Emerging Professionals: Bread for the City Orchard Planting Event
by Jason Berner
USGBC-NCR's Emerging Professionals assisted Bread for the City with a large volunteer planting day at the City Orchard in Beltsville, MD. USGBC-NCR EP members had helped Bread for the City with cleaning one of their food pantries in the winter of 2012 and wanted to find other ways to help out with hands on experiences with urban agriculture.
City Orchard is a partnership project that involves Bread for the City, Casey Trees, University of the District of Columbia, and the USDA; the first planting occurred early in April 2012. USGBC-NCR EP's had eight volunteers signing in other volunteers, distributing planting tools, water and mulch buckets, and pitching in however they could to help out. From the early morning until lunch time our team helped out with the planting of over 50 trees and bushes.
USGBC-NCR EPs enjoyed the opportunity to learn how the urban orchard has been planned to harvest and provide 40,000 lbs. of fresh produce to DC's socially and economically disadvantaged individuals by 2014. Fruits that will be harvested include apples, Asian Pears, blueberries, blackberries, and persimmons.
USGBC-NCR EP volunteers gained a lot of hands-on experience understanding how to plant and take care of orchard trees and fruit bushes. City Orchard in the future will be used as an experiential learning environment to teach children and adults about the benefits of growing fresh local produce and the nutritional benefits. With the City Orchard project, residents of the DC metro area will learn how becoming involved in local food production is healthy for people and the environment and also more delicious and satisfying than most produce one finds in the grocery stores. USGBC-NCR EPs look forward to other great opportunities to partner with Bread for the City in the future.