGE:   Please remember:
  1. Volunteers have worked hard at maintaining the trees and has been created for the enjoyment of the community.  Take only enough for yourself, not your pantry; leave enough for everyone else – Sharing is caring, especially for this place!
  2. Please don’t pick prematurely. This affects the overall yield and if you pull on unripened fruit, you could damage the stem.
  3. Please do not climb the trees or allow your children to swing from them. They do not have the capacity to hold people. Trees that get damaged from climbers end up with potential diseases or bugs with the strong possibility of spreading to other trees.
  4. HAVE A GREAT TIME! Any questions regarding the Orchard People or the orchard itself can be directed to Susan Poizner at: info@orchardpeople.com


Well This was fun! My next Feature Creature will be none other than Dr. Elwood Pricklethron – tree expert extraordinaire and we will be talking about our urban canopy and the trees that spoil it!

Until next time, happy homesteading-ish!

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