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Fighting Hunger: Making More Public Space Edible

Vancouver, B.C. announced it will plant 150,000 public fruit and nut trees to fight citywide hunger. What initiatives would Stratford consider to become more edible?

In the last week, the city of Vancouver, B.C. has announced it will plant over 150,000 fruit and nut trees in its city.

The goal?

"Street trees play an important role in helping Vancouver adapt to climate change, manage stormwater run-off, support biodiversity, and even provide food," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement to the city's council last week.

Recently our town invested in beautiful flowering trees along the esplanade on our street. They are not fruit trees, but do drop "berries" in the fall. The mess is no better or worse than a crab apple tree.

Our town also has The Farm at Stratford a non-profit community garden, where some of the food is donated to our local food banks. It is a great first step, but it isn't enough. This year, the Sterling House food pantry's cupboards were bare and the volunteers struggled to have enough food for our neighbors in need.

Would the town consider a future investment in feeding our neighbors? Planting fruit trees in public spaces, and making our beautiful green spaces edible?

What do you think?

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Terry Masters October 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Great idea. What are native species that would fit the bill?
Mary Ellen Crawford October 10, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Wallingford has been planting some fruit trees in the parks here. What does one do to obtain the fruit? Can anyone climb the trees? There is some risk management to think about. Would the town or food bank hire someone to gather the fruit? I am thinking the trees would be better off in parks than alongside streets because of potential damages from falling fruit to cars and people. I am not against the fruit trees, but I think some planning needs to be in place to prevent future issues. Another thought is to think about the use of pesticides, etc. Many fruit orchards are heavily reliant on heavy pesticide use. Do we want the use of those pesticides near our homes or in our parks. I am not sure how towns with fruit trees handle this stuff.
Elizabeth Howard October 10, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Cranberries, blueberries, and American grapes are native. Most fruit trees were imported (cherries, apples, etc.)
Jim Ravis October 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I don't think it's a good idea for Stratford to plant fruit trees. It's too much of a liability should someone get hit by a piece of falling fruit from a town-owed-tree. Lord only knows how much Sir Isaac Newton would have sued the town for if he lived here when he got hit by the apple.
Elizabeth Howard October 10, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Yes, but Jim, think of all the local business generated for our dry cleaners if we planted blueberries.
Robyn Greenspan October 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Elizabeth, I believe about 90 fruit trees were planted in the back of the The Farm at Stratford community garden. I'm not entirely sure what's there but I think I recall Terry Backer saying they were some sort of pear and apple. I would fact-check with him.

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