Urban Orchards

Is there a fruit tree in your backyard? Take a look and see. HRM is full of cherry trees, peach trees, and apple trees. At one time in history it was commonplace in the city to have a fruit tree in one’s backyard. Starting in the 50s with the green revolution, this trend began to change. Agriculture moved to a more industrial model. The concept of growing your own food was replaced by grocery stores and mass production of food. This trend is starting to change.

As food prices continue to rise, and climate change continuously affects the bread baskets of the world, the food supply is starting to tighten. Cities in Canada like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal have already taken steps to increase urban orchards. HRM is behind. At one point it was difficult to grow fruit trees in HRM since every fruit tree has a kill temperature, but as we are all starting to notice, we do not really have harsh winters anymore. Growing fruit trees in HRM is becoming more and more viable every year.

What needs to be done to take advantage of the fruit trees that already exist in our city? The first and most important thing to be done is pruning. Fruit trees must be pruned yearly to keep them producing a high quality product. This can be done by the tree owner, or the city could create a team that offers a service to the community. Pruning of fruit trees needs to be taken seriously. The second priority is harvesting. The fruit needs to be harvested yearly. This reduces the rodent and bug populations since, at the moment, most of this fruit is rotting on the ground. Falling fruit and leaves from the trees can also propagate disease, such as scabs on apples. This fruit can be used as a food source within the city.

How can we grow? Lots of options exist in this front. Creating urban orchards as green spaces and community gathering spaces are clear benefits. This can also be a job creator, as workers will be needed to manage the trees and harvest the fruit. This also creates a viable food source within the city, and helps to create a more aesthetically pleasing place to live. The possible locations for orchards in HRM are almost endless. This is a great option for this city going forward.