GREENing Niagara held the first planting day along the new Fruit Tree Trail. Here’s what they say about it:
This planting is significant as the first section of a regional project that includes St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Beamsville and Grimsby, Thorold, Welland, and the Ridgeway area. There is only one other such trail system, and that is in Nova Scotia. This is truly a celebration of Niagara’s low hanging fruit, and an opportunity for restaurants and tourism to raise the bar on local food. We have found heritage crops with special significance among the trees to be salvaged, and infilling is being done with heritage crops and native species wherever possible.
Here’s some background info on the project:
Summary: Bring back into production specific existing fruit trees in parklands, provide public workshops for fruit tree education, students to GPS trees, add trees to Regional and Greenbelt bike maps to create Fruit Tree Trail. Garden of Eating to harvest for food banks. Pilot project 2014. Health/ Tourism/ ActiveTransit/ Food Security/ Gardening interest of many organizations.
1. increase in food, harvested and utilized for canning and delivered to food banks by locating existing fruit trees that can be brought back into production over a period of time. By pruning and tending them we will regain their ability to grow healthy food which in return will feed the food banks and canning process. The food harvested will benefit the participants of food banks and shelters as canning classes provided by GREENING NIAGARA.
2. education, teaching homeowners pruning methods and fruit tree care and uses for the fruit, with the project spanning several years. An educational brochure will aid community members with the knowledge on how to cook healthy meals with the local products that come from the fruit trees and community gardens. Pruning takes place over a 3 year period with a slight increase in food production.
3. physical activity, increase in traffic along trails where fruit trees are located; working with high school students to GPS locations, then with regional bicycling committees to source the trees, then mapping to Regional Biking maps as well as the Greenbelt Foundation, for tourism plus local walking and biking trail uses.
The project impacts through a healthy physical lifestyle, knowledge sharing, local food production, active transportation, tourism, food security, community building, community resiliency, community pride, all the while aiding our food banks. The maintenance of fruit trees can be duplicated at home by residents through skills sharing at workshops.
We know of no other project like this in Ontario. The program is a pilot and when completed we are looking to duplicate it in Welland, NOTL, and Niagara Falls for greater regional inclusion and opportunities. Much interest has been generated with homeowners, eco organizations, Regional Health, the Biking Groups, Tourism companies, and local residents.
Sponsorships packages and volunteer opportunities are available, please contact the GREENING NIAGARA office, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Together, we are GREENING NIAGARA!