The Manor Park Community Association is inviting homeowners to participate in a community project to plant edible trees and shrubs in the spring of 2019 to produce food for the local food bank and our Manor Park School Breakfast Program (260 kids a day!) We hope to build on the success of the 2018 Cardinal Glen Edible Trees project (see the September MP Chronicle article by Allan Martel).
The MPCA’s project will work with neighbours interested in sharing their harvest with the school and food banks. This is one step in addressing a child poverty rate of 31.3% in our riding!
Trees serve all of us. Trees have a positive effect on human health and community well-being. They improve air quality, reduce heating and cooling costs, minimize our carbon footprint, and increase property values. Trees producing edible fruit and nuts – including apple, pear and plum tree varieties – contribute to food security, and even increase the bee population. Some edible tree species can start producing fruit in as little as three to five years, and have lovely flowers in the spring.
MPCA will submit a proposal to Trees Canada in early 2019 for a grant for the purchase for 30 fruit trees. Interested homeowners complete a questionnaire that identifies criteria for participation (suitable site and growing conditions, commitment to look after the tree, and agreement to sharing the harvest.) Assuming the MPCA receives a grant, a draw will be held to select the first 30 participants for the Trees Canada funded project. We’ll announce the date and location of the draw at a fun community social event. Final selection will be conditional on an arborist’s assessment of the site and a formal commitment from the homeowner.
If after reviewing the website Q&As you believe you have a suitable site on your property and are interested in participating, please send an e-mail providing your name and street address to MPedibletrees@gmail.com by February 5, 2019 at the latest.
Sheilagh McLean, MPCA Environment Chair
1. Who can apply?
Homeowners in Manor Park, who have suitable space on their property and agree to the requirements. Manor Park includes everything within the red lines on this map.
2. What types of trees or shrubs are included?
They include, but are not limited to the following: Apple and Crab-apple species, Pear, Plum, Cherry species including Chokecherry, Elderberry, Serviceberry, Mulberry and Rowan berries. Planting would take place in April-May 2019. Where needed, combination fruit trees can be selected so that they are self-pollinating. Typically fruit trees start to bear fruit within three years.
3. How do I determine if my property has suitable growing conditions?
There needs to be a large enough space that gets enough sunlight (ideally at least 6 hours per day during the growing season), appropriate soil type and drainage for the type of tree/shrub selected. If your garden is fully shaded by mature trees in summer, you likely don’t have an ideal environment! To maximize the chance of success, the MPCA will do a preliminary inspection of the site, and an arborist will assess the property and advise the homeowner on selection.
4. What will the Tree project grant provide?
Assuming the MPCA’s proposal is accepted, it will pay the costs of purchase for some 30 trees or shrubs and related materials such as inoculants, mulch, tree wrap, etc., and provide webinar training on care. Delivery and planting costs are not covered by Tree Canada.
5. What does the homeowner commit to?
The participating homeowner signs a letter of consent. The homeowner is responsible for:
- the delivery planting and maintenance of the tree or shrub
- participating in training on tree and shrub care (i.e. 3 one hour webinar arranged by Tree Canada)
- agreeing to share the harvest – the homeowner would keep what they need for family consumption, and harvest beyond this would be donated to local programs, including the Manor Park Public School Breakfast program and local food banks
6. Once the tree or shrub is bearing fruit, how will it be harvested?
Hidden Harvest is already working with the Cardinal Glen Community to harvest local fruit, and we will invite Hidden Harvest to extend their program to the new Manor Park participants.
7. What if I’m interested but am not selected in the draw?
Homeowners can still purchase a tree or shrub themselves. Typically the costs range between $50 and $150. Depending on interest, a follow-up project can be initiated in 2020 which could include a bulk purchase from a supplier such as Ritchie’s Feed and Seed, with a group discount on costs (i.e. 25%).
8. I don’t have a suitable property, but I’d love to be involved in some way.
Volunteers are welcome! Assuming the proposal is accepted, we’ll need volunteers for activities such as:
- The social event for the draw
- Help with the preliminary review and selection of properties
- Help with delivery and planting
- Help with care and maintenance of the tree or shrub
- Photos and articles about the project
Let us know by sending an e-mail to Sheilagh McLean with the title: Volunteer for MP Edible Trees
9. How do I apply for the draw?
I’m interested, and believe I meet all the criteria in have suitable space and conditions on my property, and am willing to sign a letter of consent (see Q&A #5) regarding training, maintenance and care, and sharing the harvest.
Send an e-mail providing your name, street address, phone number and e-mail to MPedibletrees@gmail.com by February 5, 2019 at the latest.