Basel Switzerland Learns About Ben Nobleman Orchard

Monika Jaggi (right) with Susan Poizner in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in 2015. Monika has been following the Ben Nobleman Story and writing about it in Basel, Switzerland where there is a debate about whether or not to plant fruit trees in local parks.

Monika Jaggi (right) with Susan Poizner in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in 2015. Monika has been following the Ben Nobleman Story and writing about it in Basel, Switzerland where there is a debate about whether or not to plant fruit trees in local parks.

Over the years we have had guests visit Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard from all over city…and all over the world. It’s funny how our little orchard, founded in 2009, has made quite a splash. Here in Toronto, when we founded our orchard, planting fruit trees in public parks was not common at all. Today, more and more cities are integrating fruit trees into parks and public spaces.  The best part is that people are not only planting fruit trees, but they are learning how to care for them by pruning them annually and protecting them from pests and disease.

One of our recent guests to our orchard park was Monika Jaggi, from Basel, Switzerland. She has been following our orchard park’s development since 2013.  That’s because her city is in the midst of a debate as to whether or not to introduce fruit trees into local parks. Residents are enthusiastic about bringing fruit trees into the urban setting. But the City Department for Public Parks is concerned. Will the fruit trees be messy? Who will care for them? Will neglected trees spread pest and disease problems to nearby orchards? Continue reading

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An Apple Mystery Solved

Volunteers at Stewardship August 2015 with windfall apples

Audrey, Sherry, Marilyn and Joan pose with the “windfall” apples from Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in August 2015. Each year the 10+ volunteers of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard collectively spend over 100 hours a year caring for our trees and pollinator garden. This year we hit our 100th hour on August 8, 2015.

This week six volunteers gathered in Ben Nobleman Park to water our very thirsty fruit trees and weed the pollinator garden. At the same time, we also solved a mystery.

You see, our young apple trees have been in the ground for five years now, and they have been producing fruit for three years. And yet, we have not yet ever been able to taste any of the apples on our trees. Why? Continue reading

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Who is allowed to harvest and eat the fruit in Ben Nobleman Park’s Orchard?

No pick sign c:u

It’s a question that has become more and more important for the volunteers of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard: Who is allowed to harvest and eat the apples, cherries, plums and apricots from our fruit trees?

We have had some challenges over the past few years. In 2013 our three cherry trees were bearing well and we were just about to organize a harvest day when, overnight, all the cherries from all three trees vanished in the night.

There was no mess. No pits on the ground. But there were also absolutely no cherries. We later discovered that a witness had seen a park visitor come to the park with some shopping bags. She harvested all three trees and walked away with two bags full of ripe, sweet cherries.

All this before the volunteers who care for these trees and the pollinator garden even had an opportunity to taste the fruit.

Continue reading

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